Dear Dads, I don’t have a daughter, but I am one. And this list of 6 Things Every Dad Should Know About His Daughter is inspired by my experience.
1. She is paying close attention to you.
By the time I was four, I’d seen my dad build and fix a lot of stuff, so I was utterly disappointed when after I had a serious mishap involving a trampoline and a metal tractor toy, he wasn’t able to put my broken arm back together. Sometime over the course of two surgeries, a week in the hospital and four months in a cast, I realized that though my dad wanted to solve my problems, he couldn’t fix everything. If you show your daughter you are making an effort, she will notice.
2. Your presence matters.
Like a lot of dads, my dad wasn’t big on showing affection when I was growing up, but he was always there. Always. Every activity I took part in, no matter how boring or how long the drive, he was there. And his presence not only made me feel important, it made me try harder. So when you are physically able, just be there. Even if it means slipping into the back of an auditorium with your work clothes on.
3. She sometimes chooses activities based on how she thinks you will respond. Take notice.
Sure I had a crush on a guy on the wrestling team, but the real reason I took stats throughout high school is so I’d have a common interest with my dad who wrestled at Mankato State. It gave us something to talk about. Dad even took me to the NCAA Wrestling Championships and let his friend, who happened to be the Athletic Director at the University of Iowa, sneak me mat side to meet my favorite Division I wrestlers. That was a big deal for a 17-year-old girl.
4. Your words last forever. Choose them wisely.
I enjoyed coming home late from track meets and talking to dad at the kitchen table. He always made sure to tell me what I needed to improve on, which was sometimes hard to hear. But he just wanted me to be my best. I had no doubt that he was proud of me, and I appreciated his wisdom. But given the chance to choose the ratio between encouragement and constructive criticism, any girl I know would request a heavy dose of “I’m proud of you” and a small dose of “This is what you can do better.” The world does a pretty great job of telling us what we’re not doing right. We need a cheerleader at home.
5. If you don’t want her to marry a loser, don’t be one.
I know girls who settled for less than the best, and I often wonder if it was because their dads didn’t make them aware of their value. I married the most excellent man in the world, and though he is different from my dad in a lot of ways, he is very similar in a lot of the important stuff. He’s a hard worker and a servant. He’s funny and likes to do things to make me happy. And I know he will always love me and always take care of me.
6. Her picture of God as Father begins with you.
I’ve never had a problem struggling to believe that God will take care of my needs. Sure, I go through times of uncertainty. But on the whole, I trust God is always right here protecting me in the hard stuff. What I did struggle with for a period of time was whether or not God loved me with an affectionate kind of love. My assumptions on both of these facets of God’s personality had their beginnings in my relationship with my own dad. And your daughter’s assumptions about God will be influenced by you as well.
Dads, you are not perfect. It is not humanly possible for you to give your daughter a perfect picture of God the Father. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work on it every single day. We girls don’t expect perfection. We really don’t. But we do love being loved. And we sure do appreciate knowing you’ve got our backs.