Fathers and Daughters – A Special Connection
About nine years ago, I was mowing our yard when my wife exited our home through our backyard slider, and trailing just inches behind her was our 2-year old daughter, Lauren. I couldn’t see Lauren well, but I knew she was there. My wife motioned for me to turn off the mower, and to come over to the patio where they were both standing. When I approached, Andrea said, “Daddy, Lauren has something she wants to show you,” and clearly it was important, because she kept it concealed behind my wife.
So, I walked over, smiled and waited. From behind Andrea, Lauren peeked out, and slowly exposed her secret. She was wearing her brand new, glittery pink tutu that she had recently received as a gift. She just stood there. And although she said no words, her heart was begging for a response. It was almost audible to me, “Daddy, am I pretty?”
Quickly I said the only thing that came to mind, “Lauren, you are so pretty! I can’t believe how beautiful that tutu is on you!” And then bent down to give her a hug before she skipped off into the house.
It was a moment that lasted maybe 10 seconds. But, had I missed it, I shudder to think about the lasting, negative impact it might have left on her young, spongy heart. See, Lauren was programmed to receive love and affirmation from me, her father. No other human on the planet is as uniquely tuned to provide answers for the questions of her heart like I am. No one else has the ability to stand in the gap between her and an increasingly toxic and sexualized world to help her find her brave, true, confident identity as an image-bearer of God.
My Little Girl is Growing Up
Lauren is now 11, and we were standing in the grocery check-out lane this week when I caught her gaze skimming the magazine titles. Cosmo, People, Us…all staring at us, and each with its twisted opinions about sex, beauty, and love. As she enters her teen years, she will constantly be confronted with a distorted view of “normal” through music (including the videos), movies, and magazines. These media channels carry great influence, yet nothing like the influence I carry, should I choose to engage her and equip her with confidence and affirmation that only I can give.
The Influence of Fathers
Dr. Meg Meeker, pediatrician, mother and best-selling author of six books, including Strong Daughters, Strong Fathers has written some spectacular blogs about the influence of dads on their daughters from her over 20 years of medical experience. She said this in a blog post titled Why Daughters Need Their Dads, which I received via email, and it rocked my world.
“And I have watched daughters talk to fathers. When you come in the room, they change. Everything about them changes: their eyes, their mouths, their gestures, their body language. Daughters are never lukewarm in the presence of their fathers. They might take their mothers for granted, but not you. They light up—or they cry. They watch you intensely. They hang on your words. They hope for your attention, and they wait for it in frustration—or in despair. They need a gesture of approval, a nod of encouragement, or even simple eye contact to let them know you care and are willing to help.
When she’s in your company, your daughter tries harder to excel. When you teach her, she learns more rapidly. When you guide her, she gains confidence.
If you fully understood just how profoundly you can influence your daughter’s life, you would be overwhelmed. Boyfriends, brothers, even husbands can’t shape her character the way you do. You will influence her entire life because she gives you an authority she gives no other man.”
What an amazingly awesome and intimidating responsibility fathers have been given. She’s drawn to us and she doesn’t even know why. It’s just the way she was made. Have you noticed?
Dad, Help Her Navigate the Digital World
Dads (and moms), you might wonder why a technology guy is interested in the role of fathers. It’s because of this – if I don’t answer the questions of my daughter’s heart, then there’s a chance Dr. Google will. Instagram is constantly showing young girls a surface-level, false interpretation of beauty. The Internet provides cheap, shallow, and distorted answers to soul-level questions. Fathers must answer them first and frequently. Our influence is greater. Our impact is more significant. Dr. Google doesn’t stand a chance against what we bring. But, only if we bring it.
Maybe you’ve been distant and absent. Maybe you think it’s too late. I disagree. A Chinese proverb says, “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is right now.”
Dads–are you ready? It’s time to love our girls. Start now! Go make it count.
I love life. Seriously! Each. Day. A. Gift. Former CPA, business advisor, youth pastor, development director, porn survivor. Current marketing manager for Covenant Eyes and CEO of PYE. God shares wild ideas with me about life while I run. I love guiding parents to teach their kids how to use technology well while protecting them from the bad stuff.