I want to start off this letter in your shoes. I have two girls myself. They are the twinkle in my eyes, so I understand the overwhelming anxiety that consumes you when you imagine letting your daughter(s) hang out with a boy for the first time. It makes me sweat, the idea of permitting that kind of trust to someone who could both hang the moon in their life’s sky and send that same moon crashing to an emotional demise. And I know how important it is to protect our little girls’ hearts. So as you continue reading this, understand that I empathize with you.
Along with having two beautiful girls, I also have three rowdy boys; three boys that I love with the same protective trepidation. But the concern I have for my boys isn’t a girl who could break their hearts, that’s bound to happen whether or not I’m on watch. My concern is You, a well-meaning but overprotective father. See, there’s a tradition that has been repeated time and time again long before I was a young boy; A tradition that has far too long been passed off as acceptable and humorous. But to me, it’s anything but acceptable or humorous. The tradition I’m referring to is cleaning a gun in the presence of any adolescent boy that dawns a father’s doorway as a way to get their point across that, by any means necessary and including physical harm, their daughter will be treated with respect. And I’m not okay with it. Not in the least bit. Let me explain why.
Since my boys (and girls) were little, I’ve purposed to teach them what’s appropriate and not appropriate in relation to treating women. I’ve taught them that violence is never the answer. I’ve taught them that women are a gift of God, and they are to be treated as such. I’ve taught them that women aren’t an object, that they are our equals. I’ve taught them to treat women the same way Daddy treats Mommy, with the utmost respect. I’ve taught them that women can be fragile, physically and emotionally, and we’re to protect them at any cost. But by your single “innocent” gesture, you risk all I’ve ever invested in them. In fact, you’re teaching them a counter-truth. That violence is acceptable. You’re instilling in them fear, not respect. And I can’t stand for it.
So can I ask of you a simple gesture, man to man? Before you believe the lie that all boys are evil, and convince yourself the only way to prevent mistakes from happening is the threat of physical harm, will you consider that the boy interested in your daughter is also someone’s beloved son? I promise to do my part in raising respectful young men. It’s the least I could do considering how much I love their Mother and their sisters. I'll promise you this, if there’s ever any concern that you have, I’m here to work it out with you; together. That’s my responsibility as a loving Father, and I take that responsibility seriously.
A Concerned Dad,
Chris Moss, with his wife Tiffany, keep company with five lively children. He currently resides on the outskirts of St. Louis, Missouri. Chris is the Missional Co-Founder of the grass-roots community organization The Serve Movement. He's a writer, a dreamer, and a voice for the underdog. He can be reached for comment or question at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thechrismoss