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Portland, OR
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I exist to help dads learn to communicate and engage with their young adult daughters.  I provide resources from my vast amounts of research and experience with dads and daughters, and this is the place where you'll find the tools you need to become the hero you've always wanted to be.

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Because a Dad’s Gotta Do What a Dad’s Gotta Do

Michelle Watson

I’m guessing that many of you watched the Super Bowl two Sundays ago along with 111.9 million other people in America. And I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the highlights for me resided more in the commercials than in the game.

And whether you’re a Bronco’s or a Panther’s fan, I’ve got a question for you: Did you happen to notice the recurring theme in the commercials this year about fathers relating to their daughters?  

Procter & Gamble scored big in their series of four Pantene commercials called “The Dad-Do” where NFL players DeAngelo Williams of the Pittsburg Steelers, Benjamin Watson of the New Orleans Saints, and Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys tackled the detangling their daughter’s hair. Included in each heart-warming scenario are drawings of each dad’s strategy for attacking the hairdo like they would their opponent on the field. It’s really clever. (If you’d like to see the Good Morning America overview of all four stories, click here).

It’s so refreshing to see professional athletes attempt to do something they’re unskilled at, in an area where they admittedly lack competence, all out of love for their little girls. And then to let all of America see them stumble through the process (a.k.a. “fumble the ball”) is even more courageous! Their goal?  To inspire dads everywhere to get in the game! I smiled when hearing Jason Witten say that “Catching a touchdown pass is a lot easier than making a beautiful braid.” Well said, Dad!

I loved hearing Benjamin Watson talk about knowing that his 6-year old twin girls “...will judge all men by how I treat them, so it’s important for me to connect with them and do things they want to do so they will know they’re important and that they’re worth my time.”

The Pantene STRONG IS BEAUTIFUL campaign highlights the importance of dads raising strong girls with a message grounded in research that confirms a few vital facts, namely that:

Girls who spend quality time with their dads grow up to be…

  • stronger
  • more self confident
  • more self-reliant
  • more successful in school
  • more successful in their careers

To that I say:  YES!  My empirical data lines up directly with this information.

And as much as I loved the four Pantene commercials, I am OVERJOYED that the Hyundai “First Date” ad won USA Today’s Annual Poll of Best Super Bowl Ads. Let’s hear it for America celebrating the love of a dad for his daughter!

In case you haven’t seen the clip, Kevin Hart is an over-protective father who sneaks around during his teenage daughter’s first date to ensure that this boy treats her right. The clip begins with Hart giving the keys to his new Hyundai to this boy, knowing full well about the feature that allows the car’s owner to track the car’s location. With prevailing knowledge of where they were at all times, he is able to pop up every place they go. I especially love the scene where dad is hanging off a ladder attached to a helicopter while shouting to the boy, “You’re messing with the wrong daddy!”

The commercial ends with Hart’s daughter coming home, clearly disappointed in the way her evening played out, while dad opens the door to greet her with a knowing smile. As she walks away, the narrator closes with a powerful tagline:    

“Because a dad’s gotta do what a dad’s gotta do.”

What a fantastic reminder these commercials are to herald the power of a dad’s active presence in his daughter’s life. Yes, sometimes he has to get out of his own way and be willing make a fun of himself or not do it right or to stay one step ahead of her while helping to guide her choices. But in the end, it’s all about doing whatever it takes to let his daughter know he adores her.

If an NFL player can step off the field (his comfort zone) and walk into a beauty salon (perhaps his non-comfort zone) to bond with his girls, then any dad can do it. You don’t have to be perfect; it’s about the fact that you tried to meet her on her turf. Because, as the wise Benjamin Watson said, “Sometimes a 'Dad Do' is a 'Redo' and you've got to be ok with that!”

Thanks DeAngelo, Benjamin, Jason, and Kevin for inspiring dads everywhere to invest well in their daughters. You all rocked the screen this week in ways that truly made a difference in the lives of all who viewed your outstanding work…on the football field and on the “field” that really matters: your daughter’s heart.

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