Normally, a dad would be writing this for my series, "A Dad's Perspective" on MommyMasters.com, but I just had to share my perspective, after I recently witnessed this beautiful moment between a father and his daughter. You definitely don’t observe the patience, strength and love this dad demonstrated.
I was at my son’s soccer game a few weeks back, and there was a little girl, whom I am guessing was seven or eight, on the opposing team. She refused to play and burst out into tears over and over again. As the mother walked away with the younger daughter, perhaps off to a birthday party or simply out of pure frustration, the father was left to deal with his screaming daughter. It was hard not to watch what unfolded, especially since I love seeing how other parents solve problems.
We have tons of reality shows on television that supposedly focus on family, but very few, if any, actually show parents parenting, especially in ‘real’istic situations. We all want to know, is there a different way to approach parenting or perhaps a better way to help us be more effective when raising our kids?
In any case, I was so curious as to how this father would handle the situation he was left with. I kept waiting for him to take his daughter aside and let her know he wasn’t there to watch her sit on the sidelines. I waited for him to threaten to take her home or lose dessert if she didn’t stop acting like a baby and start making an effort. It never came. He kept telling his daughter how proud he would be to see her play and that she could do it. The girl would approach the field and then run back to her dad and start crying again.
I almost started to lose my patience, and wanted so badly to offer some tips, but it was clear this dad didn’t need any help from “The Mommy Master®”. After an hour (I am not exaggerating), you could see the girl inch up to the field and then she would get scared, cry and run to hug her dad. The coach even tried to step in, telling her whenever she felt comfortable, she could come out on the field and then if needed, could go back to her dad, which I thought was nice.
He also told her he remembered his first time on the field…which I assumed would be finished by something similar to, “it was scary but I got the courage to go anyway and I ended up scoring the winning goal…” Instead I heard him say, “it was AWFUL”, to which she started bawling again. It took everything in me not to laugh out loud, not because it was funny, but because this coach may have just undone an hour worth of hard work and convincing from the dad.
With about ten minutes left in the game, this beautiful girl ran onto the field and she played with her teammates. As I looked back at her dad, I told him he was the most patient father in the world and that he was a Daddy Master. He responded with a nod and as his head went down, I saw a tear fall from his eye. I almost started crying. You could literally see this father’s emotions pouring out of him. He was the proudest father in the whole world and he had just successfully carried out a huge mission with great success.
This was such a beautiful moment to witness. I saw a patient dad who loved his daughter and believed in her enough to allow her to play on her own time. There was no finger pointing, no yelling and no threatening from this man. Instead he maintained his composure, demonstrated love and support, and had confidence in his child.
How would you have handled this situation? Is this father the norm? At what point is enough enough? While this dad’s story has a happy ending, is it teaching the daughter that she can whine and cause a scene any time she doesn’t want to do something? Is it showing her a false sense of security because she is learning that there will always be a patient support system for her on the other end, with no time limits on decisions? Is that reality? Or…is this father teaching her important life lessons, such as never giving up, sticking to a commitment and overcoming fears? In the end, there was a father filled with a tremendous amount of pride and love. A man who had made a deep connection with his little girl, which would forever be cherished. There was a daughter who had a smile on her face and who would forever be inspired to conquer anything that came her way. You can’t argue with that!
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