Have you ever watched a grown man melt into the floor while his 3-year-old daughter pulls his hair into tiny ponytails and adorns him with a tiara? I have. It's phenomenal and hysterical and adorable. Ever listen to a grown man explain to his 5-year-old daughter what little boys are like? I have. It's somewhat unsettling but definitely significant. Our daughter has taught us patience and empathy like we've never known before, and I've watched my husband teach her the things fathers should teach daughters by the time they're 7 years old.
These lessons, taught by my husband to our daughter, can be taught by anyone, really. It's definitely worth mentioning (and remembering) that single mothers, two mothers, polyamorous parents, transgender parents, and grandparents or any other combination of caregivers you could possibly imagine, can instill these life lessons in their daughters, too. In fact, mothers who are in heteronormative relationships with the fathers of their children can (and probably do) teach their daughters the following lessons, too. You don't have to be a straight, cisgender father to teach your daughter anything, let alone specific things.
However, I've seen my husband so effortlessly and yet significantly guide our daughter through her first seven years of life, so I wanted to share what he's done. It seems as if fathers and daughters do, indeed, share a bond that is special to them. And although some days I wish I understood why she listens to him more than she listens to me, I do my best to be thankful she listens to someone. My husband is our daughter's role model, and here is what he's taught her so far: