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I Almost Spoke Too Soon

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She had been telling me about it, but we had yet to sit down and watch it together. But a few nights ago we did. And I almost blew it within the first few seconds. Luckily, my mouth wasn't working as quickly as my brain. And I was able to hold my tongue.

For the next ten minutes or so my daughter and I watched Emma Watson give her HeForShe speech in front of the UN. It was inspiring. It was powerful. It was brilliant! I love that my daughter found this video on her own. I love that Emma Watson's speech resonated with her. She is only ten years old but she is wise beyond her years. This was never more apparent to me than when she wrote a recent piece for #KidsDeserveIt titled I'm Infuriated.

In the piece my daughter expressed her concern for the double standard that girls and women face today. I was quite impressed, but then again I am biased. Read it for yourself and see what you think.

But back to my near screw up.

See, we have been watching the Harry Potter movies as a family as my daughter finishes each book. She is currently working on the fifth one. I have really enjoyed watching the movies and the adventures that the kids get themselves into. The operative word being kids. And I am very much looking forward to seeing the next movie.

It's important to note that I watch very little television and am not always current on what the "stars" are up to. My daughter takes joy in reminding me of my ignorance in this subject matter.

So you can imagine my surprise when I saw 24 year old Emma Watson walk up to the podium. I thought to myself, she is absolutely beautiful. And those words almost came out of my mouth. Thank heavens they didn't.

Because what would that lead my daughter to think?

As I listened to Emma speak I was absolutely mesmerized.

Not by her appearance. But by the power and conviction of her message.

My daughter recently told me that it bothers her when she gets complements on her appearance.  She said she would much rather get praised for her intelligence than the way she looks. She works very hard in school and her mother and I couldn't be more proud of her. And the more I think about it I don't tell her this enough.

I often call her my Beautiful Girl because I am her father. And because she is beautiful. But what I don't do enough of is praise her for her hard work, her good grades and her intelligence. That changes today.

I still have that opportunity. Because I didn't open my mouth. As fathers and teachers and men we must be careful with the words we speak. Our girls are listening and as their role models they are looking at us to see what we think is important. If I had commented on Emma Watson's beauty before her intelligence, then what message would that have sent to my daughter?


Our girls are watching our every move. And they will see themselves through our eyes. We must be careful what it is we are looking for.



While I may have avoided making a big mistake on this day, there are countless days that I haven't. Click the link below to hear about some of the many mistakes I have made over the years.



My Bad


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Jon is currently the assistant principal in Dorchester County, Maryland. This is his seventh year serving as an assistant principal at the elementary level. Prior to becoming an administrator he served as a Math Coach and an elementary school teacher. During his ten years as a classroom teacher he taught first, second, fourth and fifth grades. During his sixth year teaching he earned Nationally Board Certification, which he held for ten years. For seven years he ran a Young Gentleman's Club that was aimed at helping young men reach their full potential.  

Jon received a B.A. from Furman University while majoring in Philosophy. He later went on to earn his B.S from Salisbury University while majoring in Elementary Education. Jon was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to student teach in New Zealand. He eventually received his M.A. degree from Salisbury University in Public School Administration.

Jon lives in Cambridge, Maryland with his amazing wife and two awesome children.

  • Guest
    Scott Feldman Saturday, 18 June 2016

    As always Jon another incite full and wonderfully written piece. If only more people emphasized substance and not appearance.

  • Jon Harper /  @Jonharper70bd
    Jon Harper / @Jonharper70bd Saturday, 18 June 2016

    Thank you Scott. Coming from a kind and gentle father like yourself, that means a lot.

  • Guest
    Maureen Saturday, 18 June 2016

    Great advice for other dads and moms too! You have a bright daughter!

  • Jon Harper /  @Jonharper70bd
    Jon Harper / @Jonharper70bd Sunday, 19 June 2016

    Thank you Maureen, I must agree.

  • Guest
    Don Saturday, 18 June 2016

    Thanks Jon!!! As a dad of two daughters.... needed to read that!

  • Jon Harper /  @Jonharper70bd
    Jon Harper / @Jonharper70bd Sunday, 19 June 2016

    Thanks Don, I am learning each and every day.

  • Guest
    Jonathon Wennstrom Tuesday, 21 June 2016


    As a father of two daughter (14 and 12) this really resonated with me. I want my daughters to be noticed for their intelligence and kindness and not just for their beauty (and I do think they are both beautiful:). Thanks for sharing!


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Guest Thursday, 25 April 2019