To be the father of growing daughters is to understand something of what Yeats evokes with his imperishable phrase ‘terrible beauty.’ Nothing can make one so happily exhilarated or so frightened: It’s a solid lesson in the limitations of self to realize that your heart is running around inside someone else’s body.
There is no passion that so much transports men from their right judgments as anger. No one would demur upon punishing a judge with death who should condemn a criminal upon the account of his own choler; why then should fathers and pedants be any more allowed to whip and chastise children in their anger? It is then no longer correction but revenge. Chastisement is instead of physic to children; and should we suffer a physician who should be animated against and enraged at his patient?
Certain it is that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as that of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express.