I Almost Spoke Too Soon

Photo taken by Ted McNeil

I vividly remember her telling me about it before we sat down to watch it together. It was a few years ago. And I almost blew it within the first few seconds. Luckily, my mouth wasn’t working as quickly as my brain. And I was able to hold my tongue.

For the next ten minutes or so my daughter and I watched Emma Watson give her HeForShe speech in front of the UN. It was inspiring. It was powerful. It was brilliant! I love that my daughter found this video on her own. I love that Emma Watson’s speech resonated with her. She was only ten years old but she is wise beyond her years. This was never more apparent to me than when she wrote a recent piece for #KidsDeserveIt titled I’m Infuriated.

In the piece, my daughter expressed her concern for the double standard that girls and women face today. I was quite impressed, but then again I am biased. Read it for yourself and see what you think.

But back to my near screw up.

See, we have been watching the Harry Potter movies as a family as my daughter finishes each book. She is currently working on the fifth one. I have really enjoyed watching the movies and the adventures that the kids get themselves into. The operative word being kids. And I am very much looking forward to seeing the next movie.

It’s important to note that I watch very little television and am not always current on what the “stars” are up to. My daughter takes joy in reminding me of my ignorance in this subject matter.

So you can imagine my surprise when I saw 24 year old Emma Watson walk up to the podium. I thought to myself, she is absolutely beautiful. And those words almost came out of my mouth. Thank heavens they didn’t.

Because what would that lead my daughter to think?

As I listened to Emma speak I was absolutely mesmerized.

Not by her appearance. But by the power and conviction of her message.

My daughter recently told me that it bothers her when she gets compliments on her appearance.  She said she would much rather get praised for her intelligence than the way she looks. She works very hard in school and her mother and I couldn’t be more proud of her. And the more I think about it I don’t tell her this enough.

I often call her beautiful because I am her father. And because she is beautiful. But what I don’t do enough of is praise her for her hard work, her good grades and her intelligence. That changes today.

I still have that opportunity. Because I didn’t open my mouth. As fathers and teachers and men we must be careful with the words we speak. Our girls are listening and as their role models they are looking at us to see what we think is important. If I had commented on Emma Watson’s beauty before her intelligence, then what message would that have sent to my daughter?


Our girls are watching our every move. And they will see themselves through our eyes. We must be careful what it is we are looking for.







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