If you’ve been following my blog for a bit, you would have read a couple of posts involving Vera and her dear daddy. (Papa is so good, for example.)
You probably already know Daddy has a very special place in her heart. Almost like there’s a hole in there in his unique shape, that no one, NO ONE, but Daddy can fill.
I’m not one bit jealous. On the contrary, I can’t even begin to explain the joy that fills my heart when I see them together, and so in love.
I know that with her dad’s love, she will grow up secure and strong. I know that with her dad holding her hand when she’s venturing into a new area where she’s never been before, she will slowly gain in courage and confidence. I know that when her dad teaches and corrects her, she will learn to respect authority and understand that certain boundaries are drawn for her own sake.
I know. Perhaps because I sort of never had that kind of daddy.
I tend to sigh when I think back about my own childhood memories involving my father. I mean, he wasn’t all that bad. He was a quiet, traditional, and rather serious man. He never caned me; for some reason his wrath would be mostly re-directed to my brother. Still, I’ve never quite known how to approach this man, and I suspect he never quite knew how to approach this young woman too. Even now, when he comes over to visit the kids, the words we exchange would be few.
Yet despite all our communication gaps, I am thankful that he is still a good father. He has provided for us as a family, and I choose not to judge him for what he did or did not do. I understand that it’s hard for some traditional fathers to express their love in ways that we daughters would appreciate. But he is still my father, the man who made my life — and much of its joys and blessings possible.
So, I wish to acknowledge all fathers today.
You have a remarkable role to play in your children’s lives. Whether you choose to be active or passive, to play and cheer, or to watch from afar, you are leaving a deep imprint that can never be removed.
In Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know, Dr Meg Meeker shares a simple truth:
“Dads, you are far more powerful than you think you are.”
Especially to your daughter. She will look to you for all things — love, security, approval, affirmation, protection. She will always yearn for your attention and affection. You are the first man in her life. She will see her worth through your eyes.
Dr Meeker minces no words (nor statistic) in her writing. In her more than 20 years’ experience as a psychologist, she has seen many girls depressed, engaging in sexual activity at a young age, with eating disorders, etc, and the common thread among these girls? The lack of an involved father.
While she speaks mainly from an American perspective, I don’t think what she’s describing is a localized phenomenon.
Citing research from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Dr Meeker writes:
“Daughters who perceive that their fathers care a lot about them, who feel connected to their fathers, have significantly fewer suicide attempts and fewer instances of body dissatisfaction, depression, low self-esteem, substance use, and unhealthy weight.”
How can you express your love and care to your daughter? The secrets that she shares in her book might be a good starting point:
1. You are the most important man in her life
2. She needs a hero
3. You are her first love
4. Teach her humility – so that she is grounded, and is able to develop strong relationships.
5. Protect her, defend her (and use a shotgun if necessary) – ‘nuff said.
6. Pragmatism and grit: your two greatest assets – teach her to deal with difficult situations.
7. Be the man you want her to marry
8. Teach her who God is
9. Teach her to fight - take a clear stance on morals.
10. Keep her connected
But what about if for some reason, your child can’t have her father actively involved in her life? I think it can still make a difference if there is a close male figure who can be committed to being involved in your her life, so take heart and take action.
What has made the difference in my life and the way I view my dad? My relationship with my Father in heaven…and I believe He can do the same for you too.
If this post has touched you in some way, please do share it with your family and loved ones.
Read also: The best thing a father can do