In our Daddy Issues series, a father of a young daughter seeks guidance, hoping to raise a strong woman. He looks to you, dear readers, for insight.
So we're on the way to school, bopping along to a favorite Hairspray song, when my daughter asks me to turn down the volume.
"Why are girls always in the back?" she asks.
It takes me a moment to figure out just what she's going on about, when I see a motorcycle race past us and veer around a corner. Indeed, it appears a man is driving, while a woman sits behind him and clutches her arms around his belly.
I start to formulate a response, something about how girls drive motorcycles too and how no one puts Baby in the back saddle. Then it hits me: Give it a rest, dude. It's a freaking motorcycle. You don't even want her to ride one.
I'm immediately reminded of my mom's golden rules for her three boys: We could never be cops, play professional football, or own a motorcycle. While it turned out that none of those things actually took away one of her boys, as a parent now it seems like a good idea. Why take the risk?
But I'm left wondering. Where does this knee-jerk reaction to make anything available and possible for my daughter come from? Even for things I don't really want her to do? It's like I have this ever-present Pamela Purse-like desire to yell "ladies first!"
In the grand scheme of things, I think most dads want to raise confident, happy daughters who feel like anything is possible, every avenue available for exploration. But can you go to far? Can too much daddy-inspired Grrl Power talk make her one day say, "Grrrr,stop!"
Mike Adamick writes at Cry It Out!
Image by Lauri Apple.