Daughters, Mothers and Old Fashioned Men

Image courtesy of my.englishclub.com

A few months ago I heard the most amazing counsel. It comes at a very critical time in the history of humanity. The counsel was given specifically to husbands and fathers regarding their relationships with their their daughter(s). In a general conference address for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in October 2011, Elaine S. Dalton’s thoughts titled “Love Her Mother” considers the difficulties of raising a daughter in today’s ‘toxic’ world.

Dalton believes that the best way to raise a “happy, well-adjusted daughter,” is by following a very simple formula embodied in a quote by Theodore Hesburgh, in “Quotable Quotes,” (Reader’s Digest, Jan. 1963) – “The most important thing a father can do for his [daughter] is to love [her] mother.”

In her address, Dalton expounds on Hesburgh’s thoughts.

“By the way you love her mother, you will teach your daughter about tenderness, loyalty, respect, compassion, and devotion. She will learn from your example what to expect from young men and what qualities to seek in a future spouse. You can show your daughter by the way you love and honor your wife that she should never settle for less. Your example will teach your daughter to value womanhood. You are showing her that she is a daughter of our Heavenly Father, who loves her.”

Recently my friend Cynthia S. informed me that her greatest life’s lessons were learned from her father who has passed on. She misses him dearly every day, but his memory and legacy was planted in her heart from birth and lives on in the way that she lives her life today. I’m not sure what the relationship was like between her parents, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Cynthia’s father showed her how much he loved her and her siblings, by first showing his love for their mother and then by extending that love to include their children.

I’m old. I openly admit that as I consider the differences in the world that I grew up in versus the contrasts I see in today’s world with all of its marvelous ingenuity and advances. We speak of it often as parents – things just aren’t the way they used to be. Some things are good; some things are just plain abhorring.

The ‘abhorring’ part is where I begin to show my age. Young girls have always been interested in their appearance regardless of what Age of Man you were born and raised in. But it seems, to me at least, that young women are taking more drastic measures, wearing more revealing clothing and speaking in more provocative tones than ever. There have always been a few risqué groups through time but I believe with the profusion of information and how that information is exchanged through a variety of mediums including online social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, it seems more and more probable that our young people, young women in particular are more emboldened even brazen with their dress, speech, sexuality and more.

I consider the fact that I don’t have a daughter a blessing and a curse. A blessing because as I’ve stated often before, I would have been in prison by the time any daughter of mine reached puberty because of the drastic measures I would have taken to protect her from the world. A curse because I always dreamed of having a daughter that I could spoil and treat like a little princess. But is my role and responsibility as a leader in my community minimized because I don’t have a daughter? Absolutely not!

You might ask yourself, ‘Well what business does a guy who does not have a daughter have to talk about this stuff?’ Simple answer – I have sons so my responsibility is to make sure that when they are interacting with your daughters, they do so with respect, honor, kindness and a reverence that is accorded a daughter of God. The fact that I don’t have a daughter gives me a larger sense of responsibility to love my wife more because my sons will eventually model the same behavior when they ask you for your daughters’ hand in marriage.

Some people might say, ‘That’s just old-fashioned and your thought process is archaic.’ To those people who might find it peculiar and perhaps even offensive I express my sincere apologies. But this is what I know and believe – that our young people have a right to learn of and about love from the people they trust the most and as a parent I pray that my sons trust me enough to know that young women are precious. Men have an obligation to love, honor and cherish women and by honoring that obligation, women will reciprocate that love.

So if you are a father to a daughter, love their mother and show your daughter what it means to be loved. If you’re a father to a son, do the same and let them learn from you how a man should treat all women.

Yes, I’m old fashioned – but it seems to work for me.

11 thoughts on “Daughters, Mothers and Old Fashioned Men

  1. Old fashioned works! As a mother of 4 daughters, one of the greatest blessings of this mortality is being married to a man who truly loves their mother. It’s tough – they’re not going to find anyone that even comes close to his integrity, his unconditional love, support and example, his romance, his patriarchal leadership, his spirituality and his parenting. Sorry there is only one Chris. He really does epitomize what Sis. Dalton spoke of. However, by having their dad as the standard, as the goal, as what to shoot for – coming close (I hope) will make them selective in their choosing.

    1. You guys have a tough job there Lei but you’re right – Chris is a great man, role model and mentor. It makes it a little less challenging because you guys have done great things since they were babies and they have grown into great young adults. You’re doing a wonderful job!

  2. Don’t tell anyone but one of my favorite songs is “Daughters” by John Mayer. I have to be careful when I hear this song because it can ruin my tough reputation especially if someone were to see me wiping a tear from my eye. ; )

    “…On behalf of every man…Looking out for every girl…
    You are the guide and the weight of her world…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…”

    I could practically hear it playing in the background while reading your post. Good one bro!

      1. Seti: I have to teach a lesson from this talk in RS on the fourth Sunday this month. Any ideas on how to teach women that their husbands should be good examples for their daughters???? I think I will focus on how we as mothers can support our husbands in being successful but I’m open to any ideas.

      2. A difficult subject to broach with those (men) who are not doing it now Susie but I think there are number of ways that women can help their husbands understand the importance. A tough question to ask is, “How would you (father) like your daughter to be treated by a young man?” A father should consider that when he’s faced with raising children. I think PPI’s between father and daughter are a must. Time and thoughtful preparation by a father when conducting the interviews is crucial. Hope that helps.

      3. Seti, thanks for your input. I will incorporate that into my lesson.

  3. This article is great. It’s great u treat ur boys how daughters of God should be treated. With as u say an old fashion man teaching their boys right. They then show that example to others and also teach the girls they don’t need to do all that unnecessary junk to get a guys attention… Growing up my mom told me I would always marry someone jus like my dad. In some perspective I did. My husband has a lot of qualities he had. I hope I can raise my children right. I would never want my daughters to feel they aren’t a precious daughter of God.

    1. My mother taught me the same principles – girls don’t have to do all that other ‘junk’ that they do to themselves or to try and attract men. I confess there were times that I thought and acted otherwise and yes, I was young and foolish too, but time and experience have helped to solidify these things in my heart and mind. I’m glad you’ve found someone great to share your life with and hope that he will always treat you right.

  4. I couldn’t agree more with the “The most important thing a father can do for his [daughter] is to love [her] mother” thought. So, so true.


  5. Fantastic entry! I appreciate your point of view as a father of young men. Thank you for thinking of all the women they will encounter. These compassionate and respectful attributes that you are molding in them will affect how they treat everyone. Every time I see a young man open a door for someone, reach something on a high shelf, or lift something heavy for a woman of any age, I send a little thank you up for their diligent parents.

    I have a fantastic husband who loves me very well and I’m exceedingly grateful that my daughter knows what kind of treatment to demand from a man and not to settle for anything less. In the same respect, I will be teaching her how to earn, appreciate, and reciprocate that kind of love.

    Keep at it parents, we are doing the heavy lifting in shaping the next generation. The world could use more gentlemen and ladies in the mix!

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