Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Soft Influence of Daughters

USA Today has a surprisingly moving piece today on the tremendously important contribution of little girls in the family and society, that unfortunaetly, China is missing out on. Their one-child per family policy is a horrible indictment of that country that will have far reaching ramifications. The male to female ratio is badly skewed, which is never good for the health of a society. Here are a few words on daughters and their dads.
Ironically, some of the people who know this best are the family members with whom daughters often have the least in common: dads.

Daughters have a tendency to evoke from their dads a tender "soft love" that comes far less naturally to men than the "tough love" that fathers typically show their sons. And while it is obviously true that fathers (and mothers) should seek to be neither too soft nor too hard on each of their kids, there is an almost-universal recognition that fathers should probably err a little in one direction with boys and a little in the other direction with girls.

Indeed, a son who has not been adequately toughened by his father is often derisively called a "mama's boy." Yet a daughter who enjoys a special place of endearment in her father's heart is affectionately known as a "daddy's girl."

Interestingly, the father of our current president displayed a keen understanding of the unique role that little girls play in family life. In 1958, George H.W. Bush wrote a moving personal letter mourning the tragic death of his daughter, Robin.

"There is about our house a need," Bush wrote. "We need some starched crisp frocks to go with all our torn-kneed blue jeans and helmets. We need some soft blond hair to offset those crew cuts. We need a dollhouse to stand firm against our forts and rackets and thousands of baseball cards. We need someone to cry when I get mad — not argue. We need a little one who can kiss without leaving egg or jam or gum. We need a girl."(/snip)

Indeed, when I say that I wish all of the men in China could have hearts as heavy as mine, I am not trying to be cruel.

I am instead lamenting the fact that hundreds of millions of Chinese men will never experience the unique pleasures that I have known as the father of a daughter. Hundreds of millions of Chinese men will never know the special joys of having a "daddy's girl."

You see, the reason my heart is so heavy is because a little girl has made it full. And while I know that America can hardly stand in judgment of China's policies, somehow still I wish the Chinese could love their daughters, too.

China is destroying their own national treasures under the saddest of circumstances.