Raising Daughters: A Crazy Cop’s Guide

On National Daughters Day I posted on Facebook a lovely picture of me and my two daughters. Of course, there were the expected shots by some of my friends, giving thanks that the two beautiful young women gained their looks from their mom. I’m thankful for that myself.

But also, there were several comments about how I’d better have my shotgun ready and similar such statements related to a father’s obligation to protect his daughters. Those remarks brought back many great memories, and I thought I’d share some of them with you.

Having a Great Example to Follow

I was given the best example to follow as I watched my father protect my sisters as the boys began coming around. Dad never left any doubt in any of those boys that he was not one to be trifled with—and he wasn’t. It was clear to all that you didn’t park in his driveway, you never pulled up and honked, expecting his daughter to come out to you, and you wouldn’t dare bring her home late. Every young man who knocked on our door learned to respect—if not fear—the man of the house.

Of course, I had the additional edge of having been a cop in South L.A.—that in and of itself elicits a measure of respect from teenage boys. That I was always armed—and a bit of a gun nut—didn’t hurt, either.

The Critical Role of Fathers

But long before there were boys coming around, the girls had their daddy. There are always conversations about boys needing to be raised by men, the premise supported by staggering statistics showing that the overwhelming population of men in prison has not been raised by their fathers.

What is seldom discussed is the importance of father-daughter relationships. How girls who love their dads are more likely to have healthy, stable relationships later in life. How they are less likely to engage in dangerous behavior while going through those awkward teenage years. And how they are more likely to be successful adults in their professional and personal lives.

Daughters are the Best!

A team effort to keep a newborn calf alive.

Having daughters is the most wonderful thing a man can experience, but only if that relationship is built on a solid foundation of love and respect. When they are adults, add in the friendship.

You gain those things by spending quality time together, whether it’s their favorite activity or yours, or even an all-hands-on-deck overnight effort to save a newborn calf.

During their early years, we played house or school, we caught lizards, we swung on a tire hung from Papa’s tree. I spent countless hours reading them their favorite books over and over again.

Whatever either of them wanted to do, I was game. They once painted a clown face on me and crowned me with a colorful wig.

When they were teenagers, it wasn’t uncommon to catch me helping them straighten their hair during the hectic mornings before school.

In their formative years, my daughters and I spent countless hours riding horses, rodeoing, playing sports, fishing, hunting, and shooting.

Not only did I teach my girls at an early age how to shoot, but they were also involved in an NRA junior marksmanship program where they learned competitive shooting techniques and honed their skills.

First Dates

Once again, following my father’s footsteps, each of my daughters was allowed to date once she turned sixteen, and their first dates were with me.

They learned how a gentleman should treat them: he should open their doors, pull out their chairs, and treat them with respect and kindness. Any man worth dating twice will give his undivided attention to them, not share it with his phone.

Big Dog, Little Dog

When the boys started coming around, the girls warned them against pulling up and honking. “My dad will kill you.” The boys were to come to the door where they would be invited in and “lightly” interrogated while they waited for their dates.

One boy was six foot five. I asked, and he told me. I casually mentioned that I was six foot six. He didn’t dare argue. Another boy, one who spent a lot of time in the gym, answered my question about how much he could bench press: “Two seventy-five, sir.” I told him I could put up three hundred.

Of course, neither of those things was true.

I came home one evening to find several boys and girls at the house hanging out with one of my daughters. I zeroed in on one of them, a stout Hispanic with an easy smile. He wore a black cap (backward) with “Compton” embroidered across it in bold, gothic lettering. I said, “Dude, I’ve spent more time in Compton than you have.” That was true.

After returning home from a day of branding cattle, I told another boy who had been hanging around that I had cut the nuts off a dozen calves that morning. His eyes popped open. I smiled and said, “And afterward, I sharpened my knife.” That was also true, and the point seemed to have resonated with the young man.

Daughters Grow up Too Fast

Two wonderful men made the final cuts and lucked out to marry my daughters. When each asked for my blessings, I gave it to them with confidence. I also assured each of them that I would never be too old, too fat, too worn out, nor too broken down to protect my girls.

Not that either of my wonderful sons-in-law needed to hear that message, but it’s just something a father has to say. It’s something had to say.

Today my girls are grown-ass women—to use their own terminology—but they are still my little girls. They will always be my baby girls!

One just dropped by as I was writing this, she and my grandson significantly brightening my day. The other dropped by two nights ago, and seldom does a week pass by that we don’t get together. I have a wonderful relationship with each, and the time we spend together is invaluable, moments I will cherish every day that the good Lord gives me.

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Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you will share it with your family and friends.


26 thoughts on “Raising Daughters: A Crazy Cop’s Guide

  1. Thanks for reminding me of one of my favorite poems.
    “A son is your son until he takes a wife, but a daughter is your daughter for the rest of your life”
    I’ve got 2 sons with kids of their own living in Hawaii, i hear from them on occasion. One daughter and granddaughter who have been staying with us while their house 20 minutes away is being built.

  2. Danny, this was your best story yet. We loved that you told about your Dad & raising the girls. We are very proud that you carried on the traditions of our family. Dad also loved your story!

  3. Danny, what a great illustration of what fatherhood and families are all about. As men and fathers, we all, on rare occasions, will make a mistake. A father’s love and a child’s forgiveness will correct those rare mistakes and will soon by forgotten by everyone. God bless you and your whole family.
    P.S. I was relieved when I read about your grandchildren. I was afraid that you might have utilized your gelding knife prematurely on a future son-in-law.

  4. Great story. Reminds me of the time one of my daughter’s boy friends kept coming by after she had broken-up with him and repeatedly told him to stay away. Well, not taking “No” for an answer, one afternoon he knocked at the door again wanting to make up with her, only this time, I opened the door. I was just getting ready to leave for work and was holstering my off-duty weaon. I stepped out, closed the front door behind me, put my hand around his shoulder and softly spoke to him as I walked him to the sidewalk. Conversation went something like this: “Bryan, my daughter doesn’t want to see you anymore, and that means that I DON”T WANT TO SEE YOU ANYMORE EITHER! In fact , I don’t want to ever see you on this street either (pointing to each end of the block). Got it? You know what I do, so don’t make me come home from my job…okay? Have a good day.”
    And he never came by again…that I know of.

      1. You raised your girls right. It shows…in their lives….in their relationships with others…and in their relationship with you.
        There is NO bigger accomplishment. NONE.
        YOU WIN !!!

  5. Ah yes, the absolute joy of raising daughters. I have two who are 15 months apart and I still blame them for the premature graying of my hair whilst they were in Junior and High school, but I wouldn’t trade those years for anything.
    I also took them both out for their first date on their 16th birthday and they still talk about it 40 years later. They always knew that they could ask me anything about anything and they would get nothing but a blunt, non B.S. answer.
    Now, 10 grand kids and one great grand son later, how could I have anything but pride in them. I do wish these years would slow down though.
    Good post as usual Danny, this one was superb.

  6. Wonderful story. You and my brother have something in common in the way you raised the daughters. He did the classic “cleaning guns” bit on the kitchen table while his daughter brought forth each boy to be introduced. She married an Army ranger and has three small children.
    Alas no kids for me and hearing stories like yours makes me think I missed out on something.

  7. From toddler to training wheels… then a steering wheel. Went by so fast. Brenna still loves hiking, fishing, etc. now the granddaughter is 10 and I get to see it all over.

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