Through dads, girls find their endless possibilities

While men respond to stress with a fight-or-flight reaction, women respond with tend-and-befriend.   It should be no surprise the 2017 Women’s March was a peaceful demonstration.

It’s proven that much of a woman’s feeling of success and self-esteem is gained through the influence of a dad/father-figure.  Recognizing the root issues why many women struggle in today’s society, must include the high percentage of homes with an absent father.

I’m thankful that my dad was there for me.

When I was a tween, I wasn’t afraid to try new things, because I didn’t know what failure and humiliation felt like.  I was self-conscious, yet I felt empowered to make decisions on my own.  I was the oldest girl in my family of six kids, so Marsha from the Brady Bunch was my idol.  I decided I’d marry David Cassidy instead of my dad.  Someday I’d be a movie-star.

When I wanted piano lessons, my dad added the expense to the family budget without question.  I didn’t enjoy practicing the classical music I was supposed to, so my parents bought me piano books with modern music instead.  Sometimes I’d sing along as my fingers fumbled on the keys.  Dad encouraged me to keep trying, “that was wonderful! You’re getting better and better!”

I found I wasn’t alone in my dream of stardom.  My classmate, Chris, was going to be a famous pop-star.  She already had two years of piano lessons, a pretty voice, and loved to perform.  When we sat on her piano bench in the hallway of her home, her dad watched from the kitchen, smiling with pride.  Chris’ musical influence came from The Monkees and she was going to marry Donny Osmond.  With similar ambitions in the entertainment field, we easily became the best of friends.

One of my better moments that year was when I decided I wanted to become a rock-star.  My parents bought me a guitar and covered the additional expense of lessons.  My lucky family was rewarded with nightly performances of off-key vocals, accompanied with a few mismatched guitar chords.  “Wow,” Dad would say.  “You play that guitar so beautifully.  It’s just wonderful to hear you sing!”

Chris got a guitar that year too.  She knew if she wanted to perform alongside Davy Jones of The Monkees, playing guitar was a must.  We got together often and practiced our songs.  We were persistent to produce a show that would be unforgettable.

We started performing at nursing homes, church, and 4-H events.  Our dads constantly ran us here and there.  Our big breakout arrived when we scored a gig where we’d play for thousands of music fans.

We wanted to present ourselves professionally, so we decided to design our own iconic performance outfits.  Our parents bought us material with a colorful patchwork design.  We sewed our maxi-skirts and matching head-scarves with help from our moms.  We used white blouses we already had.

I’ll never forget the moment our dads dropped us off at our venue.  We proudly held onto the handles of our guitar cases, giggling with nerves, our matching outfits demanding attention.

The manager greeted us with a broad smile and pointed us in the direction where we’d perform.  We were confident, respectful, and making our dreams come true.

We showcased our talents with the song, “Both Sides Now.” The higher notes, Chris took the lead.  The mid-range I could bust out pretty strong, so I handled those.  That was almost 45 years ago, and I can still remember Dad saying with pride, “You girls are real performers now!”

I wonder now how he could have said that with a straight face.  You see, Chris had the voice of the angel, not me.  Our ability?  We knew 4 guitar chords.  Our venue?  The broadcast station for Ashland’s WATW-Am radio.

That day, our dads let us believe we performed like Hollywood Pop/Rock stars.

There’s certain things that dads do for their daughters that moms cannot.  Dads set the standard for what daughters can expect of a husband.   It is through the influence of an engaged and supportive father, that a girl finds a life rich with endless possibilities.

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