As a father of two daughters, I walk a difficult road. Fathers such as myself walk a tightrope of discipline and sensitivity. We have to have the most patience and must often channel emotions we don't often express. Daughters, in my opinion, help a man grow, not saying that having sons does not, I can't speak on that, though, I have girls. They require attention and crave praise from me, the male figure.
As a male I have a responsibility to them, I have to show them what a man is supposed to be like, how a man is supposed to treat them and how to conduct themselves. I'm the disciplinarian, the firm hand of guidance, with just enough care so as to balance their emotions. It's a tough job, though, society expects me not to be there, I'm a young, black male, but I am here every single day. I'm not making that statement for praise, this is what I am supposed to do, but too often males get judged, degraded and viewed differently from a female doing the same thing.
Whenever I walk in stores or anywhere public with my two girls, I get stared at like some kind of exhibit at a museum. I become uncomfortable because there is no telling the reason for stares. Who is this man with these two little girls? He just parading them around trying to show off, I've heard the comments and frankly, I am fed up with them. Fathers aren't asking for praise, just respect, especially in front of my little women with sponges for ears. When you make inflammatory remarks about my role as a father, you denigrate the importance of me.
The stigma in society, especially the black society, is absent fathers so don't discourage and belittle the ones who have been there and always will. Now, that rant is done, let's get down to business. Daddies little girls will always be daddies little girls no matter their age, we are the foundation they need, the discipline they respect. As a man raising daughters, you become more aware of society and the role you now play as well as what you use to do. Too often we are overprotective, because of how we perceive the younger generation following us to be. The next generation is always seen as more radical than the last and the young men are the enemy.
My oldest starts Kindergarten in a few months and I can't help but be nervous about it. Her mom will cry and so will I possibly. My youngest will be going back to daycare and the worries of not being there for significant developments while they are away, weighs heavily on me, but I know they will hold their own. I have to be confident in what I've taught them and how they been raised.
There are many dangers out there, much more than even when I was young, but if we teach our sons and daughters right from wrong and teach them about love, not only teach but show it. We can be confident that they will weave their own story in this tapestry we call life.
Tony L. Jefferson, Jr. 2013