My wife teaches in Davison. Several years ago she was teaching 2nd grade at Central, Davison’s largest elementary school. Eric Lieske, current Davison Schools superintendent was principle of Central at that time. Eric had just been promoted to Assistant Superintendent. The announcement was made one day at the school and my wife noticed that one of her students was crying.
“What’s the matter, sweetheart?” my wife inquired.
“Mr. Lieske is leaving.”
“Yes, he is honey. But you’ll still see him around sometimes.”
“I know,” she said through her tears. “But who’s going to call me princess?”
Research shows that it is critical for little girls that they have someone to call them princess, someone to treasure them, someone to tell them they are beautiful and that they are loved. Eric Lieske always had a gift for this, and Christy and I were so glad to know he was on the job. But as glad as I am that Eric could help little boys feel like proud young men and little girls feel like special young women, it pains me to think Eric may have been the only person calling this little girl “princess.”
To this day when I see a young starlet on TV, flaunting boobs, butt, and belly, I think to myself, “I wonder who calls her princess. Whose baby is she? Whose eyes get misty when he thinks of her? To whom is she forever young? Whose heart is breaking for her now? Whose knees are bruised and bleeding from all the floor-time he has logged in prayer over her? Whose arms ache because of how long she has been gone?”
I love my daughters. I want the special men they marry to call them princess. But I want them to already be used to it. I want them to expect it. I want them to not be able to live with the idea of spending their lives with men who don’t call them princess. I want them to so recognize those qualities of loveliness and specialness and beauty and worthiness in themselves that they will expect that the men in their lives see them also. If they hang out with a guy who doesn’t call them princess, doesn’t see them in that blessed way, I want them to feel a deep lack that causes them to ditch him and look elsewhere. I want them to be restless until they find men who call them princess — who honor and love them — who respect them and serve them — who treasure them for the treasures they are and will always be.
I can’t call every sweet little girl princess. But I know I have done and am doing my part to call three sweet little girls princess, to raise them in that air of preciousness and value and unconditional love. I know I’m not a perfect dad, but I know no father has ever loved his girls more than I love mine, nor told them more often how loved they are.
Dads, our wives, no matter how amazing they are, cannot do the job we have to do. If we drop the ball, our children will be seriously affected for a lifetime. Yes, they can overcome. They can bounce back from our mistakes and incompetence. But they will always feel a loss and carry that wound.