Fathers and Daughters


“Daughters”
by John Mayer

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

Boys, you can break
You’ll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without the warmth from
A womans good, good heart

On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

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 [x3] 

I have always liked this John Mayer song because it recognises the role of fathers in the development of their daughters and reminds them of their important role and their great responsibility. I have highlighted some of the lyrics that especially does this.Of course, both mothers and fathers are important for children but they have different roles and responsibilities. Sociologists and psychologists have found that mothers are nurturing, soothing and provide unconditional love. In contrast but in a complementary way, fathers provide security, discipline and physical/intellectual stimulation. Kids with involved fathers or father figures (can be stepfathers or anyone who plays the male role) tend to have more self-esteem, be more popular with peers, lack emotional problems, are able to emphatise with others and do better in areas of schooling, socialising and sports. Read more about this here.

A lot of that is common sense, I feel. Elsewhere, I have read that the father is especially important in giving a daughter her sense of self-worth which greatly influences her self confidence and her future interactions with other men. I was just discussing this with a good friend with two young daughters as he shared the trails and tribulations of being a good dad. One of his daughters is especially concerned about her physical beauty and she depends on her dad to give the reassurance that she needs.

In that context, I am so totally appalled to hear of the sad and tragic story of the Austrian woman who had been sexually abused by her father since she was 11 years old. This is an extreme case of betrayal of a daughter’s trust. When she was 18, she was lured by the father into the basement, drugged and handcuffed. She has subsequently lived in the enclosed basement for the last 24 years and subject to repeated sexual abuse. She gave birth to 7 children. One child died soon after birth. Of the remaining 6 children, three were raised by her father and mother in their home but three others were left with her in the basement.

Even though she has now been rescued, I cannot imagine what help she and her children and even her mother (who is believed to have been unaware) will need to even be able to return to some level of functionality, let alone having their deep wounds to be healed.

I am sure justice and punishment will be meted out on the father and rightly so but I hope even greater efforts be made to help these victims recover from their ordeal.

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