The last Sunday of September is celebrated as Daughter’s Day. Today also happens to be World Heart Day. What a lovely coincidence because a daughter is someone you love with all your heart. Ask parents and they will admit that in the heart of hearts their daughter is the love and light of their lives.
To a father growing old nothing is dearer than a daughter. To an aging mother, nothing is more heartening than discovering a friend in her daughter when she becomes a mother too. Yes, mothers and daughters are closest when daughters become mothers. They may fight through her tumultuous teens and tense twenties, but once the daughter becomes a mom, her mother becomes her best friend, philosopher and guide.
There’s yet another home truth validated by generations. Many believe a son is a son till he gets a wife, while a daughter is a daughter all her life. Parents vouch for their daughter’s support no matter where she’s married off or works or lives. She senses instinctively, even over the phone, if something is amiss and finds a way to reach out to her parents. The daughter also knows forbearance and tries to tide over her troubles or make do with destiny till her parents either leave her to her fate or offer their unstinted support to help her lead a life of dignity. Sadly, their choice to support their daughter in their old age depends on their financial condition, which in turn means their dependence on their son or other members of their family, and worst the predicament of ‘what society will say’.
A MOTHER’S DUTY
The best gift parents can give their daughters, well after the right to live of course, is education that enables them to be economically independent. No amount of dowry or bank balance can compensate for the security a professional qualification can give in these challenging times. It is as important for the daughter to earn, and feel empowered, as it is for her brother.
The bias against educating the daughter is so deep-rooted in our society that it almost sounds liberating to demand an equal right to education for her. Education is truly the only way parents can empower their daughters. Whether she chooses to make a career or not out of her education is her choice, but it is every parent’s duty, and more so her mother’s, to ensure the daughter gets the best education she can afford.
A BOND WITH DAD
There’s nothing as special as the bond between a dad and his daughter. From her childhood hero to her life support in trouble, daddy dearest is at her beck and call. But dads owe daughters more than just affection and the generous dose of pampering. Building his daughter’s knowledge is the duty of every dad, and that doesn’t mean academics alone.
Doting dads would do well to encourage their daughters to read whether its books or newspapers. It will broaden her horizon and help her make informed choices, something she will thank daddy for when she meets success in life.
Fathers can initiate daughters into a new sport or at least teach her the rules of the game(s) they love watching. She may not grow up to be a sportswoman, but it will give her the strength to tackle life’s challenges and find her way around. And if dad is her true friend, he will teach her to dance and express her happiness.
But the biggest gift parents can give their daughters is unconditional love. It will make her compassionate as much as confident. Yes, parents can freeze the moments and cherish the memories of their daughter’s growing-up years, but gifting her enthusiasm to bounce back and be self-reliant is priceless. The fact is a daughter will outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart. Just give her the chance to live well.