Father To Father, Dad Offers Advice On Parenting
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Father's Day is almost here and TELL ME MORE is offering the gift that keeps on giving, advice and encouragement from dads to dads. It's our series Father to Father, and today's reflection comes from Alexander Montgomery of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
ALEXANDER MONTGOMERY: In raising my two stepdaughters from childhood to young womanhood, I was very fortunate to have a mentor help me, coach me and listen to me when things got challenging. The best man for my wedding turned out to be my best man when it came to parenting. He has given me so much encouragement and advice over the years. The trick is I had to ask for it.
See, we men are not natural talkers. We don't generally tell our business to each other and we definitely don't butt into a situation when no one asks us to, but you'd be surprised. If you do ask us, we will have something to say and, sometimes, once we get going, you can't get us to shut up.
But, dads, do yourself a favor and ask. You know that feeling when you kind of know where you're going, but you don't, really? You want to stop and ask for directions, but you feel like you should already know the way? That's parenting, in a nutshell. It is a journey and, sometimes, we are not on the right path.
There's nothing wrong with that. It happens. The key is to accept help and guidance to get back on the right path and, as fathers who are parents to girls, well, we have a little extra going on. It is not easy watching your daughters grow into women, change before your eyes, then capture the eye of another man besides you. Yes, it is difficult when Daddy's little girl grows up.
The greatest lesson that I have learned is to listen to my daughters and try not to judge. I tried my hardest not to dictate to them because what we really want is for our young ladies to have minds of their own, to be strong and have their own conviction.
But, hey, if I'm being honest here, guys, and real here today, the hardest part of parenting came when I had to cope with my daughters having boyfriends. Fellows, the best advice for you: Never, never, ever talk bad about the boyfriend, no matter how big a knucklehead he is. Easier said than done, I know, but if you've done your job right as a partner and a dad, you have to trust that your daughter has watched and learned from the respectful, loving way you've treated her mother and that she will demand to be treated the same way.
Treat your daughter's mother like a queen and your little princess will grow up to be one, too.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MARTIN: That was Alexander Montgomery from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma giving his advice from father to father.
Tune in tomorrow as we continue to salute dads across the country.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.