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A Dad’s Dream: Noboby Puts Baby in a Corner

Confession…I have not always given my full attention when my wife, a well-read news and research junkie, gets excited about some information she has discovered and asks me to take a look. It’s not that I don’t care; it’s just that she gets a lot more excited about it than I do. This, week, however, I have to say her info sharing caught my eye and made me think.

A Harvard study came out that the U.K. publication Garzia Daily called “The Daughter Effect: Fathers of Girls ‘More Likely to Hire Women At Senior Level.” I admittedly did not read the Harvard research paper as my wife did. (Of course, she immediately searched for the source, document, which I have posted here in case you want the details.)

The summary in the online Garzia pub sufficed for me. Researchers Paul Gompers and Sophie Wang, who studied venture capital firms, found that organizations where senior partners had more daughters were more likely to hire female partners; and consequently, those firms were more successful.

As many of you know, I have been a stay-at-home dad for years. I have not hired people in a professional setting; however, I have seen my own transformation from being raised as an only child in a traditional home – mom at home and dad at work – to being full-time parent to two girls and two boys. At first, I did not think I could be an at-home dad, let alone to girls.

I fondly remember, however, the day my first girl, then almost five, wanted to play basketball with the older kids across the street. She walked over, as my wife and I watched her, not more than 100 feet away. They ignored her as older, teen kids sometimes do. She ran back to the house and I was there ready to comfort her, but she pushed past me, grabbed her own basketball and ran back, determined to play. These kids, at least 7-to-10 years her senior had more natural coordination, but they played around her, and with one eye watched out for her. She was on the court.

Over the years, all the kids have shown me that they have resolve beyond my imagination, sometimes predictably showing up and often times surprising me when they extend themselves beyond my own comfort zone at that age. I want to shelter them from heartache and disappointment; but when they have not gotten a part in a play or made a team the wanted I am amazed at the recovery and determination to move ahead.

With two kids of each gender, I have definitely seen differences too. It was blatant this week and perhaps why the timely article intrigued me more. Our two girls are overseas studying, teaching and performing. They independently got themselves ready and packed; well, they needed a little help with first-time stuff. Child Number 3, my first son, was an entirely different story. Granted he is a bit younger, but not young enough that he can’t do his own laundry, read and follow a checklist and pack his luggage.

Let’s just say this one requires some extra assistance. He is smart and savvy, and chooses when to exert his own energy. (Confession two, I am more confident our second son, Child number 4, can pack his own luggage.) Of course, there are a number of explanations for differences beyond gender, including personality and birth order. The girls have their moments too.

I guess my real point is that now that I have been raising boys and girls, I can no longer say I have no idea about raising daughters. I have seen first-hand how each daughter’s mind works and processes information, observing how they problem solve and witnessing a strong determination to succeed. I want them to thrive, as I do my sons.

Relative to this research and the “daughter effect,” I can see it in my own life. I appreciate, love and respect my wife, and know the challenges she has faced. With my girls, I have coached them through the challenges. There is something inside of me that embraces the line made famous by Patrick Swayze’s character in Dirty Dancing, “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.”

ZagZig and Shine on daughters!

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