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Fathers, be good to your daughters

Posted by Vincent DiCaro

This is a post by Hännah Schellhase, NFI's Development Specialist

The secret heartache caused by broken families and father failure is frequently laid bare by the tabloids covering the lives of pop stars. Emptiness caused by divorce and absent or abusive fathers has been the catalyst for the ruin of many of Hollywood’s darlings.

John Mayer’s song “Daughters” won the 2005 Grammy for Song of the Year. The lyrics carry a rebuke to fathers for how they treat their daughters because of the profound influence a father’s actions have on the psyche of a daughter. A portion of the lyrics reads:

I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
But she's just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change
And I've done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I'm starting to see
Maybe it's got nothing to do with me

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Oh, you see that skin?
It's the same she's been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she's left
Cleaning up the mess he made

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Mayer has captured the cyclical nightmare that is created when a girl is mistreated or abandoned by her father. “Daughters” describes the emotional confusion daughters feel when their fathers are absent or uninvolved, either physically or emotionally.

A woman’s definition of her self-worth and the nature of love is often formed by early impressions of her father’s relationship to both her and her mother. Without a healthy family framework to define these things for her, a girl is often left scrambling to piece together meaning for herself, and has to work through significant emotional barriers in order to commit to a loving relationship or a healthy lifestyle for herself.

Taylor Swift’s new song “Mine” captures this struggle perfectly—learning to trust and love is an incredibly difficult thing for a daughter to learn if her father hasn’t modeled these things well.

The tabloid gossip confirms this in its own typically crass fashion: Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, and Chris Brown have all been made into public spectacles as the paparazzi followed their downward spirals.

Teen star Lindsay Lohan fell into drugs and alcohol and has ruined her career with courtroom scandals and immature behavior. Her mother is always at her side at court hearings—but where is her father? Michael Lohan spent Lindsay’s childhood years in and out of jail and in highly publicized affairs, finally divorcing her mother Dina in 2007. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but Lindsay’s first DUI was also that same year. Fathers, be good to your daughters.

Britney Spears’ meltdown between 2007 and 2008 was highly publicized by the tabloids, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief when she was placed into the conservatorship of her father, James Spears. It was after James became involved that Britney seemed to dust herself off and become stable again. But perhaps if her parents’ marriage had been stable during her childhood, the scandal and psychotic behavior later could have been prevented. When her parents divorced in 2002, Britney told the gossip-mongers that it was “the best thing that ever happened to my family” and “when I was a baby, they argued.”

An involved father committed to a loving relationship with the mother can make all the difference for what sort of woman a girl becomes. "Fathers, be good to your daughters, daughters will love like you do, girls become lovers who turn into mothers…"

R&B singer Chris Brown nearly ruined his career when his girlfriend, pop artist Rihanna, appeared in public with bruises in 2009. It turned out that Chris had beaten Rihanna several times during arguments, and he was later given a restraining order and five years of parole. Many fans were disgusted with his behavior—hitting a woman is despicable.

However, a father’s behavior is often shown to be a predictor of the behavior of his children, and Brown had spoken many times before the incident about how traumatized he had been by how his stepfather abused his mom. Brown grew up in a home where his mom was regularly beaten and verbally abused—and like most children, Brown later learned that it’s nearly impossible to break free from the cycle of "loving" like your family "loved."

Mayer’s song says “So fathers, be good to your daughters, daughters will love like you do,” but sons learn how to treat women from their fathers—sons will love like their fathers do.

If more dads were dedicated to being involved, if more dads were careful with how they loved their daughters, there would be so much less heartbreak as children try to enter adulthood without any idea of what real commitment, unconditional love, or an unbroken family looks like. There would be less need for songs like P!nk’s “Perfect” or Bruno Mars' “Just the Way You Are”, as the women in these songs might have had the chance to understand their worth and beauty from the affirmations of a caring father. So fathers, be good to your daughters too.

Topics: father-daughter, pop culture, rihanna, john mayer, pop music, chris brown

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