Father's Day, father, daughter, relationship, bond, Dwayne Smith

With Father’s Day approaching, I think it’s appropriate to examine the significance of the father-daughter relationship.

A man has attacked the killer of his three-year-old daughter in a Detroit courtroom. On August 28, Dwayne Smith punched defendant Clifford Thomas in the back of the head. He was restrained by security before the brawl could progress. Thomas, 34 is accused of accidental homicide, along with girlfriend (and mother of Smith’s child), Jasmine Gordon, 25.

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Smith’s daughter Jamila was hospitalised with multiple blunt force trauma injuries in September last year. Thomas and Gordon told hospital staff that Jamila had fallen, but it was very quickly ruled a homicide. Thomas was sentenced to between 6 and 15 years for involuntary manslaughter, and 1 to 2 years for resisting and obstructing a police officer. Gordon received 7 to 15 years for involuntary manslaughter, and 14 to 25 for aiding and abetting child abuse, to be served simultaneously.

Smith’s actions could have landed him in some seriously hot water. Vocal disturbance in a courtroom is grounds for at the very least a fine, let alone punching a defendant. However, no charges were laid against him. Regardless of engaging in a skirmish that could have turned nasty, the judge did not find him in contempt of court.

You know what? Fair enough.

I don’t condone violence as a solution. However, I believe that any father whose little girl has been brutalised and murdered would instinctively react this way, if presented with the chance. Smith faced a tiny window of opportunity; it was all that he needed. I would hazard a guess that he had no control over his actions; primal instinct took over. I know that my father, who is the gentlest, most reasonable man to ever walk the planet, would more than likely do the exact same thing.

With Father’s Day fast approaching, I think we should cast aside the frantic present-buying and truly acknowledge the value of fathers. The bond between fathers and daughters is unique, and more important than modern society is allowing us to believe. With the feminist push becoming stronger every day, the roles of men in the lives of women are becoming increasingly downplayed.

In terms of equality, choice, and mutual respect, this is a good thing. However, the father-daughter relationship is being swept along in the current. We are losing out because of it. It’s neither a myth nor an accident that women are attracted to men with similarities to their fathers. Our first example of a male relationship is the father-daughter bond, and it informs how we relate to other men. If you have a good relationship with your father, you’ll see him in all your male friends/flings/lovers. I will happily admit to the Oedipus Complex; I’m always stupefied when I realise how many character traits my latest flame tends to share with my own father.

Regardless of this, it’s becoming less acceptable for fathers to express the same concern for daughters that they have in bygone eras. It’s almost frowned upon for a father to police what his daughter wears, and he’s discouraged from telling her that her virginity is special, and should be given to the right person at the right time. That advice is deemed “not progressive”. A decade ago, it would have been common sense.

Ladies, let’s make an effort this Father’s Day to really appreciate the father-daughter bond. If you have a fantastic relationship with your dad, be thankful. If you don’t, think about ways to heal. If the temptation is to marginalise fathers from the lives of our daughters, just think of the grief Dwayne Smith is facing upon losing his. Female autonomy is not devalued by male influence; in the case of the father figure, it is enriched by it.

Image via Motherforlife.com