Learning from the Success of My Daughters

I'm the father of three daughters – Rivkah, Miriam, and Tavi – which is often how I introduce myself to people. "Hi. I'm Steve, Rivkah's [or Miriam's or Tavi's] dad." I meet people through my daughters, and more than ever, they shape and tailor my identity in the world – how others see me, and how I see myself. If you haven't been there, you may be thinking that for a grown man with a professional life of his own, this is kind of sad, that I've become somewhat less than a man in full, an otherwise healthy ego hopelessly appended to his children, an accessory to offspring. Think it if you like, but I feel unalloyed pride in any association with my daughters.

I try not to kid myself too much. I know that their successes and strengths of character are matters of many fortunate factors aside from and beyond my efforts. I know that these are now independent young women, winging off already on their self-defining flights, out of reach of the easy authority that a father can't help thinking is well-earned and permanent. But I mostly remember my own parents seeing me off on my personal adventure with so much understandable trepidation, which they bravely and considerately kept to themselves, and most importantly with the kind of grace that gave me confidence to take on the world in my own way, knowing that whatever the outcome, it would be fine.

Parenthood is certainly a spinning on the carousel of time, but it's really not a circle game – it's a spiraling out. "We can't return, we can only look behind from where we came." I'm now happy to stay in affectionate, shouting distance of my daughters as the spiral widens. When the world goes right, it is the way of the world.

// Steve Gevinson is a retired school teacher, and a committed father to his three daughters: Rikvah, Miriam, and Tavi.