You’ve done well. Its ten, twelve, eighteen, twenty, thirty years after your daughter came into this world and you can see for your very self that you’ve done well. She got your sense of humor, your hunger for adventure, your knack for fixing things and breaking bones, your love for baseball, your ability to walk into a job and run the business within five years. Thankfully, she got all her mother's best qualities as well. She makes you both proud.
Over the tireless years you’ve spent raising her, you were giving her something you didn’t consciously know about: strength. Not the kind that means she can lift things—though she could if she decided to—and not the kind that means she lacks the soft emotions. Every time you told her how brave she was, how talented and capable, you unknowingly pushed her further out from the shallow end into the deep end, knowing the only way someone can learn to swim is to give them the opportunity to do it. So here you are. It’s ten, twelve, eighteen, twenty, thirty years later and she’s furious. She is filled with beauty and grace and love and passion and rage. This is understandable as there is much to be upset about, but to see this little girl with such anger in her eyes is nothing you ever imagined.
Are you confused? Are you sad? Are you mad? When did this little girl, who used to sing along with Disney princesses, turn into this woman who has an emotional capacity of such magnitude?
Don’t be surprised.
When you taught her how to kick a soccer ball harder than the boys but told her the only person worth besting was herself, you were raising a feminist.
When she scraped her knee and you kissed it better and told her that it’s ok to cry so long as it didn’t keep her from ever scraping her knee again, you were raising a feminist.
When you told her it was going to be ok after her first breakup because she was far too significant to fret too long over trivial things such as him, you were raising a feminist.
When the power went out and you taught her how to light a candle, play charades, and make the most of the dark times, you were raising a feminist.
When you congratulated her academic success, her extra-curricular involvement, and her stupendous abilities in drawing and painting and made sure she knew how valuable she was based on her mind and her heart, you were raising a feminist.
When you introduced her to cigars and whiskey and fishing and the fact that your heart has been broken before, you were raising a feminist.
When you taught her that her identity was rooted first and foremost in her royal position as God’s daughter and not in the patterns of an ever-changing world, you were raising a feminist.
When you helped her walk down the aisle and you told her all of the endless things she was capable of in her new role as a wife, you were raising a feminist.
When you looked into the eyes of her newborn baby and you wept real tears, you were raising a feminist.
Every hug, every discipline, every encouragement, every moment that she got to watch you love her unconditionally, you were raising a feminist.
And now that she is all raised, don’t be surprised about your feminist daughter. Now is the hard part, where you look on and hopefully come alongside her as she fights endlessly for the people around her and the causes that she is passionate about—a passion you exemplified for her and passed along to her. Now is the time where you loving her relentlessly all those years pays off, for you always knew that she was created for such a time as this. Your feminist daughter has the fire inside of her to lead a revolution, lead a family, lead a people, and most brilliantly, lead you—if you’ll let her. Don't let what the world has turned into an ugly word scare you. Just look at the depths of beauty and love within this daughter of yours and you can see that feminism isn't ugly at all. All it means is that she is proud and unashamed to be a woman and wants to be sure all other women get to feel the same. She has the capacity to show you new concepts you have never fathomed and introduce you to bold ideas you couldn’t have dreamt up on your own.
In this new season, here is your greatest challenge: follow the leader you’ve raised. For years you encouraged her to do the scary thing and leave the comfort zones she created. She swam in the deep end because you told her it would be worth it. She got on the dirt bike, the scooter, the two-wheeler, the dean’s list because you promised her nothing in this world is worse than a fear that keeps you from a life. And now here she is, furious and fearless and feminist.
Dad, you raised a feminist because you are one, whether you know it or not.
Be proud. Be fearless. Be ready.
Your Feminist Daughter