Having a protective father is the best thing for any little girl. The song "Rude" by Magic paints protective dads in a bad light, when, in reality, if I were dating someone who my dad didn't approve of, for whatever reason, I would want him to decline this suitor my hand in marriage. I trust my father's judgement. Whether he was protecting the teenage me from a broken heart with strict rules or the toddler me from harsh winds at the beach by putting me under his t-shirt, my father's protectiveness saved and continues to save me from a lot. Here are a few things my protective father taught me:
We live in a cruel world that likes to knock people down, and my father was aware of that. Because of this, he has built me up since the moment I was born. There isn't a conversation I've had with my father in which he hasn't complimented me or made me feel good about myself. We recently attended a father-daughter tea (yes, I accompanied my father to a tea at the age of nineteen) where one of the speakers told the fathers that they only had one chance to make their daughters feel loved and valuable. My dad immediately looked at me and said, "No, you have everyday to do that."
2. Stranger danger.
This one is pretty basic, but it's a biggie. As someone of the internet-crazed generation, this is a lesson that probably saved my life. I never had a "meet a crazy person online" experience, but I've heard the horror stories. Both of my parents made sure we knew that strangers, particularly strange men, are a no-go no matter where you meet them. I also like to think of my daddy as the father from Taken, and on that note...
3. Dad's always got your back.
I know I can always count on him no matter the situation, time, or place. If it were important enough, he'd probably drive the four hours from Pennsylvania to ensure my safety. He'd happily sit on the phone with me for an hour and help me find the solution to a problem. Well, maybe not happily because the man doesn't like to talk on the phone, but he'd do it for me.
4. Never settle.
Through his words and actions, I have learned to never settle for less than I deserve. My father spent my childhood raising up my self esteem so that I would know to never expect less than I deserve (and, darn-it, I deserve a lot) from someone else. He didn't teach me these things strictly for future romantic relationships, but for relationships in general.
5. To stand up for what I believe in.
Although sometimes his beliefs/rules seemed unfair at the time, he always stood his ground. Not being allowed to date until I was sixteen seemed completely overboard at the time, but no matter how many times I stomped my feet, begged, and cried he never relented. In fact, I was too scared to bring a boy home to my father until I was 17. This may not seem like that important of a belief/rule, but it taught me to stand firm in my beliefs even when others see them as trivial.
6. If you're not early, you're late.
I had a curfew until I left for college. It didn't matter that I turned eighteen in October of my senior year. The military made my dad a very punctual man, a trait he (somewhat) passed on to me. Although there were nights I walked through the door a few (okay, maybe more than a few) minutes late, most of the time I made sure to leave my friends' houses with time to spare. This is something I've brought with me to college, and will carry long after I graduate.
7. Always carry some form of ID.
This one is a basic but a biggie, also. You never know when you'll be riding in the back of an ambulance and in need of identification. To a lesser extreme, you may need your driver's license to hop behind the wheel when your friend's had a little too much to drink. I'm not sure if it was the military, his protectiveness, or both that brought on this life lesson, but it's one I will never forget.
He may have waited until I was older for this one, but it's essential. I can hold my own if I need to. I know how to properly use a gun for self defense. Although I hope, and he hopes, that I'll never be in a dire situation where this lesson will be necessary.
9. Treat the pauper like the prince.
10. You build your own empire.internship and a (future) degree in a field that pays little, but it's one that I'm proud of. I'm building on a career I feel is important, and he taught me that your beliefs are the key to success.
11. Dad knows best.
Girls, having a protective dad is a good thing. It can be frustrating, but I promise you that he's only looking out for you, and he knows what's best for you. To protective fathers everywhere, please enjoy this father's response to Magic's song: