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“4) He was honest: Obviously, how honest and about what depends on the ages of your children, but he would always answer any questions I brought to him. When I brought up topics that, in retrospect, were maybe a little embarrassing or alarming, he’d treat them like perfectly reasonable things for a dad to be talking about with his daughter — be it bad gas or bisexuality or overly adult literature.
5) He made time for us: My dad and I went for a walk together every night when I was in high school. Summer or winter, rain (or snow) or shine. Sometimes we’d just go around the block. It was nice.
6) We ate dinner together: Every night at dinner, we’d talk about things we were reading, what we were doing in school, or even the weather. We had a set of encyclopedias, and my sister and I would look things up to settle arguments.
7) We did things together: My dad’s very musical, and so is my sister. They’d play the piano and sing in the evening, and sometimes, I’d play too. I played stand-up bass, and my sister plays violin, so we’d play string quartets with my dad covering the other two parts on the piano. We’d also go outside and look at planets through his telescope. He taught me how to program and my sister how to take photographs. Looking back, it feels like he involved us in pretty much all of his hobbies.
8) He was there: One of the things I loved as a kid was the feeling of all of us in the house, doing our own thing. We had school and activities, and both our parents worked and were involved in local politics and other things. But even if we weren’t together all the time, when I look back, it feels like we were. I think the trick is having those touchstones like dinner and books and walks that add up to a feeling of unity.
And don’t worry if you make mistakes. I was far from a perfect kid, and I’m far from a perfect adult. Sometimes, I wish my parents had been more strict with me, and, like anyone, I have memories of them saying things that hurt or were unfair. But don’t get bogged down in that. Go for the broad strokes. Try to be good to your daughters. Let them know that you love them for who they are. Be there when they need you, as much as you can. You’ll do fine.” —u/Podaroo