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Life with father

Dads say they have matured with the help of daughters

Dads say they have matured with the help of daughters

June 18, 2006|by CANDICE BOSELY
(Page 2 of 2)

Solanki lives in an apartment in downtown Hagerstown, but wants to buy a house. He said he is concerned that the houses he can afford are in neighborhoods in which he wouldn't feel comfortable raising his daughter.

In the apartment one recent evening, Benna sat on a couch coloring in a coloring book before asking if she could watch television in her bedroom. She later returned to use her father's computer.

Solanki patiently helped his daughter use the Macintosh to send an e-mail to her mother.

Even though he's a man, Solanki said his daughter comes to him for help with certain problems.

"I still take care of some girl stuff," he said.

Initially, Solanki said, he wanted to be the person who fixed anything that seemed to go wrong in his daughter's life, but has learned that sometimes, he simply has to listen and, maybe, offer advice.

"I allow her to resolve a lot of issues on her own," he said, which empowers her to tackle problems and make smart choices.

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Benna helped him grow, too.

Solanki had been living with his parents, and moved into his own place only when his daughter was born. Without her, Solanki - who said he usually is too shy and not aggressive enough to ask women out - said he probably still would be living with his parents.

"I know it's a fact that I would not be as mature as I am if it wasn't for her," he said.

Solanki said he also has learned from her.

"My daughter is probably the second-most influential spiritual teacher in my life," he said. "I don't think people can grow unless they're just willing to accept everything that comes their way and find something, get something out of it."

In general, challenges to being a single father include a lack of resources for single men, while an abundance of help seems to exist for single women, Solanki said.

Asked what Solanki hopes for his daughter's future, Benna spoke up to answer first.

"College," she said.

"I'm going to hold you to that," Solanki retorted.

When his daughter left the room, Solanki said his aspirations for his daughter rely mostly on her choices.

"As long as she becomes whatever she needs to be, I'll be fine with that," he said, but paused and then offered a caveat. "Or I'll try to be."

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