dad and child

I recently came across an initiative for fathers to empower their daughters.  What better way to celebrate Fathers’ Day than to recognize examples of how fathers impact the lives of their daughters?  The relationship young girls have with their fathers mirrors the types of relationships they’ll have later in life with their future partners so recognizing the important role father play in raising both their sons and daughters is key.

The Fathers Empowering Daughters initiative is brought to you by G(irls)20.  Created in 2007, it’s mission is to empower and uplift girls and women to actively engage in their communities through leadership, entrepreneurship and education.  It’s based in Canada but is geared towards girls and women globally.  The organization provides the girls and women with the skills needed to achieve their goals and reach their full potential.  The Fathers Empowering Daughters site contains a variety of videos of fathers discussing how they strive to empower their daughters.  Ziaddin Yousafzai, father of Malala Yousafzai, Richard Branson and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau all give short but passionate examples of what they do to empower their daughters and the importance of doing so.  There are also videos of women talking about the role their fathers played in them becoming who they are today.  Chelsea Clinton and Shakira are just two examples.  Check out the videos here.

The site focuses on fathers and their daughters but wouldn’t it be wonderful for both boys and girls to do the same thing?  Fathers are typically seen as the leaders of their families and kids are watching their actions and forming ideas of what they understand to be social norms.  New research conducted at UBC has shown that dads who do chores around the home (ex. doing the dishes, laundry, etc.) have an exponentially positive affect on how driven their daughter(s) will be as an adult.  The reasoning behind this is daughters who see traditional gender roles challenged are more likely to challenge stereotypes when it comes to choosing their career.  Not to say we mothers don’t play an active role (we do because we’re strong, supportive and highly engaged), but the study reinforces that fact that fathers need to be actively involved with their children around the home where life lessons are learned.

So for this Father’s Day, consider sending your dad an encouraging video message (this way it doesn’t matter where dad is when his special day rolls around) explaining just how much he means and the impact his presence and interactions have had.  The Fathers Empowering Daughters site has a great template for users to send their videos as e-cards but even a simple video sent from a phone goes a long way.  Miss O will be three this summer but we’ll be making our own surprise video as part of her present to her dad.  I don’t think it matters what age your child is, dad will appreciate the gesture.

For single parent families where moms also play the role of dad, why not send a video message to her as well?  Because these moms are fully engaged with their children ALL THE TIME, they would appreciate the gesture as well.  Wish her a Happy Fathers Day and treat her to something special.  I know what you’re thinking, “Mother’s Day was just last month”!  Yes, it was but in households where mom manages everything, it would be special to acknowledge all that she does and show appreciation.  We don’t have to wait for a particular day to tell us to do something, we can strive to show parents how much they mean everyday.  If you know a single mom with young kids, give her a card on behalf of her little ones.  It’ll make her day and put a smile on her face.  Let’s start thinking outside of the box.

“Teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their life.”

Proverbs 22:6