I remembered this post recently and thought now is a good time to revisit these thoughts. I wrote this post almost exactly a year ago, while working in Honduras. Maybe it's Valentine's Day that has me thinking about it again.
John Mayer’s song, “Daughters,” scratches the surface of the longing a daughter feels to be loved by her dad, but (not surprisingly) it isn’t strong enough.
Fathers, be good to your daughters daughters will love like you do
It was simple enough to capture the attention of a whole crowd of daughters who wished for what this nebulously suggests, but I wish this song spelled out specifics.
- Be transparent about your first and greatest Love. For many daughters, your faith is a secret. You might go to church or you might have a Bible, but your ideas and convictions are as hidden and elusive as treasure on a child’s crayon-scribbled treasure map. It’s okay to be somewhere in the growing stages of your faith – in fact, it’s refreshing for us daughters to know you haven’t “arrived” yet. When your daughter can see you admit you need God, her heart and tenderness toward you will grow, but more importantly you will have pointed her gaze to the Father who never fails.
- Love your wife. One of the greatest ways you can love your daughter is to love and serve your wife. When your daughter sees you honoring, protecting, partnering, laughing, enjoying, and living in a way that reflects God’s design for marriage, she will respect your role and have an excellent example of a husband (especially important in those years when you cannot relate to your daughter. When nothing makes sense, love your wife well and I promise your daughter will see it!).
- Choose to be around. Your daughter will feel special when you decide the best place for you is next to her.
- Get personal. Some of my favorite memories with my dad are simple ones that we shared while we did chores together on the farm or as we drove out to a football game or prepared our animals for county fair. Every discussion doesn’t have to be deep, but if you open up first then you’ll gain your daughter’s trust and she’ll likely reciprocate (even if it’s not right away).
- Encourage, praise, love the God-honoring things your daughter does and push her in those things to be excellent. I’ll never forget my dad’s insistence that I study that little spelling book in preparation for the elementary spelling bees. My dad still types on the computer with his pointer fingers and English wasn’t his strongest high school subject, but when he found out I could put letters together in the right order, he was going to make sure I did it excellently. Those little things (though I assure you I didn’t love them at the time) made his love for me so obvious.
- Be gentle. Your daughter will appreciate well-placed words and respected silences.
- Be good to your sons, too. Your daughters are smart. They will see the way you are leading and guiding your sons. Right now they are making mental notes in their heart about whether their dream man will act like the father and brothers in their lives. Many daughters hold on desperately to the hope that it can be different. If they have to rely on Hollywood, they will be hoping for something unhealthy and unrealistic. Your daughter has a front row seat for what a man should look like - so show her!
let LOVE fly like crazy and let those people closest to you benefit