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Your Princess and Kissing Those Darn Frogs

I just finished reading a book called “A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue” by Wendy Shalit. Although the book was written in 1999, its wisdom is timeless. Indeed, it is quite remarkable to watch Shalit skillfully illustrate the troubling cultural messages being communicated to girls and young women about their bodies, sexuality and femininity. This book is still a must-read.

In any case, the book has caused me to think quite a bit about the role that fathers should play in protecting the innocence of their daughters and in helping them develop a healthy, resilient and positive self-image--a tall order indeed in a culture that increasingly seeks to sexualize our little girls. (We now have retailers that are making thong underwear for 11 year-olds and skinny jeans for toddlers.) My view has always been that a father’s role is to help his princess find her “prince” (i.e. her self worth) without “kissing all the frogs.” For sure, today the frogs are more plentiful and aggressive in their call…And the stakes are higher than ever and the consequences of poor decisions can be long lasting and quite dire.

A case in point is the recent situation that actor Lawrence Fishburne (Mystic River, The Matrix) faced with his 19 year-old daughter, Montana. She agreed to star in a pornographic video to help her become famous. She stated, "I view making this movie as an important first step in my career. I've watched how successful Kim Kardashian became and I think a lot of it was due to the release of her sex tape. I'm hoping the same magic will work for me.”

Clearly, Fishburne was not happy with this situation but Montana wouldn’t listen to him. In fact, to block the release of the video, Fishburne’s friends even offered the film producer what he apparently considered too “modest a sum” -- $1M for all of the copies. The producer distributed the film and it reportedly sold so well that he offered Montana a multi-picture deal.

Granted, Fishburne’s situation is somewhat unique but you have to wonder why a daughter whose dad is an accomplished actor would choose this route to fame. But, the script of Montana’s life is a familiar screenplay with a predictable narrative. It’s worth noting that Fishburne and his daughter’s mother divorced when Montana was very young. You have to wonder if he was "on location" when Montana was a little girl making the critical decision whether to embrace or reject the immodest “Kardashian type” messages and values celebrated daily in our culture. All dads should be mindful that if you “exit stage right” from your daughter’s life, you are bound to miss important “cues.”

Ironically, frogs can be quite alluring and very deceptive. But, outside of fairy tales, there is no “magic” in them. And, that’s why our daughters need involved fathers who have built strong enough relationships with them so that they will listen when he says “be careful what you wish and what you kiss.”

Of Princesses and First Ladies

In Roland's latest Washington Times column, he explores the idea that "a good father helps his daughter find her prince without kissing all the frogs" and how this is played out in Disney's upcoming movie, "The Princess and The Frog."

He also points out the father factor in the President and First Lady Obama's strong marriage.

You can read the full article here!

The Princess and the Frog (and the dad!)

On December 11, a great new Disney movie is coming out - "The Princess and the Frog." A few of us here at NFI had the privilege of seeing an early screening of the film, and we were impressed on several levels.

First, the beauty of the hand-drawn animation is amazing.

Second, it is an extremely funny, entertaining film with fantastic music.

And third, there is a great fatherhood theme in the film. As NFI president Roland C. Warren is fond of saying, "Good fathers make sure that their daughters find their prince without having to kiss all the frogs." The father in the film, James (voiced by Terence Howard), is a hard-working, dedicated dad who shows his daughter, Tiana (voiced by Anika Noni Rose), that she has value, talent, and that she can achieve her dreams through hard work and perseverance.

Throughout the film, Tiana and her mother (voiced by Oprah Winfrey) reflect on her father's positive influence on her life, and how his presence contributed to the good things she achieves.

Given the fatherhood message of the film, NFI was honored to work with Disney to distribute movie-themed cards, books, and other materials to community-based organizations across the country. The organizations will use the materials to create father-friendly atmospheres in their facilities, to provide dads with gifts they can give their children, and to use as giveaways for father-child activities.

To say the least, we at NFI are excited about the release of this film on December 11 (limited NY and LA on 11/25). Visit the official "The Princess and the Frog" website to view trailers and learn more about the film.

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