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Woman's home companion
Vol. LXIV, No. 6 (1937)

Downey, Fairfax
The father of the bride,   p. 21 PDF (725.8 KB)

Page 21

& ~
1NHE HASN'T much to do at the wed-
'7 ding. A brief moment is his when the
question arises, who giveth this woman to be
married to this man. But his part calls for
only a gesture, after which he fades into the
background where fathers, at weddings, cer-
ainly belong.
I have begun to look into the future to-
ward that extremely probable occasion. Am
1, as the father of a fourteen-year-old girl, he-
ing rather premature? I don't think so. M1
role before a wedding will require time,
thought and effort.
I don't mean merely saving up enough to
finance trousseau, wedding and reception. al-
though that is a point. Nor do I want to as-
sume duties accomplished by the other side
of the family with an efficiency and understanding I
could never match.
M\ daughter's (and her mother's) attitude toward
me have made me aware that I am already serving as a
preliminary course for the former in the art of getting
along with a man-a sort of laboratory experiment, a
human guinea pig inoculated with matrimony and
kept for observation. During some of my difficult
moments I intercept a glance between the two which
says more plainly than words, "Men are like that.
You just have to make the best of them." On the
other hand when I manage to rise to some occasion
handsomely, the glance translates into: "Men can
be rather nice when they want to be. It's a pity it
isn't oftener.'
While such virtues as I may possess are generously
emphasized for the edification of the young, my faults
are seldom glossed over. Sometimes this braces and
spurs me on to higher things. At other times I allow
myself the luxury of a slump, for isn't it well for my
daughter to realize that men have their downs as well
as their ups, and that a wise wife, taking the bitter
with the sweet, strikes an average, arrives at a happy
medium and puts up with it?
But it is the active side of my task that takes some
doing. A precious companionship can come from de-
veloping a mutual interest in the arts, in sports, in all
that father and daughter can do together.
Not only is a companionship like this a constant joy
and pleasure to the father and, I trust, to the daughter
but mutual interests are one of the strongest founda-
tions for a happy marriage. So the more interests
the two sexes share, the merrier the marriage-bell.
I want my daughter to attain a fair profi-
ciency in several sports rather than a mastery
of one. The chances of a couple enjoying
their recreation together will be that much
greater. Thus would be avoided the problem
of the husband who plays golf and the wife
who doesn't; the girl who loves to skate
and the man whose feet get cold; the wife fond
of riding and the husband who shies at a horse.
Similarly I am striving to give my daughter
a taste for literature and the other arts; a
taste which, while it will have favorites, will
still be general; an open-mindedness which
will regard new fields as worthy adventures.
Reading together is a grand thing, I know,
though I remain a hermit at it. I hope my
daughter and the man of her choice will play
music or sing together. Especially I recom-
mend that lovely duet from lolanthe, "Thou
the tree and I the flower," because I believe
that love is or ought to be like that. I have
Father fades into the background
taught my child to sing the soprano part very sweetly!  other
Now I realize that I must go further. Happy is the  Go
bride with an active sincere and intelligent interest in light
her husband's career. But how is my child to know at  with
this stage what calling wxill concern her? General  I beli
knowledge, while worthy, is an Unsatisfactory answer.  the o
But when a young niece of mine asked me: 'How   let it
do you make boys like YoU?' I told her: "You get  suade
them talking about themselves."                 To ha
I SHALL pass along the same advice to my    one \
aughter. She will profit from it in more ways
than one. She will learn the tastes and ambitions of  sweet
men she likes. After she is engaged, she can go on and  think
learn more of her fianc6s chosen work and discover  other
how she can take part in the partnership, the closest of  me
any that exists, which she is entering.         is one
Her knowledge will enable them to take counsel to-  marri
gether; will let her give valuable encouragement and  emph
aid. It will help to level the barrier which separates
home and office and sometimes makes them two con-
flicting worlds which know nought of each other.
I want my daughter to learn how to keep accounts,  do th
how to type and to perform other clerical services  dares
which may be most useful. A secretary's job? Surely; doing
yet those tasks may well have a home extension and  her o
be the better for it. My daughter, knowing child of  neith
this age, has seen movies and read stories about wives  funct
versus secretaries. I shall try to show her how their  cept,
plots need never be woven into her life.        home
Along with the vocation of the man she marries, I  marri
would have her share the enjoyment of his avocation,  but
his hobbies. Am I placing too great a burden on her?  there
My role before a wedding will require thought
I/I ~ I>
-~ ~          ~L2
I deny that I am. I am encouraging in her
that adaptability which, I confess, comes far
more naturally to her sex than to mine.
In one way or another I seem to be plan-
ning to cram a good deal of information into
a young head and of course niy efforts are
only extracurricular. Her school is an excel-
lent one, a leader in that remarkable advance
Irom the day when female seminaries, as they
were quaintly called, were considered radical.
\1y daughter's education is and shall con-
oinue to be thorough. If this rules out pros-
pective bridegrooms who disapprove of "girls
who know too much," I call that a clear gain.
The lad I'd like to see waiting in the chancel
is the sort who realizes that knowledge gives
an ability to see both sides of a question-in
words, tolerance.
ne are the days when sweet Alices wept with de-
when a Ben Bolt gave them a smile or trembled
fear at his frown, and I don't mourn them. But
eve that the pendulum has swung rather too far
ther way. It is my hope that my daughter may
swing back toward center. I am trying to per-
her to stand by opinions but abandon prejudices.
ave and to hold the essential independence of her
yet not to forswear that dear dependence upon
ho proves worthy of it. Ben Bolt's Alice pos-
I that endearing quality. That's why she was
The trouble was she overdid it. As I say, I
that girls today are inclined to go too far in the
direction. I like to feel that my daughter finds
ependable, that she counts on me. That for me
of life's richest rewards. Certainly the man she
es \vill feel the same way. And, let it be strongly
asized, vice versa.
A CHILD is ordered around a lot and at times I
etect a certain impatience in my daughter with
is and do that, if you please. Her attitude de-
she kxks forward to the day when she will be
some bossing. But she must wait for children of
wn and not use a husband as the target. No,
er bossing nor being bossed. Reverting to my
ion as an example, which speaks louder than pre-
I trust she is observing that the watchword in her
is the wisdom of the sage who saith that with a
ed couple it should always be, not "You must,
I think we should." And the important word
is  -we.
I ask obedience of my daughter, but not
blind obedience. Hers to reason why, if she
wishes, and mine to explain why. Neither shall
I counsel submissiveness in a wife; rather the
yielding one to another, the cooperation, the
give-and-take of that equal partnership which
marriage is.
If my daughter reads these words shall I
be making her preoccupied too soon with mat-
ters matrimonial? Shall I be putting ideas into
her head?
Of course not. They are already there and
I am content that they should be. For ". . .
matrimony . . . is an honourable estate . . .
not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or
lightly; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly,
soberly  . . . "
So it is advisedly that I look into the
future and that I share in the divine right
given parents of shaping the clay and mold-
ing it to heart's desire.

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