Fathers and Daughters

on Monday, April 28, 2008

by John Mayer

I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
But she's just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change
And I've done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I'm starting to see
Maybe it's got nothing to do with me

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Oh, you see that skin?
It's the same she's been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she's left
Cleaning up the mess he made

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Boys, you can break
You'll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without the warmth from
A womans good, good heart

On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too [x3]

I have always liked this John Mayer song because it recognises the role of fathers in the development of their daughters and reminds them of their important role and their great responsibility. I have highlighted some of the lyrics that especially does this.

Of course, both mothers and fathers are important for children but they have different roles and responsibilities. Sociologists and psychologists have found that mothers are nurturing, soothing and provide unconditional love. In contrast but in a complementary way, fathers provide security, discipline and physical/intellectual stimulation. Kids with involved fathers or father figures (can be stepfathers or anyone who plays the male role) tend to have more self-esteem, be more popular with peers, lack emotional problems, are able to emphatise with others and do better in areas of schooling, socialising and sports. Read more about this here.

A lot of that is common sense, I feel. Elsewhere, I have read that the father is especially important in giving a daughter her sense of self-worth which greatly influences her self confidence and her future interactions with other men. I was just discussing this with a good friend with two young daughters as he shared the trails and tribulations of being a good dad. One of his daughters is especially concerned about her physical beauty and she depends on her dad to give the reassurance that she needs.

In that context, I am so totally appalled to hear of the sad and tragic story of the Austrian woman who had been sexually abused by her father since she was 11 years old. This is an extreme case of betrayal of a daughter's trust. When she was 18, she was lured by the father into the basement, drugged and handcuffed. She has subsequently lived in the enclosed basement for the last 24 years and subject to repeated sexual abuse. She gave birth to 7 children. One child died soon after birth. Of the remaining 6 children, three were raised by her father and mother in their home but three others were left with her in the basement.

Even though she has now been rescued, I cannot imagine what help she and her children and even her mother (who is believed to have been unaware) will need to even be able to return to some level of functionality, let alone having their deep wounds to be healed.

I am sure justice and punishment will be meted out on the father and rightly so but I hope even greater efforts be made to help these victims recover from their ordeal.


Anonymous said...

That is indeed a horrifying story. An extreme one, but lessser versions of it go on all the time. I loved that song the first time I heard it.

On a limb with Claudia said...

I do love that song. I can tell you exactly where I was the first time I heard it. Parents are Gods to their children.

And some people are just evil. I don't believe the mother "never knew". Where's she been?? And I bet you $5 that she'll stand by her husband and not her child. I've just seen it happen too often.

The child was betrayed by both parents. Awful.

Dr.John said...

How could the mother live in the home and be unaware? Where did she think the children came from. Fathers have the possibility of misusing the trust placed in them.

Tai said...


Everyone has asked about the mother...I can't help but wonder, too.

Ruth D~ said...

I often thought that the men that oogle young girls need to think of protecting them rather than fantasizing. They are someone's daughters. But to abuse your actual daughter . . . :>(

jmb said...

Don't you believe that the mother did not know.
What a perfectly awful story. I can't believe that she was forced to live like that and her children too.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I thought it was a very special song giving recognition to a concept that is seldom spoken of in the media; 1.e. the role of the father/father figure. Fathers need to be reminded of their role.

I am reserving judgment on the mother. Police seem to accept at the moment that she was unaware and the victim is at the moment also saying the same thing.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

dr. john,
When the girl first disappeared, the parents were left a letter saying that she was running away to join a cult. Later three babies were found on their doorstep with a note from the girl saying she could not care for her children anymore. The mother is said to have believed this and was unaware the girl was imprisoned in the basement which is accessed through a secret door.

Whether the mother is involved or not, how does one help the victims get on with their lives. The daughter has spent most of her life being abused and half her life imprisoned. How does one deal with that.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I hate to say this but men need to be reminded about their responsibilities to women and to their own families. Couples should attend parenting classes together. Often it is just the mother who takes the initiative.

The mother knew, didn't know or didn't want to know, my thoughts are more for the daughter and her children. How will their lives ever be normal?

Janice Thomson said...

What a sad sad story Lgs. It's going to be a tough road ahead and a long haul for that woman and the children.
Hopefully they will make it.

geewits said...

That's a horrible story. That woman and her kids will never be normal. They will all need therapy for the rest of their lives except maybe the 5-year-old. And like most here, I believe the mother knew. It was her basement. Her house. Her daughter. She knew.

the walking man said...

No justification, or fence for the mother.; but the "home" was an apartment building the bastard owned. The other tenants were all his family, which helped him perpetrate this crime against his blood kin and all of humanity.

Good words Squirrel, keep bringing this sort of hate to light that it may be exposed.

Parents stop for a moment now and touch your children if you can somehow and be grateful for them. It is how you fight abuse. Send that love out to the world, the children will carry it if you give it them, no matter their age. No?



pissed off patricia said...

Would have been nice if my dad had heard that song a long time ago.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

It's going to be a very long road to recovery for any of them.

Almost everyone who commented thinks the mother knew. If so, that is just another sad aspect of this story.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

we'd like to tell children that there are no such thing as monsters but sadly there are. As you say, we should hug our children even right now.

Men need to be taught to be good fathers and be reminded. All men.

On a limb with Claudia said...

heya - I tagged you for the 6 word meme.... Still love me?

Police always say that about mothers because they cannot believe what is actually true. A lot of mothers view their daughters as ways to placate their husbands. I've just heard it too many times to believe otherwise.

Oh so dark - sorry.

A Happy Downtowner said...

LGS, I heard about that story while watching European news a few days ago and I was totally horrified. I believe it's the second huge scandal coming out of that country (not that it makes a difference). The poor woman and her children. I don't know what to think about the mother.

We had a dark secret came out of the proverbial closet a few years ago, and although it's not to that extent, my mother didn't know. She was in total despair finding out about it. I believe her.

As for the song and the importance of fathers in one's life, I so agree. I also wish my father would have read it and abide by it, instead he got a girlfriend when I was born (still with her too) and never supported me. In great part because of him, I have huge (and I mean huge) trust issues and can never do well enough because, in his eyes, it was never good enough and he never missed a chance to let us know that. Yeah... I wish he had read the song...

Anonymous said...

It is un-believable. All humans involved in this case are acting just - I can not express - like they are missing something, as if they all are in-complete.

When I heared the first news about it I could not believe, now this "man" has confessed and police say that "the case is nearly solved". So we have the facts - that's what police work is about, to get the facts.
It is no crime, it is a sin. It is beyond anything we have regardless our religious systems or denominations - it goes against the very idea of being a human.
The strongest word I have for this is "sin".

I would very much like to see the angel of death to come down and judge this man. I am no friend of the death penalty, because a state can not be allowed to kill.

This bastard should be burnt at the stake. Slowly.

heiresschild said...

hi LGS, i saw this story about the father molesting his daughter on t.v. we're living in such a perverted society these days. the daughter can overcome the emotional, mental, and physical traumas she suffered, but it'll take a lot of counseling and therapy for her to get there. i never knew my natural father's love, but i certainly know my Spiritual Father's love, and for that i'm grateful!

i do agree that fathers play a great role in their daughters' upbringing, especially in the security department. my daughter was 7 years old when her dad died, but i tried to give her that self-security and self-esteem so she wouldn't have issues when she got older.

Josie said...

This is the most unbelievably awful story I have ever heard, and all of the people involved are ruined for life. And there is no punishment that can fit the crime.

This reminds me very much of the childen who were abused and rescued from the sect in Texas. That is also a very incestuous situation, and I believe the men should be punished. So many of the little girls who were rescued have either had children, or are currently pregnant.

When I hear about these sorts of things, it makes me physically ill.

thethinker said...

In general, I dislike John Mayer's music, but this is a pretty good song.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Quite obviously every single commenter on this post does not have a high opinion of her mother. i will hang on to the hope that she was naive belief that she didn't realise what was going on.

And don't you have bees to keep and hives to tend instead of tagging me for another meme?

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

happy downtower,
Thank you. thank you. You are the first commenter to give the mother the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately I am beginning to think we could both be wrong.

I am so sorry about your dad. I hope you have been able to overcome the handicap he left you with.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

The word I would use is "evil" and I believe that evil is the surrender of oneself to sin. There must of course be punishment but yet I find no satisfaction in punishment knowing that it does little to help the victims.

I have always known that you are a strong woman. I am sorry both for the fact that you never knew your natural father and also that you were widowed so early. Still, despite this you have risen to the challenge of playing both the role of mother and father to your daughter. I have said it before but all good parents are heroes in my opinion but single parents doubly so.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I remember your post about the polygamists colony. I hope the authorities move with wisdom and compassion for the victims but move without political hinderance to cause justice to fall on those responsible.

When my niece got married, I did a video for her of her wedding day. When it came to choosing a background song, I thought that this John Mayer song was appropriate cause of the nice words.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
patterns of ink said...

As a father of 3 girls, I can only say... so true.

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