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The Girl Dad Legacy

Pictures of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year old daughter Gianna have flooded the world in the wake of their tragic death along with seven other souls last week. ESPN reporter Elle Duncan’s story about Kobe’s interview with her a couple of years ago when she was pregnant with a daughter have also inspired millions of dads to post pictures of themselves with their daughters proclaiming their love for being a “girl dad.”

In the author’s own words…

Duncan says her pregnancy caused her to ask Kobe about his daughters and whether he would like to have more children. Bryant responded that his wife wanted to try again for a boy but was jokingly concerned that it would be another girl. When Duncan asked how he would feel with four girls, Bryant said all girls was just fine with him. That interview reportedly had 33 million views.

The question of legacy enters the mind of a father of girls. In our culture, his name will only be carried on by sons. Bryant was happy to have all girls. Asked about legacy on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Gianna reportedly insisted that she had the legacy covered. “Oi, I got this!”

Can a daughter carry on a man’s legacy? As a father of two amazing girls, I would say, “Absolutely yes!” Legacy is about putting part of yourself in another person. A name is only a placeholder for where to look but the part of you that resides in your daughter is as strong as the part that resides in a son.

Legacy is a question of character. My daughters bear my traits and habits—for good or for bad. Seeing them work toward a goal or tackle a project as if the fate of the universe depends on their success makes me proud. Watching them interact with their children—guiding and teaching them everything they know—helps ensure that a piece of me will continue into still another generation.

Legacy must be intentional. Not that whatever we are won’t move into the next generation. But if we want good things to be passed on, we must take steps to teach and mold and guide intentionally. Good habits help because repetition helps cement in the important things in life. Habits like going to church, practicing to be the best at whatever you do, interacting with grace to anyone who crosses your path. These regular habits form a foundation that serves as a springboard to our daughter’s future. She can start there and add her own skills to double the impact.

Tragedy like this causes us to search for meaning and legacy. We seem to want to complete what we believe will be lost by having these lives cut short. What would they have said and done? The evidence in the Bryant family is strong for fatherhood and family. They loved each other. They died doing what they love together. We all believe there would have been more of the same.

As you go about your week this week, pause and reflect on the intentional legacy you are leaving for your family. Whether as a girl dad or the father of both, make sure you leave a portion of your best self in the generation that comes after. Reflect on your strengths and notice your weaknesses. Talk about what’s important and live those things in front of your children.

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