A wonderful book about Fathers and Daughters
By Rick & Shana Morrison
Men, the world needs your help to raise healthy, empowered and self-reliant young women. We need all the manly bravery and intellect you own because fathers, more than anyone else, set the course for a daughter’s life.
The relationship a daughter has with her father is one that has a profound and lasting impact on her life. The dissolution of a family structure due to divorce often changes the dynamic of the father-daughter relationship and it can be a challenge to stay connected.
My decision to write the children’s book The Hug Store (with my young daughter as co-author) was borne out of a desire to keep our connection strong and emotionally alive on the heels of so much change in her life due to the dissolution of my marriage to her mother.
Research has shown that fathers play a vital role in the lives of their daughters while married, but it is often this relationship that ends up changing the most after divorce.
There’s no denying that a woman’s relationship with her father is one of the most important in her life. The quality of that connection – good, damaged, or otherwise – powerfully impacts both dads and daughters in a multitude of ways.
A father’s effect on his daughter’s psychological wellbeing and sense-of-self is far-reaching. A daughter’s identity, for instance, is often connected to how her father views her and how she views his relationship with her mother as well as with his own mother. Children are like sponges. They soak up the experiences in their midst, both seen and unseen. It is especially those unseen energies in the form of emotional currents between people that children feel, emulate and integrate into their view of the world and their place in it. It was through the writing of The Hug Store that I learned the importance of the unseen energies behind hugging, bonding with family members, and the power of a deep connection with your daughter.
Simply put, a girl stands a better chance of becoming a self-confident woman if she has a close bond with her father.
It was this core concept that fueled my desire to somehow creatively connect with my daughter during the months and years after her mother and I no longer lived under the same roof. So the seed had been planted and then one day, my daughter offered a ray of sunshine to help make it grow & blossom through her child-like simplicity and innocent nature; and it all revolved around the simple act of hugging! Let me explain….
During a family visit that my daughter Shana and I took one Thanksgiving, she revealed a simple yet profound insight surrounding a seemingly normal family dynamic, namely hugging. When Shana and I arrived at my parent’s home for the holiday celebration, my Father asked Shana for a hug since he hadn’t seen her in several months and missed her. Shana told Grandpa that she was “all out of hugs and needed to go to the store to get some more!”
What transpired thereafter was an incredible journey that Shana and I embarked upon, which offered me a unique, playful and creative opportunity to connect emotionally with my daughter through the writing of our very first book together. From the literary content to the illustrations and even the cover, Shana and I talked, giggled, envisioned, co-created even voiced different ideas about the characters and going to the store to buy more hugs when the supply has run low.
We all know that feeling of being emotionally depleted, right? But how many of us actually articulate it for fear of hurting someone’s feelings.
Through her innocence and authentic nature, Shana revealed to me the importance of speaking up, setting boundaries and looking for creative “win-win” solutions. As the months progressed, the playful tale that unfolded between us helped to enrich our sense of love for one another, mutual respect and most importantly, connection!
Divorce can be one of the biggest causes of stress that we will ever experience. Sometimes we go through things without realizing that they are indeed trauma until someone else speaks of it or we become aware of it on our own. These seemingly traumatic experiences in hindsight are often disguised blessings. Through the writing of our book, not only did Shana find an outlet for prolific expression and a fun way to be with her ‘Daddy’, she also helped me to process my feelings about divorce and gain a deeper understanding of the importance of the father-daughter dynamic.
Let’s face it, sometimes you may not understand your daughter if you’re a male. If so don’t hesitate to ask for assistance and/or advice from your family, friends, or even a clinical Practitioner.
Start reading books about raising children (The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefali is highly recommended), or read books that are about how to raise a girl if you’re a single father. Search on the internet for how-to articles about that, and start learning from others’ experiences.
You can even pick up a copy of The Hug Store book and read it with your daughter and share that same joy Shana and I felt while writing it! Experience the hugs for yourself here: Bit.ly/TheHugStoreBook