For a little over two years, Madamenoire’s parenting editor Kweli Wright has been a wonderful source of inspiration. A few months into becoming a published and paid author, she pushed me to become a professional. When I would write from an objective point of view, she would send an email back telling me that the best way to establish a voice is to take a side and be divisive because it will pay off in the long run. With no formal journalism experience, she would send me online classes that I could take for free. Out of the clear blue sky, she once sent me a text message asking me if I had any editorial experience just to pick my brain; knowing that it would plant the seed for me to think bigger. If there was an editorial position she thought would be a good fit for me, she would send it my way, telling me “Get over your fear of improper grammar usage,” and that I’m ready. She had virtually given me carte blanche to pitch and write about whatever I wanted to, trusting my abilities all before meeting in person.
This morning, Kweli struck again when she posted a link on from Scarymommy.com on Facebook entitled 10 Things I Want My Daughter To Know When Things Get Real. As the father to a little girl, I felt compelled to read it. The whole list are all things that I would love for my daughter Cydney to know as well. But as a father, number two stood out to me the most.
Know the Difference Between Desire and Value
I am a single parent to a five year old whose mother passed away while she was an infant. Cydney looks at me and sees a superhero who even when he scolds her can do no wrong. Even if her mother were alive, I’m daddy: her first love. Even if her mother were alive and we were together, as her dad, this is a lesson that is most applicable coming primarily from me. My daughter has seen me date (she always wants to come along and will give her approval or disapproval in their face), look, and act in a manner that she sees Disney princes do on television. It is part of the foundation that instills value into her.
As a verb, desire is defined as to “strongly wish for or to want,” with synonyms being covet, yearn, want, aspire to, and so on. The verbal tense of value means “1) Estimate the monetary worth (of something. 2) Consider (someone or something) to be important or beneficial; have a high opinion of,” with alternative verbs being assess, appraise, appreciate, esteem, and respect.
To be desired is a wonderful thing. We all want to be wanted and coveted to some extent. There is nothing wrong with aspiring and position one’s self to be yearned and lusted after a little; as well as giving into our desires as well. It drives us all. I want my daughter to indulge a little. If life’s best teacher is experience, I want her to give into a little to it…because this makes for a life worth living. Life is hard; but learning along the way is most of the fun. To desire something is the root of finding value in something and someone.
Value comes in three phases: appraisal, assessment, and investment. Based on one’s desires, we see something we like, decide decide if it is something worth acquiring, and then endow it into something worth more than it was when we originally wanted it. Be it professional, social/interpersonal, and in love, I want my daughter to sought to be valued.
At five-years-old, she is raw material that I, loved ones, and her teachers are investing into her becoming the best person that she can be. Before entering kindergarten, Cydney Milner plays soccer year-round and has her own podcast, because I want to invest into her interests and things she has already displayed exemplary talent. It costs time and money to do these things; but even if she winds up doing something else with her life, at a young age she is beginning to learn her worth.
There will be boys and men. As much as I would like to take credit for my child’s good looks, she is as gorgeous as her mother was. Being pretty will only lead to her being desired. If she puts too value into her looks, she will find it difficult for someone to look beyond that. We all desire nice things; but very rarely do pretty things appreciate with time. My baby girl could be a beautiful Bentley…
Chad Milner is a New York-based writer who founded the blog Single Dadventures, where he pens his (mis)adventures with his daughter, Cydney. He regularly contributes to Madamenoire, as well as various websites, giving insight on parenting, dating, relationships and music from the perspective of a young, single Black father. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.