Counselor Tara Hedman wrote an article entitled “What Little Girls Wish Their Daddies Knew”. I shared her article with my soon-to-be-a-dad son-in-law, but as I read through it, I thought, this not only stands true between fathers and daughters, but boyfriends and girlfriends and husbands and wives. So I reworded it ever so slightly so that I could share it with you in that light as well. (for her original version, please visit www.tarahedman.com/blog)
1. How you love me is how I will know I am worthy to love myself and able to love you back.
2. Ask how I am feeling and listen to my answer. I need to know you value me and understand my true value.
3. If you love and honor me, I can freely love and respect you.
4. If you are angry with me, I feel it even if I don’t understand it, so talk to me.
5. Every time you show grace to me or someone else, I learn to trust God a little more.
6. I need to experience your nurturing physical strength, so I learn to trust more.
7. Please don’t talk about sex like a teenage boy. It doesn’t make me want it more that you treat it like a joke. It is just a turn off.
8. When your tone is gentle, I understand what you are saying much better and can respond accordingly.
9. How you talk about female bodies when you’re ‘just joking’ is what I believe is how you feel about my body.
10. How you handle my heart, is how I will want to handle others’.
11. If you encourage me to find what brings joy, I will always seek it.
12. If you teach me what safe feels like when I’m with you, I will know better how to guard myself from others.
13. Share with me a love of art, science, and nature, and I will be encouraged that intellect matters more to you than my dress size.
14. Let me say exactly what I want, even if it’s wrong or silly, because I need to know having a strong voice is acceptable to you.
15. If you seem averse toward my changing body and emotions, I will believe you think something is wrong with it.
16. If you understand contentment for yourself, so will I.
17. When I ask you to let go a little, please remain available. I will always come back and need you if you do.
18. If you demonstrate tenderness, I learn to embrace my own vulnerability rather than fear it.
19. When you let me help fix the car and paint the house, I will believe I can do anything a boy can do.
20. When you protect my femininity, I learn everything about me is worthy of protecting.
21. How you treat our dog and your mom when you think I’m not watching tells me more about you than just about anything else.
22. Don’t let money be everything, or I learn not to respect it or you.
23. Hug, hold and kiss me in all the ways a man does that are right and good and pure. I need it so much to understand a healthy relationship.
24. Please don’t lie, because I need to believe what you say.
25. Don’t avoid hard conversations, because it makes me believe I’m not worth fighting for.
It’s pretty simple, really. What you do and say now matters for a lifetime. Please … never underestimate the impact of your words or deeds on the women in your life, no matter their age. They not only affect them, but they affect YOU!