My father’s daughter | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 17, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 17, 2019


My father’s daughter

The virtues of mothers, and motherly emotions, as well as their great necessity in the lives of children are extolled upon quite frequently, and rightly so. But often underrated is the equally critical role of fathers, especially in the emotional lives of their children, even more so their daughters.

The difference between a good father and a bad one is simple — good fathers are present, and are embodiment of the basics that a good man should be. But are they perfect? Far from it. Even doting daughters are often perfectly aware of their father’s human flaws, yet the realisation takes away nothing from the wealth of love between the parent and child.

Good fathers, in my opinion, are like those colloquial oak trees, a strong shelter against anything the world can throw, a child’s first window to the outside world, to forever tint its perception. Be it social pressures, school bullying, or life threatening danger, the lengths that fathers go to protect their children, and to support them, are well-established, even in fairy tales, and life itself. Just think of Belle’s father, remembering to pick her a rose even while lost in the forest, and always encouraging her!

Fathers are also significant to the development of self-esteem and worth in their daughters. Basically, dads form the base that strong daughters grow on. Not to take away the pivotal roles that mums have in children’s upbringing, but in case of women, the father’s role is far more subtly ingrained into the very essence of the daughter, especially when it comes to body image. In my personal experience, two very small incidents with my dad, during my early teens, left an impact so profound on me, it shaped my very perception of self. On one occasion, I was being “persuaded” by the gaggle of girls at home to “humanise” my “Monica in Barbados” hair, but Dad said he thought it was perfect, and just like his! That is perhaps why, even today, in its diminished-to-nothing, and hence much easier to control version, my hair is my own favourite feature! Is it gorgeous? Eh. Do I love it? Yep.

Robin Gazi, doting father of the button-cute and mischievous three-year-old Shayera, says his favourite part about being her father is getting to see her guilty smile. This indulgence, we take for granted as daughters, and I speak for many, for sure. 

Research shows that strong father-daughter bonds lead to women growing up with personal strengths like a healthier outlook on romance and relationships, positive body image and self-esteem, confidence, and better decision-making skills! Now that’s quite a bounty in terms of strengths, if you ask me.

A father is the first man in a daughter’s life, and essentially shapes the basic perception of the gender in her psyche. And thus, a good father becomes so instrumental to a woman’s outlook on life, and together with the mother and their dynamic, her benchmark to judge all other men and relationships thereafter!

Or, perhaps it is the tenderness in daughters that makes fathers dote over them more? As children grow, daughters often become more demonstratively affectionate and forgiving of their fathers. Thus, making it easier for dads to open up and share more of their selves, further strengthening the bond.

“I feel a daughter will inspire me more than a son. Also, when I get old, and desperately look for just a person to talk to, chances are they will always be there,” says Nabeel Ahsan, a young and single professional, when asked about his often professed desire to have a daughter someday.

“Boys do take care of their parents when they get old, but girls also manage to sit and talk with their parents for hours, which is probably something that matters a lot more than we realise,” he said.

The gender dynamics of a father daughter bond are definitely complex and layered, and of course, variable on the characters of individual men and their daughters. But it remains uncontested that nurturing and loving fathers raise strong and confident daughters, and the world, I believe, is better for it.

A father is a safe haven for their child, a selfless shelter, says Sazzad Ibne Sayed, father to Tavishee, an energetic 5-year-old.  “Right now, I am just an exploring gardener. A student. We’ll both mature together, in time. She is so like me – but with a couple drops more emotion. So she is like a mirror of my younger self, a walk down memory lane in a way. As I believe she is gifted, it brings about an extra sense of responsibility — what if I fail to guide her properly or give her the wings when she needs to fly,” he added.

That emotion is mirrored by Anashua Ananga, a now grown up daughter, faculty at the Bangladesh University of Professionals, “Baba is someone for whom I’ve unconditional love, someone whom I can run to and be sure that he’s going to uproot any adversity that might come cross my way, however difficult it might be.”

Why is this daddy-daughter bond so special? I am no expert on the matter, but I do adore my very humanly flawed father to the moon and back. Is he infallible? Far from it. But he is the foundation I stand on, much taller than my own five feet (and may be an inch).

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

Model: Sazzad and Tavishee   

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