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About Gregory E. Lang

Gregory E. Lang is an author and photographer living with his family in the Atlanta, GA suburbs. His two series of inspirational gift books about romantic and family relationships have sold over 2 million copies.

Several of his titles have appeared on the New York Times Best-Sellers List; he has also published over 550 photographs. There are currently twelve books in the Family Matters series and three in the Simple Suggestions series. Here is Gregory on himself.

Here are my most recent posts

How a Father Influences His Daughter

A father’s relationship with his daughter shapes who she will become. The father-daughter relationship is an important place, if not the most important place, for daughters to develop appropriate foundations for self-confidence and self-worth.

A daughter’s relationship with her father is her very first male-female relationship. From that relationship, little girls develop their first impression of themselves as a female. Among all the emotions they might experience with their dads, at the very least they develop a sense of whether they are valued or discounted by men, and why. Daughters regard themselves as they think others regard them, especially her dad.

If a daughter receives plentiful affection and reassurance from her dad, she will mature into a woman with a healthy capacity to love herself and others. On the other hand, if a daughter isn’t given loving affection and reassurance by her dad, it is hard for her to believe a boyfriend, even a husband, when he tries to give her comfort and reassurance.

Too many dads mistakenly believe that if he isn’t a negative force in his daughter’s life, then he is in the alternative, a positive force. That belief is simply wrong. Being silent, and worse, indifferent, is being absent, and absence is just as negative and hurtful to little girls as is a strike or insult.

Dad, your conduct, perhaps more than any other influence, determines the woman your daughter will become. Step up to the responsibility and raise her carefully, and lovingly.

Dads and Daughters are Alike

It seems that in spite of all the differences there may be between the fathers and daughters of the world, be he a doctor  or craftsman, she a student or lawyer, early or late in life, religious or not, wealthy or not, dads and daughters are very much alike in the manner in which they relate to one another.

Dads put their daughters before their own interests, striving to create special moments and lasting memories for her, protecting her from harm and disappointment, always seeking to spend quality time together, always praying never to let her down. Daughters anticipate daddy coming home, eager to show him a new trick, a report card, or request his counsel on a matter of concern. As much as daughters enjoy being a daddy’s girl, dads enjoy having one to dote on.

Daughters enjoy their dads always being available to her and never tiring of her need for his attention and affection. Daughters crawl into their daddies’ lap to hug and kiss him before resting her head on his chest, sometimes asking him to sing their favorite song. Dads never forget those moments when he could hold his daughter in his arms, and is always ready to sing to her, even if over the telephone.

Dads find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in their important role in their daughters’ lives. They do not shy away from the unfamiliar girl stuff, the hard tasks of parenting, nor their daughters’ tears or demonstrations of independence and revolt. Dads stand ready to help whenever the need arises, even if in the darkest hours of the night. Daughters never forget those moments when her dad proved once more that he was indeed the hero who would never let her down.

Daughters look to dads for help with school projects, his applause during her performances or events, to be a friend when she is lonely, and to help her out of sticky situations. Daughters give their dads an affection he cannot find anywhere else, and a love he will cherish to the end of his last day.

Spending Time with Your Daughter

Daddies never stop thinking about their daughters, and daughters never stop thinking about their dads. Daughters young and mature share a common desire for the company and comfort of their fathers. They want their daddies to take care of them, in different ways, perhaps, but to offer their fatherly love and comfort nonetheless. Daddies live to give that love and comfort to their little girls.

From my front porch I’ve watched dads walking the streets of the neighborhood with an infant asleep on his back, or running while pushing a stroller, complete with a child yelling, “Faster, faster, Daddy!” I’ve watched dads and children play Wiffle Ball, dive onto a water slide, and climb trees, all from the comfort of my wicker chair.

There are more young girls living in the homes in my neighborhood than there are boys; the dads I observe are more often enjoying those activities with their daughters than with sons. My daughters are among the oldest children who live nearby, and now and then a dad asks me for fresh ideas about what to do with his daughter when she grows up and tires of climbing trees.

“Take her to get a pedicure, and get one yourself,” I often say.

My recommendation is universally met with a little shock and a lot of disbelief.

“That’s women’s stuff,” is the most common response I hear.

“Precisely,” I say.

My point in suggesting a pedicure is simple. Little girls want to do everything little boys do, which plays right into dads’ hands. However, teen girls want to do what young women do, which nearly never makes sense to grown men.

I’ve had many a pedicure (please, no polish). I let the girls do my hair before we go out, help me select clothes and shoes, and give me a fashion make-over once in a while (once I inadvertently went to work wearing a pair of stick-on earrings, so be careful). I take them shopping, an excruciating experience for me because we cannot anything until we have visited at least fifty stores, but I tag along with them without complaint. It makes them happy, which in turn, delights me as well.

Being a Hero to the Kids

Every dad has at least one memory of an event or gesture that, at least in his mind, is evidence of his desire to be a good dad. For one fellow I know, that memory is of something he used to do whenever he and his daughter were on a plane; the takeoff phase of the flight terrified her. To calm her, he softly sang “Be Bop A Lula” in her ear. It worked every time.

Today her musical interest is rap music and she is no longer charmed when he sings “Be Bop A Lula”. I think, though, he might occasionally hum that song to himself.

Now and then you might see someone doing something that seems out of place or makes no sense at all, but the grin on their face tells you that, although you can’t see it, the gesture has profound meaning. Like when you hear a man humming “Be Bop A Lula” to himself while browsing in a crowded bookstore.

There are many ways dads can be heroes to their daughters. Some involve strength of muscle, others, strength of character. Some dads are heroes because of a single act of selflessness, others, because he has always been there doing for her what she needed, without waiting to be asked to lend help. It doesn’t matter, really, how a daughter determines when her dad is a hero. He is, after all, her hero.

One morning my wife and I enjoyed breakfast with another couple. Eventually I asked the father if he had a close relationship with his daughter, and he politely replied that he did, but he didn’t elaborate.

His wife, eager to give him more credit than he gave himself, told me of a phone call they received late one evening. Their daughter was in trouble and needed immediate help. Dad jumped into the car and drove fourteen hours to reach her, to rescue her.

The dad gave his wife that look that implied he didn’t want the attention, so she concluded her story, ending with, “They are very close; he’s her hero.”

His daughter’s hero; is their anything a dad would rather be?

Saying ‘I Love You’

While signing autographs one day I noticed a man lingering nearby after he purchased my book about fathers and sons. “Is that your daughter?” he finally asked, pointing to the book I had written for my daughter.

“Yes,” I answered.

“Do you let her know you love her?” he asked.

“Of course,” I answered, surprised by his question.

“Good,” he said. “Too many men aren’t comfortable saying that, especially to boys.” He smiled and walked away.

I remembered then a friend who once told me about his father, a man of few words.

My friend is a huge sports fan, largely because it was through sports that he spent time with his dad. Yet, as time passed, he and his father stopped attending games as often as they once did. “Dad wasn’t much of a talker,” he confided; “and we began to lose touch with each other.”
 
One day he and his new bride hosted a brunch for their families at a sports bar decorated with memorabilia. “At one point I looked at my dad,” he said, “and he pointed to a picture on the wall and smiled. It was of the old stadium where he and I used to go see ballgames.”

“All these years I thought I was the only one who held those memories sacred, but in that moment I knew my dad did, too. I promised myself then I would never let a day go by that I don’t tell my children how much I love them.”

I glanced across the bookstore and saw the man who had asked me if I told my daughter I loved her. He pushed the door open and with his free hand on his son’s shoulder, led him outside. I smiled, confident that that child, too, heard “I love you” often, if not everyday.

Although boys and girls may be different, they are identical in their need for love and acceptance. Say “I love you” as often as you can.