How [A Dad] Really Loves a Daughter

This beautiful guest post is from my husband.

I’ll never forget the bright eyed smile staring down into the home made wooden pin at seven feisty golden retriever puppies. They were almost as cute as my cotton topped 9 month old peering over the edge with wonder.  And then it happened.  It was the last thing I expected to hear.  I had been coaching her for weeks…”Da Da.”  I was taken aback when she squeeled and uttered the words, “Pup Pup.”  I was so proud.  It was adorable.  I should have seen it coming.  Today it is clear.  I was raising a very independent, strong, beautiful girl.

Over the years I’ve dressed up as a princess, carted bundled baby dolls, unhooked slimy fish, played in the mud, and taken her on her first real date.  I was made to be her dad.  Unfortunately, no one gave me a manual on how to do this.

The last year has had it’s challenges, more for me than her.  She is becoming a young lady.  This tween of mine has new distinct interests, and freely shares her autonomous, informed opinions.  Part little girl and part emerging woman. And me, I struggle, holding a handful of fine grain sand and the delicate balance shift that plays out between authority and influence.

My advice, embrace this transition.  That’s just what she and I did a few weeks ago at a unique event held annually  The Father Daughter Summit.

What I loved most about this purposed day was the format of the summit.  A general session followed by a Dad’s only or daughter’s only session, capped off with one hour of Daddy-Daughter Dialoque. My favorite part was the amazing talks with my girl during the Daddy Daughter Dialogue.  I want to share some of the things that I learned with you.

Investing in your children has legacy and eternal implications

Time, love, and availability translates into stability for our daughters

Your daughter sets her expectations about how a man should treat her by observing how you treat her mother.

As a father it is my responsibility to shepherd and develop my daughter’s relationship with God

The five needs of daughters (from www.fathers.com)

Comfort

  1. Allow her to express her opinions
  2. Actively listen to her – Dad’s this means undivided attention
  3. Respond with empathy

Guidance

  1. Discerning
  2. Correcting
  3. Teaching

Encouragement

  1. Become comfortable affirming her verbally
  2. Get involved in HER (emphasis added) pursuits
  3. Demonstrate confidence in her abilities

Vision

  1. Cast a positive vision
  2. Speak destiny – tell her  the future has great things in store

Protection

  1. Be aware and guard – this includes people, media, internet, clothing etc.
  2. Prayer – we can’t always be there be we can pray for her protection

A very special moment for me in this conference was the first Daddy-Daughter dialogue time.  We were discussing which needs and fears were most important in my daughter’s life.  I leaned in close and tried to maintain my composure as I watched tears stream down my 11 year old’s face.  “All of my friends parents are getting divorced.  I am really fearful that this will happen to you and mom and we won’t be a family anymore.”  I held my little girl in my arms and cried with her.  I assured her that divorce was not an option for Kristen and myself.  I then took her face in my hands, looked deeply in her scared eyes and said, “Honey, your mother and I love each other and we love you.  We are not ever getting a divorce.  I want you to know one thing though,  we may disappoint you sometimes and we may let you down, but your heavenly Father will never disappoint you or let you down.  As much as we love you, he loves you more.”

I certainly don’t know everything about raising a daughter, but I learned that day how important it is to love her mother!

Comments

  1. 5

    says

    A beautiful post which actually brought a tear to my eye. I wish more daddies would realise the way they love their wife effects there children. For their sons it shows them how to treat their wives for daughters it shows them how they deserve to be treated by their husbands. Xx

  2. 7

    says

    Very nice. My daughter is only two, but I can already see what it means to her to have both Mommy and Daddy around and loving each other. She loves our “family hugs” before bedtime, and I see her watching when we hug and kiss each other.

  3. 9

    Crystal says

    I wish I could have an honest dialogue with my father. I’m 26, but I would love to hear from him that he REALLY loves me and is proud of me. I know he is, but I want to hear him say it.

  4. 12

    says

    This is so precious. Your family is so fortunate. I have forwarded this to my daughter’s father (single) and asked him to please read. Even if he can’t love me, as he is married to another, respect for me as his daughter’s mother would do wonders for our daughter.

  5. 13

    says

    What a neat event. I am telling my hubby about it for our church. Cherish that little girl, before you know it she will be grown up and getting ready for that aisle walk. It has been a delight to watch my husband love our daughters and the relationship they have is amazing.

  6. 14

    says

    I had a moment like that as a little girl. Some friends I babysat for were headed for divorce and I came home from keeping their children one night in tears. My dad sat me down on the bed and said the same thing to me: “Brooke, your mother and I will NEVER divorce. We may fight and not get along sometimes, but we love you and your brother too much to ever consider divorce.”

    I can’t tell you the sense of safety and protection that gave me then, and even now, as a 33 year old women. It was a moment that I will remember all of my life. It told me something about my parents and about life in general.

    I’m so thankful.

  7. 16

    says

    great post, I grew up without a dad, and it made a huge difference in how I see men, I’m a 25 yr old pastor now and I still have issues trusting men, need more dads like this

  8. 17

    Jessica mox says

    I will revisit this post many times. I am the grandmother of 4 beautiful granddaughters from my three kids, who are all victims of divorce. I NEVER want that for my little girls. I have always told my kids is that the greatest gift they can give their children to is LOVE their partner.

    I can’t decide if this is a mom’s day message or a dad’s day message. That river flows both ways.

    I think I’ll share it now and again in June.

    Thankfully, the four granddaughters see their granddad (papa) as a wonderful example of how a man respects women and the commitment to marriage.

  9. 19

    Sharon O says

    Very touching blog. My own parents divorced when I was four and I never really ‘knew’ my ‘daddies’ love. So it is a GREAT gift you give to her every time you see her, notice her, tell her she is special and just be there.
    You are leaving a powerful legacy of love for her for a lifetime.

  10. 20

    says

    Like so many others have said: beautifully written, brought a tear to my eye, and I forwarded it to my husband. This is my first time visiting your blog (I came over from Sheila’s To Love, Honor, and Vacuum). I will be back.

  11. 21

    Leslie says

    Such a truly inspiring post! I was blessed with an incredible father who showed me how a truly Godly man is supposed to be. He has always loved my mom and I with all of his heart and put us before himself. His example is truly what lead me to form my own ideals of what a husband should be for his wife and because of my father’s incredible example, I am now married to the man of my dreams who treats me just as incredibly as my father has always treated my mother.

    You sound like you are leading the same wonderful example for your children and I know someday they will reflect upon this with so much joy, gratitude, and love. How blessed they are to have two incredible parents who aren’t afraid to let God rule their lives and teach their kids what life, love, happiness, and loving mercy ;) are all about!!

  12. 22

    says

    What an incredible husband and father. Tears stream as I read this, likening these words and wisdom with things I received from my dad, and things I did not… but mostly, hearing your heart, I recognize the LOVE that my dad had for me which motivated him to do the best he could.
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful, tender experience you had with your daughter, and for giving us a glimpse into the heart of your “daddy” world. :)
    Blessings,
    Lora

  13. 23

    says

    This is so good and one that I’m saving. Thank you for sharing what you learned. We just found out we’re expecting our first little girl, and I know your words will encourage my hubby, too.

  14. 25

    Amy says

    Thank you! I love this! I have been looking for a good Daddy Daughter Activity for my church and this gives me a great start.

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