This past weekend, my wife and I got out to see Wonder Woman, our first time going to a theater since our younger daughter was born (Today is her first birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LITTLE BUDDY!!). It was a fantastic film that I highly recommend and it’s about time that we get to see Wonder Woman on the big screen. This past weekend was also Father’s Day. The happenstance juxtaposition of those two things has me reflecting for the hundredth time: What Do I Want For My Daughters?
I want to tell them that they can be a superhero, that they really can do anything they want to. But I also want them to know that just because you can do a thing doesn’t mean you should or that they have to. It may not be what you are called to, and it may not be what the people around you need. Do I want my girls to get an education? Yes. Do I want them to go to war? No. Do I want them to have a successful career? I don’t know.
We’re working on the education right now, and will be as long we can. I’ve been blessed with a stellar education. My wife and my mother and my sister all have fancy degrees to show how much they’ve learned, and I want the same thing for my daughters. I want my daughters to learn how to think, because that will prepare them for anything that God calls them to, whether it be motherhood or religious life or a certain career path.
That said, there are certain things that my daughters are capable of that I don’t want them to do. One of them is go to war. Watching a superhero film like Wonder Woman necessarily makes you think of physical fights, and that’s one thing I don’t want for them. One day they’ll be capable. If they find themselves needing to protect their families, they’ll do it, and I’ll be proud of them. But I don’t want them to seek out that fight. A civilized society acknowledges that women and children are deserving of protection, even when women are able to protect themselves.
A career? Do I want my girls to grow up to have big powerful careers? If they have small children, no. No, I don’t. Children need their mothers, and small children need their mothers in a big way. My wife cares for our girls full-time, not because she doesn’t have other desires, but because she recognizes that it’s the best way to serve them right now. I know that daycare is an economic reality for many families. But the idea of my girls being cared for by strangers makes my heart itch. And if my babies have babies, I want my girls to know that being a mother is a calling in itself. It’s something to be celebrated, not derided as less than a career. Our Blessed Mother wasn’t known for a career, and my daughters don’t have to be either.
What I want most for my girls, is for them to do what God calls them to do. In this life, there’s absolutely no decision more important. God has a plan for each of my wonderful girls, one that he will guide them on, and which will bring them immense fulfillment, just as my marriage and my fatherhood fulfills God’s plan for me. In order for them to do that, they need a good Dad. I think a good Dad in this case has to acknowledge, with the Church and with post-1960s America, that women can contribute in every sphere. Also, a good Dad has to balance this acknowledgement with the practical application of Christianity: we can all do a lot, but there’s something real and specific God wants us to do. Pray that I can be a good Dad for my little girls.