Masculine Qualities for Fathers Raising Daughters

The word “man” is used very loosely in our modern vocabulary. Someone can be considered a man because he is the strongest, drinks the most beer, sleeps with the most women, has the broadest shoulders, is tallest in a crowd, has the deepest voice or the fastest car, makes the most money, and so forth. But rarely is the word used correctly.

I have heard “men” I know say they are tired of being married to their wives because they are not being satisfied at home as they “deserve” to be. I have seen “men” leave their families to raise themselves because these men don’t want to face their own responsibilities. I have also seen countless women throw themselves at “men” so they can feel a sense of belonging and acceptance, even when that means losing sight of who they really are.

There are men who never show up for their daughters’ dance recitals because the recitals are “too boring” or because they interfere with their golf plans for the day. There are men who have never seen their daughters practice or play a sport, taken their daughters to father-daughter dances, or been a field trip chaperone.

Is this manly? No.

Men struggle with setting a good example for their families because they lead a double life. Some men have a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude. They tell their daughters that it is wrong to look at pornography, but they are doing just that when no one is looking. They tell their daughters that it is wrong to get drunk, but they get drunk every weekend. They tell their daughters that smoking and using drugs is wrong, but when no one is around, they are doing what they preach against publicly.

Manly men tell the truth at all times. They are not ashamed of their actions in private. Would you honestly be proud of showing your daughter everything you do in private when you think no one is watching? What about your wife? Would she be proud of your behaviors? If you don’t think God already sees everything you are doing, you have a huge awakening coming your way eventually. Manly men do what is right, even when no one is watching.


Years ago, I coached a basketball team for my daughter that went undefeated for several seasons in a row. When other coaches would ask my secret to winning all these games and championships, I would tell them that when you have champions playing for your team, it’s easy to win all the time. Usually, these coaches would not push their questioning any further, but I have had a few coaches and parents ask what I did to create champions.

This article is from The Manly Art of Raising a Daughter. Click image to learn more.

I let them know, first and foremost, that we always started practice and games with a prayer. At practice, when the girls were tired or wanted to give up, I told them something that seemed to resonate with them. I said, “Champions are made when no one is watching. They are made when everyone else has left the gym; long after the lights have gone down and long after all the press has left the building. It’s what you do when no one is watching that really matters. Do the right thing!”

Champions live in the truth. When no one is watching a practice, when autographs are not being signed, and when you are doing things that make a real difference for yourself, that’s when the truth of your situation sinks in. Just because you can talk a good game, that doesn’t mean you can play one too.

Take a minute and relate this to how you are performing as a father. Do you talk a good game in public but act very differently when no one is watching? Do you have certain expectations for your daughter and your wife that you are not living up to? Only you can make the changes needed in your life to make a real difference for them. It’s time to start speaking the truth at all times, no matter what.

Seven Manly Qualities

  1. A focus on God. Do you keep God first? Do you teach your daughter to do the same?
  2. Do you cheat on your wife, or are you true to your family commitments?
  3. Do you lie? This includes lying to yourself.
  4. Are you kind, or are you nice? Being kind means being strong enough to tell the truth at all times out of love. Being nice means saying and do­ing things out of fear of hurting feelings. Niceness lacks love.
  5. Do you give of yourself to your family, or are you a taker?
  6. Are you brave enough to teach your daughter to speak her mind, or do you teach her to go with the flow?
  7. Cleanness. Are you clean in body, mind, and spirit? Or are you leading a dirty double life behind closed doors?

If you have not considered these points before, I challenge you as a father to do so right now.

Now is the time for self-reflection and being honest. Do you need to work on these traits? Would you be willing to ask your family how they think you are doing as a dad? Would you be willing to humble yourself enough to listen without getting angry, or debating how they view your successes and failures as a father?

How many people in your life offer you complete honesty whether you ask for it or not? How many people are you completely honest with? If your daughter is not one of these people, you may be trying to hide the real you from everyone, including yourself. It is never too late to make changes in your life and in the life of your daughter by being the type of man she can be proud of.

Challenge Yourself

Your challenge from now on is to tell the truth at all times — no matter what. Start by being honest with yourself and be proud of who you are. If you are honest with yourself and proud of the type of man you are, your daughter will be proud of you as well. Treat your wife with respect and show your daughter what it looks like to tell the truth all the time. Show her what it looks like to be truly manly!

Manly men take action — do this challenge now!

Editor’s note: This article is adapted from The Manly Art of Raising a Daughter. It is available as a paperback or ebook from Sophia Institute Press or your favorite Catholic bookstore.

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Alan Migliorato has been married since 1993 and has three daughters. He has owned a sign and advertising company based in the Orlando area for the past 20 years. He has a certification in Youth Ministry from the University of Dayton and is the founder of Adventure Catholic Leadership Formation Training. Alan achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, and is a veteran of the U.S. Army.

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