Thursday, January 12, 2012

Daddy issues

I wonder what kind of father I will be.


Since my daughter was born, it's not just an academic question.


Mind you, as the father of a two and half month-old baby, fatherhood mostly involves the ability to hold, fetch and carry.


And make faces.


I don't have a relationship with my own father, so some aspects of fatherhood are a bit mysterious to me.


Do I teach her to pitch overhand or underhand? Do I tape her hockey stick from heel to toe, or is it the other way? Do I have to go with her to buy feminine hygiene products?


I can look some of that stuff up on Wikipedia, but you can't use it for everything.  I've tried.  They need to put a disclaimer on it about legal advice.


However, If my daughter says one day "I think I'll use the military to attack a sacred temple in the middle of a busy city during a religious festival", will I smile and nod politely in agreement or resign from the military in disgust?


If she comes home another day and announces she's agreed to be on the ticket as vice-president will I be proud of her accomplishment, disappointed it's the Republican ticket, or concerned because I think she's vastly under-qualified?


What if I see a picture of her on Perez Hilton's web site exposing her labia as she gets out of a limousine on her way into an exclusive, or recently opened, night club for a paid appearance?  Will I support her because, after all, it's her body and so it's her choice?


Will I tell my daughter she's right, no matter what kind of choices she's making?


Will I relentlessly criticize her in some sort of futile attempt to make her "perfect?"


I'm pretty sure I won't ever be involved in an honour killing.


I'm not sure how much "honour" could be restored to any family which kills its own members.


In my family there is a history of ostracizing members for making choices, usually, but not always, about marriages which are not approved.


I don't want to be that father.


Mind you, I suppose no one looks at their baby and says, "if you marry someone I don't like, it will end our relationship."


I hope I'll be the father who will tell my daughter the truth, "there may be militants in the temple, but you have to find another way, the long-term health of the country depends on it", "are you the candidate your country really needs?", "if you think this is somehow more dignified than doing Internet porn, you're very mistaken."


The truth isn't always easy to take, and it can be hard to deliver to someone you love.


I hope I can be that father who delivers the truth to his daughter with love and respect, and in the way that she needs.


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