Tomorrow evening Jamie and I will speak at an event hosted by the Central Texas Fatherhood Initiative. She is coming home from Oklahoma Christian Univ. for this event.
I’ve got to admit, I always find it difficult to speak about being a Dad (or parent). Why? Maybe it is because I know that whatever was done right was by the grace of God. Maybe it is because my weaknesses are all too apparent to me. Maybe it is because I feel like I am still learning.
Yet, I have learned a few things. More than ever, I see the importance of Godly parents. It really is a ministry in the truest sense of that word.
So–here are a few things I’ve learned about what girls need from their Dads. (Is is obvious that I’ve spent these years rearing girls? Maybe some of this will be applicable to boys as well).
As a Dad, you can give your daughter affection. (Iâ€™m talking about appropriate affection.) Think about an evening in which you were sitting in front of the television about to watch the game. Your daughter comes in with her big sisterâ€™s dress on and her over-sized shoes. She comes through the living room wanting you to notice. She wants to know the same thing that she will want to know even years later. "Do you think I am beautiful, Daddy?"
She needs to hear that you cherish her beauty. Her whole-person beauty. You donâ€™t use any nickname or any teasing that could even remotely suggest that you donâ€™t esteem her. (Please don’t tell me that she knows you are teasing and that you really love her. Too many children have lived with cruel and humiliating nicknames given by someone who was just "teasing"). She sees how you treat her mother and how you talk about women in general. As she grows up, you treat her as you expect a young man to treat her one day. You show her respect and communicate over and over that she is just right.
As a Dad, you can give your daughter your protection. This world can be a scary place to a child (and adults!). But if you are near, if you are connected, she is able to deal with this. How important! She hears of Dads who abandon their families and run off to live elsewhere. Meanwhile, her Dad is present, conscious that the evil one would love to have an inroad into her heart.
Finally, as a Dad, you can give your daughter your encouragement.
Giving her encouragement means that you try to catch her doing what is right. You look for ways to point out her good qualities. You communicate over and over in a thousand different ways that you are with her. She needs to know that her Daddy really does believe in her.