Guys, do you ever wonder what your daughter really thinks of you?
Get the scoop on The Noble Man Podcast straight from my daughter Hannah’s mouth – along with her friends, Lydia and Jessica. Our 3 experts this week share everything from the fun times they enjoy with their dads to some of the things that frustrate them.
Good news, dads! You’ll be encouraged to find out it may not be as complicated as you think to create positive, long-lasting memories and a foundation for a great relationship with your daughter. The young ladies on our expert panel each named a fun memory they have with their dad, and it turns out these activities are doable for any guy.
Who doesn’t love a mega slip-n-slide, busting out of school for a road trip, or a daddy-daughter dance? Simple things mean a lot.
Some planned experiences don’t always turn out like we intend, but they still leave lasting, fun memories. Hannah ribs me for shopping with her, being over-protective, and wanting her to wear “17th-century” style dresses. So maybe I’m not the best shopping partner, but we still have fun together. The girls recount those goofy things dads do like getting the words wrong to the latest song or crashing remote-control helicopters. Some of their most special memories are just goofy, simple things. Hannah and I go on “hey rides” – you kind of have to be there. Lydia’s dad invented “camo sardines” – complete with paint-on beards, and Jessica watches late-night documentaries with her dad – while making fun of all the characters. See – nothing complicated, just a little time and effort.
Now let’s switch gears and discuss what makes our daughters feel angry.
Ephesians 6:4 gives us direction. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
This can be a tough spot. Sometimes it seems that what we do in attempt to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord is exactly what makes them angry. Hannah recounts that she gets frustrated with me when she feels I am being overprotective. Even though I have her best interest in mind, it can rub her the wrong way. My wife, Stacy, has had to remind me to deal gently with Hannah. It’s a little different from handling our 3 sons, and it isn’t always easy for a dad to do. I’ve had to learn to hold her heart tenderly. This is crucial, because as dads we are exemplifying for them what a man should be. She is watching how you guide and lead yourself and your family. She is observing how you invest in the Word and then invest what you’ve learned into your family. As Lydia so wisely states…
“If he’s not leading in a godly way, then what is leadership?”
So How Can you Engage your Daughter’s Heart?
Dr. Michelle Watson, author of Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You, says the way to your daughter’s heart is by opening up dialogue. “When we open our mouth, we open our heart.” Our expert panel seems to agree that quality time is key to their successful daddy-daughter relationship. This includes the way their dad interacts with them, taking the time to talk and intentionally lead, as well as decision-making guidance. Dr. Watson provides clear and easy to read chapters to take dads from point A to point B. She found that dads would rather do nothing than get it wrong, but they want to know how to get it right. We seem to get it right outside the home, whether it’s in business or sports, and Dr. Watson’s book deals with helping us bring those skills into the home and into our families where we can lead as God intended.
Ultimately, if God brings a man alongside your daughter to marry, someday you’ll be walking her down the aisle. Dad, she is looking at you to see what a marriageable man looks like. How do you lead your family? How can you be direct and not passive? Are you intentional about seeking the Lord and His Word in your life and your family’s life? What does she see when she looks at you? It doesn’t require perfection to show your daughter you care, only pursuit of her heart. Before you place her hand in another man’s, and her relationship with her husband becomes the priority, develop that deep relationship that will carry on even when roles change. Lord-willing, you will get to hear her say, “Thank you, Dad.”
For more information from Dr. Michelle Watson on what your daughter needs from you, visit her free resources page.