There's been a lot of programming on the telly lately regarding the death of Princess Diana. This year marks the 10th anniversary of it. There are a handful of events that have happened in my lifetime that I can remember exactly where I was when I heard the news. I remember walking home from school when another kid ran by and screamed something about President Reagan being shot. I was walking up the steps at Houston Jr. High when some kids passed and told me the Challenger exploded. Of course, we all remember where we were on 9/11. I have a similar feeling about Princess Di's death, but for different reasons.
I wasn't a huge fan of Di's. Her life didn't impact me in any particular way. (But I do remember my brother and I sleeping on my Grandma & Grandpa Myers' bedroom floor so they could wake us up early and watch her Royal Wedding.) The reason Di's death stuck with me had very little to do with her.
I had transitioned out of the Army and had gone back to Hillsdale College to finish my degree. Jamie and I were living in a tiny house in Moore, OK. Mollie had just been born a few months earlier. I was working an evening job delivering pizza for Pizza Hut in a not-so-great area of OKC. I remember very specifically driving a pizza somewhere with my windows down. The DJ on the radio said something to the effect of, "Sad news, folks. Tonight a princess has died." The words were no sooner out of his mouth when I pulled up to a four-way stop and a teenage prostitute walked to my window and leaned in and propositioned me. The irony hit me immediately and I spent the remainder of that delivery fighting back tears. More than one princess had been lost that night.
I've had one princess for 10 years now and have just been given the gift of another. The thing that keeps me up at night is a fear that I will do something as a dad that will send one of my princess's looking for love in the wrong place. Study after study has shown that a father's relationship with his daughter has a very direct impact on her future dating and sexual decisions.
I tell guys this all the time and now seems like a good time to say it again. One of your primary responsibilities as a father of a daughter is to romance her. If you're not dating your daughter, somebody else will. You should be her knight in shining armor. You need to make her laugh, hug and kiss her, hold her hand, take her on dates regularly, and teach her by example what kind of man she needs to look for one day.
I'm a typical father. I am probably too tough on my kids a lot of times - in fact, I can be a real jerk. But I try to make a conscious effort to drop all the macho b.s. and be what my daughter needs me to be. Some days I'm more successful than others.
Say a prayer for me today as I try to raise my princesses and I'll say one for you and yours, too.