Father daughter stories always warm my heart — the bond between dads and daughters is a special one. Some fathers help their daughters find their true passion in life. Some fathers are hands-on dads who are willing to do anything for their kids — remember that dad who danced with his little ballerina just to pacify her stage fright? It’s not typical but a father can lead his daughter to the love of her life. Mine did, and it happened years before we even met the person I would eventually marry.
I can recall vividly the pressing question people always asked me when I was four years old. “Who are you going to marry?” they would ask in amusement. “I will marry my Papa” the 4-year-old me would answer. Several years later, whenever my young, single adult peers brought up the question, “Who do you want to marry?” , I would always answer, “Someone like my Papa.”
He Showed Us What To Expect From Young Men
I love flipping through the pages of my father’s mission album, mainly because of the beautiful seascape of Guam and Palau included in the photos. My siblings and I would listen to the wonderful stories that went along with the photographs. At the age of 11 — just a year before I officially transitioned to the Young Women Organization — I boldly declared that I was going to marry a returned missionary so I could hear amazing mission stories.
But I also saw qualities in my father that extended beyond his having had a black name tag — he was kind to us, he loved us, sacrificed a lot for us, listened to us, and fiercely protected us. He loved learning and he would always share some of the amazing stories he had read in the scriptures. He taught us the meaning of service. Through his example, he taught my sister and I what to expect from the young men we interacted with, and from our future husbands.
He Loved and Continues to Love our Mother
“How can a father raise a happy, well-adjusted daughter in today’s increasingly toxic world? The most important thing a father can do for his daughter is to love her mother. You can show your daughter by the way you love and honor your wife that she should never settle for less.”
These gentle yet powerful words from Sister Elaine S. Dalton touched my heart so much when I first heard them in the October 2011 General Conference. I thought of my father and how he always shows his love and admiration for my mother. He’s loyal to her, kind, he listens to her, he makes her laugh, and he allows her to fly and fulfill her dreams. The seemingly small expressions of love they showed each other — things like waiting for her to come home so they could have a meal together — had a great impact on a single daughter who also looked forward to the day she could meet her future spouse. Through my father’s example, I continued to build my mental list of qualities I wanted my future husband to have.
He Prepared Us
Even when I was young, my father continually reminded me that “light attracts light, virtue attracts virtue.” He would always say, “While waiting for Mr. Right, be Ms. Right. Mr. Right will just come and you’ll be prepared to meet him.” To make sure her daughters were ready for Mr. Right, he prepared us. He engaged us in conversations, he taught us the scriptures, he discussed current events with us, and he allowed us to explore our talents. One day, I saw him watching a video — a recording of a devotional for mission presidents — and he invited me to watch it. “Listen to this, my daughter. You may choose not to serve a mission, but you still need this, for someday you will help and support a future leader, and you will raise missionaries.” His confidence in us helped us build confidence in ourselves, too.
Through Him, My Husband Found Me
Yes, through him, my husband found me. Elder Garcia was then a young missionary in the Philippines, Bacolod Mission when he heard my father speak. He was impressed and he wanted to meet him. Unfortunately, time did not allow it. When he came home from his mission, he went to Facebook and searched for my dad’s name. Instead of finding him, he found me. The rest was history.
How did I know he was the one I should marry? It was because of my father. I saw in my husband the same qualities I saw in my father. He was kind, he was forgiving, he was gentle, he listens to me, makes me laugh, he serves us, and he protects us. Because of my father’s example, it was easy to say yes to my husband’s proposal.
Let’s Create More Father-Daughter Stories
Sister Elaine S. Dalton’s invitation to fathers in her October 2011 talk “Love Her Mother” is still applicable today. In this world full of noise, full of dwindling standards, our daughters need fathers who will show them what courtship, marriage, and true love truly mean. The world may set aside — and even deem worthless — the example of fathers, but remember that righteous fatherhood can greatly impact the outlook of daughters. May the fathers of our generation remain true, virtuous, loving, and kind — daughters need it.