The Love of a Father for his Daughter

 

“The father of a daughter is nothing but a high-class hostage. A father turns a stony face to his sons, berates them, shakes his antlers, paws the ground, snorts, runs them off into the underbrush, but when his daughter puts her arm over his shoulder and says, “Daddy, I need to ask you something,” he is a pat of butter in a hot frying pan.” (Garrison Keillor)

 

Last night I did not want to go to sleep because yesterday was one of the happiest days of my life and I did not want to lose the overwhelming sense of love, joy and happiness I was feeling all day. I had the wonderful privilege of watching (and photographing) the surprise wedding of my loves’ daughter. A daughters’ relationship with her mother is almost always a special kind of relationship for a woman. Much more than just parent and child, mother and daughter. More like best friends who have also bonded deeply through a (sometimes turbulent) process of modelling and teaching the type of selfless love which maintains couples, families and generations.

Little girls eventually grow up and begin to experience and seek out relationships based on friendship (philia) and later the more intimate relationships they will have with their partners (eros). However, there is one kind of love which forms the basis of the strongest relationships in a person’s life. It is the kind of love which bonds two people for life – husband and wife, life-partners of any kind. This kind of love is the deepest sort of love there can be. This is the type of love which forms the heart and soul of a mother’s love for her children. This is a selfless form of love which is given unconditionally and entirely for the sake of the other. This kind of love is agape, the deepest and most important kind of love there can be. One might even go so far as to say that agape is the evolutionarily necessary emotional bond which serves as the connection which propogates the human species. Agape is also the type of love that is required for us to learn compassion for our fellow person. And we all know that our world could use more compassion.

It is our mothers who first introduce us to this unconditional and selfless form of love known as agape. This is why the mother-daughter relationship is so important, so special, so unigue. It is where little girls, little princesses first learn of the deepest form of love which bonds people for life and ultimately keeps our species going.

But where do men, fathers fit into this all important, maybe even evolutionarily necessary form of selfless love known as agape? Men often appear unemotional or “distant” to their kids, often playing more of a bread-winner or disciplinarian role with their children. However, some men also have the privilege of an honest, open and deeply emotional relationship with their daughters that rivals the closest mother-daughter relationship. The overwhelming joy that a father can experience when his daughter is getting married can often be as deep and powerful as any mothers’ selfless love and joy for her daughter. And if my own joy, happiness and overwhelming emotions yesterday are any indication of what a loving father can feel for his daughter, then I am certain that my partner’s daughters father also experienced one of the happiest days of his life yesterday. Not only did I have the incredible privilege to be a part of her wedding, I think might just have captured a small part of that emotion, that deepest form of selfless love known as agape, between a father and his daughter.

Johnny Stork

An Old Hippie and Jolly Mystic Dude with a background (or interests) in psychology, sexuality, philosophy, spirituality, consciousness, contemplative practices and technology. In a few different previous lives/careers I have been a youth-care worker and program developer; statistician; database developer; web developer; WordPress developer; Linux administrator and open-source consultant; network/website security administrator; social-media and web marketing specialist; male waiter on Ladies Nights and a pourer of molten steel.

I currently hang out in Gibson’s BC while attending Alef Trust (Middlesex University) as a Master’s student in Consciousness, Spirituality & Transpersonal Psychology. When I am not reading, studying, writing, blogging, listening to music or contemplating my navel, I like to spend time taking photos, hiking, 4x4ing, camping, kayaking or challenging social, sexual, gender and intellectual stereotypes.

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