On Parenting Daughters

britt at wedding 30jun12I saw the dotCommonweal post the other day on parenting daughters and the thought that this somehow tilts liberal parents to Douthatism or something.

Lots of commentators, especially conservative ones, overlook that morality and ideology are not bedfellows … or bedpersons. If we’re going to get political about stuff like daughter-rearing, we might as well admit that the GOP has offered up countless examples of conservatives who would not get past my front door were they to come courting the young miss. Denial: grave moral misconduct!

It’s a fruitless endeavor to suggest that liberals are more moral than conservatives, though doubtless I could come up with the same kind of “study” as Mr Douthat did. The moral life has a lot more to it than talking the talk. You have to walk … well, you know.

I love telling this story, and I hope the target of my humor has a good sense about it. I trust he does. He’s a good guy, the type who is more than welcome in my home any day.

The young miss was attending the homecoming dance last year, and my wife informed me she would be picked up in a motor vehicle driven not by a parent, but by the young man himself.

I saw him after Mass a few days before, and approaching him, said, “I understand you are picking up my daughter Friday night for the dance.”

“Um … yes” (Did I detect a gulp?)

“You do know how to drive now, don’t you?”

“Um … yes.” (Definitely a gulp!)

Wanting to affirm the lad, I smiled as I smacked my right fist into my left palm and said, “Good.” And I walked away.

I recounted the conversation, verbal and non-verbal, to my wife at home, and she was horrified. “You didn’t!”

“Dad didn’t do what?” came the voice from the computer hutch.

With the full attention of the young miss, I recounted the full conversation again, including the non-verbal highlight. She smiled and said, “Good. He waited too long to ask me.”

I don’t know if it’s liberal, but it sure is a lot of fun raising a daughter.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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3 Responses to On Parenting Daughters

  1. Liam says:

    Young men’s brains are not fully matured until their mid-20s in terms of executive function/self-management skills. (This is also why it is easiere for armed services to break and mold them into killing machines – though it took the USA a full generation from 1940 into the Vietnam era to find techniques to get the % of recruits who were fired on to return fire to increase from under a majority (which deeply worried the Army early in WW2 when they discovered this) to over 90%. America, home of the science of killing machines and the brave.)

    One empathic way for fathers to register an earworm in their sons’ psyche is to suggest that sons never do anything to/with someone else’s child that they would not be pleased by as a likely future father of a child, because their ability to have justifiable anger and response will be twisted by that lack of integrity. (A suggestion to my peers who’ve wondered about committing infidelity: “And when your daughter learns of this – as she almost certainly will someday – would the pleasure/relief now be worth the agony then?” This is the familial version of the handy/hoary old NY Times rule – never do anything that you would not want reported in the NY Times.)

  2. “We might as well admit that the GOP has offered up countless examples of conservatives who would not get past my front door were they to come courting the young miss.”

    I LOVE this quote. Any conservative man who would be happy to have Rush Limbaugh or Newt Gingrich (to name a few) come to his house to pick up his daughter is a horrific excuse for a father.

  3. FrMichael says:

    Two thumbs up on your non-verbal technique! My dad used to cock his rifle in the living room while my mom spoke with the young man at the front door who wanted to date my sister.

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