This Sunday the annual Girl to Woman Festival at Lennox Head will bring together people from across the country to celebrate and appreciate girls and young women – and the role of community in raising the next generation. And this year Dads’ are getting their own special session…
Facilitated by complementary healing practitioner, father and musician Michael Benhayon and businessman and father of five Ray Karam, the session will provide a forum for fathers to explore any issues or challenges they might face as their daughters enter the teenage years.
Teacher Kristy Wood has been volunteering at a number of Girl To Woman local market stalls in the lead up to the event. Here she shares some of the conversations she has had with dads regarding the upcoming Festival, and what she’s noticed over the past few years.
“I remember at one of the markets, a mother and father walked into the stall with their six-year-old daughter,” says Kristy. “The daughter sat down to have her nails painted and the father asked what the festival is about. When we shared that it was about celebrating and appreciating girls for who they are and what they bring, he loved the idea and said it was very needed.”
The man told Kristy that he was a truck driver who had worked in the industry for many years. He explained how he used to work long hours and how he would try to push each job to get it done as fast as he could. “Now since my daughter has come along, it’s totally different,” he said. “There’s nothing more that I love than to come home to her, and while I want to get back to her as quick as I can, I don’t push it anymore because I want to make sure I get home safely.” When he went on to say how much he loved having a daughter, his daughter overheard him speaking and was thrilled. “When she came along it changed me,” he said, “it softened me and I just totally adore her.”
About twenty minutes later another family came along who also had a six-year-old girl. Within minutes her father was opening up to Kristy about the pressures of working long hours as a medical specialist. He also realised the need to look after himself more, because it had begun to affect how much he could interact and be there for his daughter. “Now I make sure I rest when I can because spending time and being with her is really important to me,” he said to Kristy and went on to tell her, “You get home from these night shifts and then a few hours later in the morning my daughter comes into the room and her smile just brightens up the place.”
Kristy realised it was as if these men had so much that they wanted to share about how much of a joy it is for them to have a daughter, but they had not had an avenue to say it. She reflected on these men as she drove away from the markets. How often do parents, she wondered, and fathers in particular, stop and get the opportunity to share with others the blessing that a daughter brings to their lives?
“As a teacher I’ve noticed that, as girls approach their teen years, those who have fathers who openly cherish and adore them and have not held this back, are often the young women who have a more solid sense of themselves,” she says. “They are more comfortable in their own skin and are not as easily swayed but able to hold more steady in themselves. I’m thrilled we’re facilitating an event that will encourage fathers to talk about the special relationship they have with their daughters.”
The Girl To Woman Festival takes place at Lennox Head Sunday the 21st of January. For more information and to book tickets, please visit the website: http://girltowoman.com.au. The first 150 young women who book online will receive a free giftbag.
For more information and the full program see: http://girltowoman.com.au
Esoteric Women’s Health is a major supporter alongside a team of 50+ volunteers who organise and donate their time to put on the event on behalf of the community: www.esotericwomenshealth.com