Go for it!
by Aixa G. López
You wake up one day, and you realize you are the father of a baby girl. All of a sudden it hits you and you start asking yourself, “what am I going to do? I need to learn about “girl stuff.” You start thinking about all the things women go through and what future your daughter may have. It seems challenging, right?
Well, as a father, you have more power of influence than you may think. Girls are usually drawn to their fathers, and sometimes parents don’t realize how much impact they can have on their children’s future.
These are some things that I experienced with my dad, and that allowed me not to be afraid to get into a male-dominated industry and stay in it for over twenty (20) years.
1. Try not to impose “girly” expectations: “girls wear pink and boys wear blue” paradigm is outdated. Allow your daughter to experience different aspects of life. If you also have boys, let her play with them. Teach them that they need each other. Women and men need each other to succeed. Show her how to ask men for help in a positive, noncompetitive way but also a confident and assertive manner.
2. Teach her not to wait for the “perfect prince” to come and take care of her: we are taught that one day we’ll meet the perfect guy that will take care of us. There’s nothing wrong with meeting that guy, but we should not look at him as our savior. Fathers are role models for their daughters. They should teach them how to think independently, to pursue a career, not to have someone to fall back on. Men and women should create a partnership in which they support, teach, and help one another so that both parties can grow and succeed.
3. Allow her to participate in the things you do: my father is very crafty. He was always doing things around the house. I loved observing him. He always allowed me to help. As a teenager, I was always changing the layout of my room. I never asked for any help. I moved things around and put things on the wall by myself.
4. Praise her confidence – give her feedback: Praise the fact that she dares to do or say something. Explain to her that she doesn’t have to succeed at everything, that failure is part of the process. Women tend to take defeat from the heart. We think that if we fail at something, then, we “are” a failure. Teach her that to grow and become a better person; you will have to experience failure. Let her know that occasional failure is okay and that she will have people around that will support her and help her move forward.
5. Be there for her and just enjoy seeing her grow: have fun being a father of a girl. It’s fantastic for a girl to know that a male figure will always be there for her and have her back. There will come a time in which your daughter will teach you and will take care of you.
Aixa G. López, P. E. is a Consultant, Leadership Development, Digital Marketing, Organizational Process Improvement living in the Elmira, New York Area. She is a strategically minded, analytical Industrial Engineer with 27+ years of experience providing operations management, organizational process improvement, leadership & team development, and digital marketing. She has been recognized for improving organizational effectiveness and efficiency through leadership, aligning business processes to realize cost savings and revenue growth. She’s an industrial engineer who entered the field because of her passion for fixing things. As a columnist for CNY Latino, Aixa shares with the readers this passion and the lessons she has learnt along the way.