I have three children. My responsibility is to “love them, no matter what, even if…” in the words of Dr. Paul Jenkins. This goes for the sons AND the daughters.
My first is a son. What dad doesn’t want to have a son right? I got my wish and it has been spectacular. I thought I wanted to have all boys. I understand boys (I think). After all, I was a boy once, and often I still behave like a juvenile in many ways (just ask my wife). But then my first daughter was born and my life changed in a different way. I had a princess. A few years later I had another princess.
When my girls were born I felt the deep love that a father feels for his precious daughter. I felt a different sense of duty to protect these girls. Yes, I felt a different duty than I felt for my son. Maybe it’s a cultural thing or maybe it’s something humans have developed as we’ve evolved. When my girls were born I started playing out the moment when a boy would show up to my house years down the road to take them away from me. You know, the moment when I greet them at the door with a shotgun and threaten the boy’s life if he hurts my princess. I have imagined that moment many times. Realistically I have never been accused of being a tough or threatening person. I’m a skinny guy with a big smile. I’ve never once been in a fight (if you don’t count sibling squabbles as a child).
Recently I’ve had a shift in perspective. I don’t just have daughters. I have a son too. My son will be that boy showing up at the home of someone else’s princess. Will he be threatened by that girl’s father? Or will he be welcomed and treated with respect? I hope the latter.
My duty is to teach my son how to treat people with respect. When he shows up to pick up his date, and eventually asks a girl to marry him, I hope that he will be welcomed. I also hope to be able to welcome each boy who comes to date my daughters with the respect. We have sons and we have daughters. Let’s love them all no matter what, even if. Let’s treat them both with respect. That boy coming to see your daughter is somebody’s son.