Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Daddy's Little Girls

I am searching for inspirational stories about father-daughter relationships, stories that share wisdom, teach moral and important life lessons, and give others insight into how to nurture and maintain a healthy, loving and fulfilling father-daughter relationship.

If you are a father or a daughter, I want to hear about your parent-child relationship experiences. For more information about submitting your story, please visit my website, www.gregoryelang.com, and click the red corner on the home page, just beneath the “Projects” tab.

I’m also collecting photos of dads and daughters to display on this blog. If you’d like to submit one, please email it to greg.lang@mindspring.com.

Now on to today’s diary entry…

Today’s photos were sent to me by Anitra; they were taken at a recent family reunion. This is a family of eleven children! In the story I wrote about Anitra and her father (based on what she had sent to me), I included the following statement:

“She began to realize how fragile life really is; there was no time to waste being distant from her father, a man with a heart big enough to raise eleven children, a man who called each child his favorite and could make them all feel as though they were.”

Well, her sister sent me an email yesterday that included this footnote:

“I think Anitra may have said this, that she is my dad's favorite? Well, actually, I am his favorite, I know this because he has told me so.”

How cool is that, a father who can make all his daughters feel that special!

I recently enjoyed a long walk with a neighbor who shared with me her thoughts on the balance dads must reach between spoiling their daughters and assuring their appreciation and perspective about what is important in life.

We were on this subject because we had just agreed with one another that the show “My Super Sweet Sixteen” was perhaps the greatest disservice and injustice to the average parent to ever hit television.

It was that program that “showed” me every girl should get a limited edition Bentley on her 16th birthday, to be delivered by a Chippendale model posing as a valet at the Waldorf-Astoria, right after dinner at the opulent Egyptian-themed party for 1200 that was catered by Mr. Wolfgang Puck himself. Did I mention the monogrammed Versace dinner napkins for each and every guest?

My neighbor suggested I never give the girls anything or take them any place fancy, theorizing that then when I finally did indulge them in some way, they would be overcome with joy.

I thanked her for her effort to help me, but thought it was a little too late to implement her plan.

Sometimes I wish I had begun writing this book years ago; some of the things I’ve learned other fathers have done might have led me to indulge my girls not less, but differently.

One of my favorite stories about a dad teaching his daughter to be appreciative and compassionate involves a homeless man. This dad is a successful Thoroughbred breeder; his daughter enjoys many fine things. Yet her dad is cognizant of making sure she doesn’t grow up a spoiled princess, he makes sure she takes nothing for granted.

Gil has lived on the streets and generosity of the locals for nearly twenty-years. This father takes his twelve year old daughter with him as he buys food, a winter coat, or a blanket and then sets out in search of Gill. Upon finding him, they sit and talk with him even though he never remembers them from their last such visit, and a few dollars are placed in his hand when the visit comes to an end.

The dad shared with me his daughter has told her friends about Gil, and has recruited them to help her take care of him. They all now call out to him when they see him, and the number of families who now extend their generosity to Gil has increased remarkably, thanks to one little girl. A support network has grown from the one seed a dad planted in his daughter’s imagination.

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody!

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