There is an old country song about a cowboy who accidentally got a girl “with child.” In the lyrics, he asks his friend:
“…you know I’m a rake and a ramblin’ man
Free as an eagle flies…
Well, look at me now and tell me true:
Do I look like a daddy to you? Oh, do I look like a daddy to you?”
The character is debating whether he has it in himself to enter into the predicament he has created, or whether to run away. Having become a father, will he be able to be a dad?
I imagine that many men ask themselves similar questions. Too many opt out.
The Gift of Having a Dad
Not everyone has the blessing of having a true “Dad.” To be a daddy is, in most cases at least, to be present. And I had one of those dads. He is, without a doubt, one of the single greatest blessings of my life. I am a daddy’s girl.
And I hope all you guys out there who are hoping for marriage are looking forward not to just scoring a hot chick as you browse the profiles at your fingertips. I hope you are also looking forward to being a daddy. When you survey the women you swipe through on your screen, I hope you are looking for the mother of your children.
I may have taken for granted the value of having a dad who affirmed me, who loved me into a self-respecting womanhood. One of the reasons why chastity has been possible for me is that my dad was respectful—indeed reverent—of my womanhood as it budded under his care. And he took pains to protect it.
He Takes the Chance to Defend my Honor
In my high school, there was this thing called “initiation.” Upperclassmen would get freshmen into their cars and take them to some remote place from which they would have to walk back.
I remember the day my dad counseled my teenage self at the kitchen counter not to get into any cars with boys after school. Okay, so I was a little embarrassed.
In adulthood, I know that my dad understood the danger of getting into a car with a boy more than his innocent, naïve little girl did. He suspected that there may be more to getting “initiated” than anyone was saying. I never did get into a car with a boy after school.
In retrospect, I treasure that little counseling session. I have always longed for someone who respected me the way my dad taught me to respect myself.
Somehow, when I looked into my dad’s eyes, he communicated a message to my delicate feminine heart. “You can do it! You are capable! I believe in you! You can try and you can miss the mark, and I will still love you! I’m delighted that you tried! You are safe with me! I am proud of you.”
When I looked into his eyes, he told me who I was. That security gave me the freedom to soar. It also meant that I didn’t need to go looking for affirmation in unhealthy ways.
Not all Men are like That
It didn’t take long to figure out that there aren’t many men like Dad anymore. In a later chapter in life, one of my boyfriends seemed very concerned that I could possibly someday gain weight. He did not think it would be possible for him to be attracted to someone who may become “obese.”
I was as thin and light as I have ever been, due to an anxiety-producing season of my career that made it difficult for me to eat or sleep. But, as I was familiar with what often happens to women after childbirth, I knew that I could offer no guarantees.
Nevertheless, I must say, it was troubling to discover that he was more concerned about the weight of my body than the weight of my character. Should this relationship progress, how would he father my children?
He gave me a fitness book as a not-so-subtle hint of his expectations. That ended that.
In yet another chapter and another relationship, my beloved had a moment when he seemed embarrassed at my enthusiasm about my faith. I found myself retreating inside myself, with the question…are you ashamed of me?