Renae Smith, NFI's Special Assistant to the President, had this to say about an Usher song she heard on the radio recently:
While I was flipping through the radio on my way home from work recently, the lyrics of a song on a station I don’t normally listen to caught my attention, and I stopped to figure out what the song was about.
…all I wanna hear
Is you say Daddy’s home, ohh home for me
And I know you’ve been waiting for this lovin' all day
You know your daddy’s home, it’s time to play
(“Daddy’s Home” by Usher)
I immediately had a flashback to my childhood. As a little girl, I used to drop whatever I was doing as soon as I heard the heavy flight boots of my father, who was an officer in the Air Force, walk through the door. I’d exclaim, “Daddy’s home!” and run up to the front door and jump in his arms.
My younger sisters liked to hide and make Dad find them. He always played along with the game – “Where’s Claire? Where’s Pamela?... she’s not behind the couch… oh there she is!”
Dad coming home was the highlight of our day, and we couldn’t wait to tell him all about the fun things we had done, show him the pictures we had colored, or drag him to come play with us. (Admittedly, we outgrew this stage after about age 6, to Dad’s disappointment.)
However, the song on the radio did not match these happy memories. The sexualized lyrics made it clear that the exclamation of “Daddy’s home” was not the joy of a child running into the safe and loving arms of a father.
Every little girl has a craving for the tenderness of a father who cherishes her, treats her like a princess, and protects her – Daddy is often her first true love. When there is no Daddy coming home, or Daddy coming home is a scary occasion and not a happy one, a young woman will often look to other men later in life to fill her need for a father’s affection. Unfortunately, the men who are all too eager to fill that void often don’t cherish her, treat her like a princess, or protect her – too often it’s quite the opposite.
Usher’s song gave me a new understanding of our culture’s father absence crisis, and made me sad for the girls for whom “Daddy’s home” never meant to them what it meant to me. Now, I am all the more grateful that I have a wonderful father who was just as excited to see me at the end of the day as I was to see him.
Renae and her siblings greet daddy at the door (c. 1992).