On assignment last week, I visited a local park to cover a sixth-grade graduation party. I arrived early and sat on a bench. Stretched out in front of me was a harmonious view of grassy, green fields.
It was a beautiful June day. The muggies of summer hadn’t hit yet, so it was enjoyable to sit and absorb some vitamin D.
I took in the scene. Volunteers were setting up the fields, and out in the distance I noticed a man with a bat hitting pop ups and grounders to his offspring.
He shouted, “get down” when the ball went past his child. With each swing of the bat he offered words of encouragement.
“Okay, get ready!”
I then heard him cheer “Whoo!” when one landed in the glove.
Sporting stylish sunglasses, a neon green top and shorts, his daughter’s long brown hair swayed back and forth as she ran after each ball.
“Awww, Sidney,” he laughed when she missed an easy ball.
This scene is often associated with fathers and sons.
Tossing the ball back and forth is a way men have bonded since the game of baseball was invented in 1839 by Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, New York.
Grown men have been known to sob when Ray Kinsella asks his father in the movie Field Of Dreams, “Hey…Dad? Wanna have a catch?”
It was refreshing to see baseball as a way for a father and daughter to bond as well.
A healthy relationship between father and daughter is paramount in how a girl relates to members of the opposite sex.
That’s not to say there aren’t wonderful parents out there raising successful, healthy women without a man present. And yes, I’m aware not all women will have a relationship with a man. Thankfully, many different types of relationships exist.
In general, however, a girl’s relationship with her father, or father figure, often determines how she will relate to men throughout her life.
If ignored, a girl might feel the desire to seek out attention from her dad. That trend may follow her into adulthood. She might be perceived as “boy crazy” or constantly try to please men, forgetting her own wants and needs.
I, for one, am thankful my daughter Vivien has a dad, who this past weekend took her out for ice cream, then together they watched the World Cup at a local eatery. She was bubbling over with excitement about her special daddy/daughter time afterwards.
It doesn’t have to be a game of catch. It could be painting toenails, going out on a dinner date, taking in a concert, playing a board game, hitting golf balls, or hitting the batting cages.
Those small moments add up, they make a difference.
I watched as the father and his daughter walked away from the park. With glove in hand, he also carried her pink backpack.
My smile broadened. Sidney might not realize it now, but I’m banking her dad will be there many more times to hold her hand, whether he’s wearing a baseball glove or not.
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