My 3-year old daughter loves me!
I know that because she loves to tell me that throughout the day…everyday.
And I absolutely love that!
I take my role as “father” very seriously.
I know that my daughter needs me. She needs my affirmation, empathy, confidence, courage, friendship, guidance, and, most importantly, my love. She needs me to be a model of faith and fidelity. I must show her God’s love. The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms this:
2222 Parents must regard their children as children of God and respect them as human persons. Showing themselves obedient to the will of the Father in heaven, they educate their children to fulfill God’s law.
It’s hard to constantly keep all of this in mind. I get busy with work, obligations, things around the house, and just everyday life.
It is for this reason that my wife and I, early on, agreed on the importance of “dedicated” time with our children, both together and individually. My daughter and I look forward to Father-Daughter Time.
We do all kinds of fun things – play at the park, watch movies, play doll house, go for walks, have father-daughter dinners, or whatever else her little heart desires (within limits of course).
I firmly believe that these times together will help to shape the woman she one day becomes. She needs me in her life.
Meg Meeker, in her book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters beautifully explains this:
When she is a baby, her eyes will search for your face. Her ears will listen for your voice and everything inside her will need to answer only one question, “Daddy, are you here?” If you are there, her body will grow better. Her IQ will start to rise, her development will track where it is supposed to, but more important, she will realize that life is good because you love her. You are her introduction to love; you are love itself…If she knows that you are there, dependable and full of love for her, you will have taught her this great lesson: Life is good. Good men help make it so. (pg.232-233)
The family, as the domestic church, must be the school of love. I have an obligation, as a father, to teach my children the lesson of love through the practice of self-denial and the complete gift of self. I have to lay down my life for them.
Sometimes, as is the case with Father-Daughter time, that gift of self is utterly enjoyable. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. She is my precious little girl, and I always want to be there for her.
God is truly good to me, as His son. I, in turn, want to share that goodness with my children.
God please give me the grace to be the father you desire me to be. Amen.
Just a closing note: In addition to Father-Daughter time, I have Father-Son time, whole family time, and my wife and I still go out on dates just by ourselves. Time spent with the family, individually or as a whole, is always time well spent.