I’m With Her (From the Father of a Daughter)


My daughter is a beautiful, glorious, shimmering six-year old natural wonder. She’s stronger and sillier and more compassionate than most adults I know, and somehow I’ve won the cosmic lottery to get to be called “Daddy” by her. It’s a gift I’d never have been able to deserve and one I’ll never repay. It’s the greatest joy of my life.

This morning I came down the stairs and saw her curled up in a blanket on the couch, her hair wild and unruly from a night of deep, joyful, dream-filled six-year old sleep. She turned, and as she saw me she gave me a little, squint-eyed smile and I returned it.

I thought about Donald Trump’s disgusting boasts; those hateful, violent, vicious words about women.

I thought about the other men who justify them.
I thought about the women who excuse them.
I thought about the evangelists suddenly having moral amnesia and defending them.
I thought about the politicians who are enabling them.
I thought about Twitter bullies amplifying them.
I thought about my family members and neighbors and friends who are co-signing them with their votes and their dollars.

And I realized that all these people are not with my daughter.

Donald Trump is not with her.
The Christian Right is not with her.
The GOP is not with her.
The ol’ boy’s club is not with her.
The patriarchal system is not with her.
Those who minimize and explain away misogyny and sexism and vile “locker room banter” aren’t with her.
Those who would control her body are not with her.
Those who would make sexual assault a pre-existing condition are not with her.

But I am with her.

I treasure her life in all its delicate, original, wonderful glory, and I will not allow her to be treated as less-than, to be seen as an object, to be told that she is expendable. I will not let her grow-up in country that determines her worth for her based on her physicality or her adherence to some narrow definition of what a woman is. I will not her be spoken of with disdain or contempt, especially not by her President.

And because I am with her, I will brave every social media attack, every awkward family dinner conversation, and every cold stare from neighbors—because she is worth that. She is worth every lost Twitter follower, every dollar of withdrawn support, every accusation of being “too political”. They are all sustainable losses I gladly shoulder.

Because at the end of this life, I am not responsible to politicians or readers or friends or acquaintances or distant family members. I am responsible to that blanket-wrapped, wild-haired, squint-eyed, buoyant, beautiful, sparkling little girl on our couch who calls me “Daddy”; the one who runs to me when the storm comes and explodes into my arms at the bus stop and lays her head down on my chest when she gets overwhelmed with the things that overwhelm six-year olds.

Because I am with her, I will never allow those who are not, to be louder in this world than I am. That’s what good Daddies do. They scare away the monsters who try to take away deep, joyful, dream-filled sleep from little girls. I will defend those dreams with everything I have.

But just because she is my daughter doesn’t mean she is any more deserving of dignity and respect and protection than any other little girl in any other blanket on any other couch. They all are, and so even though I am Daddy to only one of them, I speak for all of them. I say the things I wish more mommies and daddies were saying right now, what I wish more Christians were saying right now.

My daughter won’t be six forever, but when she’s nine and seventeen and thirty-four and fifty-two, I want her to know that she is worth standing up for, that she is not less-than, that she is a natural wonder who blessed my life with her presence. I want her to have a life that is as boundless as she is now.

And I hope she’ll know without any doubt, that I love her, that I am for her—that I am with her.


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48 thoughts on “I’m With Her (From the Father of a Daughter)

  1. Thank you, John….you echo my thoughts each time I look at my beautiful ten year-old daughter whom I am teaching to be a strong, independent woman who can one day stand on her feet.

    The independent non-denominational congregation I grew up in professed the teachings that women were somehow “less-than” — we could prepare communion but couldn’t serve it. We could go to bible college and get a degree in a field to assist in ministry, but only men could be pastors. And we could sit on the church board as its’ secretary, but when it came time to attend an elders’ leadership meeting, well, that was only for the elder men of the church.

    I only fought the “good old boys” for so long before I realized it was futile…but after marrying a man of the Catholic faith and discovering the Lutheran teachings as a compromise between Catholicism and my faith upbringing, I’m finally at peace. I am currently a Lay Worship Leader who is discerning whether God is calling me to full-time ministry through ordination. I’ve found the true meaning of what being a woman of faith is all about — serving God, loving others and treating them as we want to be treated, and relying on the love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    I love showing my daughter examples of strong women and teaching her that she can do and be anything she sets her mind to, and I love that she already “gets it” when she sees Donald Trump on TV and remarks that he is rude to women and that we don’t need someone like that leading our county. Like you, I am responsible to my daughter — as well as to all of the other young women we know who never should feel like they are not “enough.” We are enough for God and that is all that matters! Thank you for all that you do to build others up instead of tearing them down.

    • I think this should be a wake up call for we who call ourselves Christians the Church has been leading us toward bigotry and hate when its all about love and acceptance being Christ like and spreading God’s word Thank you for your view point John Jim Mcgee

  2. I didn’t have a father growing up and did not have your daughters experience but I think I just did at 61. Thank you for loving her and for showing me a older lady what a daddy’s love feels like and sounds like. Thank you,

    • So beautiful said DMJORDAN,
      along with John’s beautiful and articulate and loving article on his beautiful little girl, you also brought me to tears.
      Let’s pray that this madness will be over soon.
      Blessings to you and all women and men who stand side by side with each other for the greater good that God has called us all to..

  3. I didn’t have a father growing up and did not have your daughters experience but I think I just did . Thank you for loving her and for showing me a older lady what a daddy’s love feels like and sounds like. Thank you,

  4. He’s with a woman who enables a womanizer and accused rapist.

    Wonderful choice.

    I’m with policy that doesn’t advocate the killing of babies in the womb. More little girls would be alive today if Republican policy had prevailed.

    Think about the bigger picture, John and not just your family. Besides, Trump won’t hurt your daughter, and all of those Christian leaders have women in their families who they care about. You’re no better than them.

    Your misrepresentations and lies are disgusting.

    • “He’s with a woman who enables a womanizer and accused rapist.”

      You’re talking about Melania here, right Benny? Because Trump is a self-proclaimed womanizer and there are currently unsettled rape allegations against him.

    • Trump is guilty of sex with under-age girls. Lawsuit is pending with a victim and witness ready to testify. It baffles me why more people do not know this and are still willing to excuse his talk when he has actually followed through with criminal behavior.

      • Trump is also under investigation for racketeering (Trump University), bribing a state’s Attorney General (Pam Bondi), and the Attorney General of NY has launched an investigation into the misuse of money donated to the Trump Foundation, which Trump diverted to his own personal use.

        I laughed my guts out when Trump told Hillary she’d be in jail, because it is looking as if Trump is the one who will be in jail.

        What I find astonishing is that anyone who claims to be a Christian can overlook all the evil that is Trump. As for liking his policies, what policies? All of them have been debunked by experts.

        But some people prefer to cling to their bigotry, prejudice, racism, and xenophobia.

        • Thank you Gloriamarie, as always, you get right to the point and express ideas so well. I appreciate your positive feedback in the face of the occasional outburst from someone like benny (the troll).

          • Thank you, Grumpy. I try to be honest and sincere, my opinions based on evidence, facts, and truth. Not lies, prejudice or rumor.

            My academic training taught me as early as junior high, that I can’t have an opinion on something unless I have actual real evidence to support it. That was emphasized throughout high school, college, and seminary.

    • He is myopic. While his love for his daughter is great, you are most likely right in thinking he is pro abortion and not pro life. He singles out Trump and the GOP, but ignores the greatest womaniser and serial rapist, Bill Clinton. And not a mention of his wife who condoned decades of sexual aggression by her husband, even deriding his victims. Is Bill with your daughter, John? Or Hillary, his enabler and partner in crime? This is not disgust about sexual predators, it is just bashing Trump and the GOP. So sad!

      • “it is just bashing Trump and the GOP.”
        Considering most of the GOP is doing all it can to shut Trump down and find a better candidate—replacing Trump with Pence is the most recent bashing—and it is coming from his own party!

    • “I’m with policy that doesn’t advocate the killing of babies in the womb. More little girls would be alive today if Republican policy had prevailed.”

      I do not know why you are so upset when history plainly shows that Catholics like you and your fundie friends are directly responsible for about 60,000,000 of the fetuses that were aborted since Roe vs. Wade. Stupid troll that you are, I bet you do not even know that history. Working in the fields of archaeology and history, I know that story and why Surgeon General C. Everett Koop withdrew his support from the Pro-Life Movement in disgust.

    • P.S. Benny. You are getting all bent out of shape for no good reason. It is only about three weeks until the election. Let us both take a close look at Nate Silver’s latest numbers:


      See? Trump has already lost the election to Hillary. She is so far ahead that no one has even a remote chance of catching her in the electoral college. You had might as well be working to prevent the tides from rising or to prevent the sun from setting.

      Sit down, chill, and have a beer or Coke.

    • And you sir, are brain washed if you can not see the love and compassion he holds for his child and through her, for all children. If republican policy focused on living and caring for the babies and mothers who are already.here and in need of support abortion would wither on the vine and babies would be loved by both parents and welcomed into safety and security. As it stands women are dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t. Have the abortion and be vilified and criminalized; have the baby and struggle in poverty and be vilified as a lazy welfare benefit sucking slut. Some love and compassion there. And above all , the hypocrisy when right wing nut jobs who so vehemently denounce sins they secretly enjoy…. so go look after your own pens and quit.trying to grab women by the genitals!

    • In this week of hurt, disappointment, fear, disbelief and all the other emotions I’m feeling, I had the blessing of finding your site. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your writings and for being able to so eloquently put into words all that I am thinking and feeling. You have brought so much comfort by writing exactly how I’m feeling and it helps to know there are others experiencing and understanding what this has and is doing to many of us. Thank you more than you will ever know!

    • You’re wrong about something. HRC remained married. That doesn’t mean she enabled a womanizer. The truth is you and I have no idea why she’s still married to a man who betrayed their marital vows. One possibility, however, is she chose to forgive him. That would not be enabling a womanizer, but rather, forgiving an adulterer…something very Christ like. Interestingly, Trump epitomizes the term “womanizer”.
      Thankful John has the courage to speak truth and breathe Jesus back into Christianity.

  5. How lucky you and your daughter are—she to have such a loving father, who cares about how others treat her throughout her life; and you to see how unique and wonderful she is, and how worthy to be seen and treated as a being equal to anyone else. Much joy to both of you.

  6. John,

    I do not agree with everything you say as you well know. But this post is beautiful. You need to be sure you save it somewhere to give to your daughter when she is older.. frame it and give it to her as a gift..

    Just wait till you have a grandbaby someday… you will not know what to do with all that emotion and joy that just miraculously enlarges your heart.

  7. The double standard is disgusting. Trump bashing. GOP bashing. Not a word about serial rapist, Bill Clinton. Is his abuse of women OK? Is Hillary’s abuse of his victims OK? Disgusting.

  8. I am a Christian white man in the south. In my opinion, the fact that Trump has made it this far is because white, misogynistic men are grasping onto the last bit of power before their “system” slips away . A majority of people who look like me have brushed off everything Trump has said for “policy” sake. I too, look at my 9 year old daughter and know she expects nothing less than for the men in her life to protect her and stand up for her basic rights. But my 12 year old son is also watching this election, and he needs to know that mature men don’t use dehumanizing banter in any room . We use teachable moments with them, but never dreamed I’d have to say, “What came out of this presidential candidates mouth is described as sexual assault kids, that’s another reason mom and dad aren’t voting for this man.” By no means do I think Trump will win this election, but a lot of damage has been done. May your voice and vote be heard to continue progress in this great country.

  9. I was sexually abused for 3 years by my best friends father. Age 11-14. Both of my parents are pro Trump, and it makes me want to cry and never stop. I have 2 daughters of my own, and I will ALWAYS stand with them. Loudly and proudly. Thank you for saying what needs to be said.

  10. Thank you John for another wonderful post. You are an inspiration to those of us out here who read your posts and find something to think about each time, or are encouraged, or have an old scar gently soothed—I always get something from your posts, so try never to miss one!

  11. Absolutely beautiful! Your daughter is so very fortunate to have a daddy like you. Thank you for your daily posts….they have been a great source of strength to me daily during these trying times in our country.

  12. I believe what you said John is exactly how God feels about all his Children.
    Unfortunately, there are too many men out there and women who do not believe in God’s unconditional love, or the love of Jesus Christ and the power of Holy Spirit., they diss him just like they diss Hillary and any woman or man who disagrees with them.
    You account of your love and tenderness for your daughter brought me to tears and I must share it to the whole of the public realm.
    Your little girl, who is very beautiful by the way., is very fortunate to have a Dad who is so caring, loving and is the true embodiment of what a Father should be. Thank you for sharing this with all of us.
    Keep on keepin on, and ministering to our hearts., maybe some of your Ministry will sing in to the Benni’s, John, and the other naysayers. Blessings to you and your family always.

  13. “Because I am with her, I will never allow those who are not, to be louder in this world than I am. That’s what good Daddies do.”

    Thank you John. For all the little girls of the world.

  14. Nice to hear these supportive words. Many women have been so disappointed by the lack of support from the men in our lives that we have made the choice to protect ourselves and our children without male assistance.

  15. From a woman, the mother of a grown daughter, and grandmother of a beautiful Latina- thank you. You express what is in my heart so much more eloquently than I can.

  16. So poignant and sweet. You are so inspirational to all of us. You are touching so many lives with your heartfelt and meaningful writings. God bless you and your family.

  17. Well said! I always believed that it was common knowledge that greatness is the superlative of goodness. One of the most disturbing trends that has produced the age of Trump is a disassociation of the terms. Trump and his ilk seem to think an individual or nation can be great without any commitment to goodness. All of our children are endangered by this twisted logic and those who seek to excuse or justify the depths of evil represented by Trump and his fans.

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