How a Dad Can Love His Daughter

October 29, 2012 in dads and daugthers

Father/daughter relationshipsSweet moms, grab your hubby, today’s Mentor Mom post is a Mentor Dad. My heart is full to bursting as I remember this man and the influence he had in my life. He and his wife were there when I decided to follow Jesus and there to guide me in my first explorations of the Bible. He’s cheered for me every step of the way. Like me, he has two daughters, not much older than mine  and today he is sharing his father’s heart with us. If distance didn’t prevent it, I would send my girls to Bible Studies, crazy Young Life meetings and school lunches with this man who loves teenagers and God so wholeheartedly. I am so excited for you to meet Scott.

While driving my daughters to high school this morning, it happened.

I should have been ready for this as I have had this conversation so many times before. You see for nearly 30 years I been working with kids through a ministry called Young Life, a Christian organization that reaches out to high school and middle school students. I’ve watched first hand as many of my high schools friends asked their dates to homecoming, I’ve offered advice, I’ve chaperoned their dances and I’ve been hopeful that kids wouldn’t be hurt. Now my daughters were going to homecoming.

No one wants to see those they care about get hurt and those thoughts flashed through my mind as my daughters (one is a sophomore and the other is a freshman) informed me that they thought that they were going to the dance this year. I want them to experience all the good things of life, but I don’t want them to be hurt.

Over the years of being a ministry leader and a father, I’ve seen the challenges that young women face and I continue to be saddened by it. At a younger and younger age, they are being shaped by the world. From the companies that provide clothing and the magazines that tell them what to wear, to the music they listen to and media’s verdicts on the shape of their bodies, when did we allow their value to be determined by someone other their than their Creator? When did we quit whispering in their ears that they are lovely not because of what they do or what they wear, but because of who they are?

I whisper in their ears literally as often as possible, while snuggling on the couch or going for a walk. I pray with them so that they hear my heart and I am brutally honest with them even at the expense of them not always liking me. My love for them is unconditional–love I learned from Jesus who loves me in spite of myself.  They have such tender spirits, and I want the loudest voice that speaks into that to be God Himself. Even though they are in high school, my favorite part of the day remains tucking them in at night, telling them how proud they make me and reminding them that they are special. We should never get too old for that.

In Jeremiah 29:11 (The Message) it says, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”

And that hope is what I long to remind them of.  I want them to hear time and time again that I love them and that their value comes not in what they wear or who they date, but who they are, who they choose to be.  Every day they are making decisions that begin to define who they are and I remind them of this value every day at breakfast when they struggle with how they look, when they come and are feeling alone and when they go to bed at night wondering what tomorrow brings.  And what I tell them is that just like the day before, God is there, He is the one who can be trusted and somehow he loves them more than I ever could.

I still chaperone dances for kids in the ministry, although this dance will be one I will not be attending (I’ve been warned), so what will I be doing? Being an anxious parent pops into my head, but then, I choose to remind my daughters, before and after and as often as they will listen and sometimes when they won’t, that I love them, I love them, (insert pause here) I love them. That their value comes not in whom they bring to the dance or what they wear or how well they can dance, but their value is shown in the love of  Christ. I remind them of this daily as they come to the breakfast table, when they come home from school. I simply tell them that they are important to God.  My God, their God, has a plan for them and they can  trust in that even more than me…even more than me. I can live with that.

 

 

 

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Blond Duck October 29, 2012 at 12:17 pm

I’ve seen first hand how a father’s love can impact his daughter. My father was not close to me, but I know my husband will be great to my daughters.

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pruningprincesses October 31, 2012 at 3:40 pm

It can be tough to recover from an absent or disengaged father. I am so glad you can trust your husband to give your girls what they need.

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thedoseofreality October 29, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Such a lovely post. I am fortunate to have married someone who takes his job as a father completely seriously. Our girls are so lucky! 🙂

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pruningprincesses October 31, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Hi Ashley! Girls with great dads are truly blessed. Thanks for stopping by.

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homejobsbymom October 31, 2012 at 1:06 am

Well, my husband has two boys. He is an amazing father. I couldn’t ask for more.

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pruningprincesses October 31, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Krystie, I know nothing about raising boys but I am so glad your husband is a great father. I hear that raising boys is easier, especially after toddlerhood!

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homejobsbymom October 31, 2012 at 3:50 pm

I’ve heard boys are harder when they are younger and girls are harder when they are older. So far my boys seem harder than girls their age lol.

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Mothering From Scratch November 2, 2012 at 2:45 pm

{Melinda} I LOVE that .. beautiful. Just beautiful. And every word is true. I have such a heart and passion for seeing girls recognize their true worth. The world is so good at trying to steal it from them or tell them it is based on all the wrong things. Thank you for this!

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pruningprincesses November 2, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Melinda, I love this mentor dad post. I love it even more since it comes from a man who was a spiritual father to me. Reading his post almost makes me cry. So glad you could stop by–looks like you two are getting busier and busier.

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Melissa November 3, 2012 at 12:08 pm

What a lovely post and so important for us to remember! Thanks so much for sharing this! (stopping by from SITS)

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pruningprincesses November 4, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I am glad you enjoyed it, Melissa.

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Leelee November 3, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I think his girls are going to grow up to be fine ladies. Such great advice.

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pruningprincesses November 4, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Leelee, I agree. I haven’t met his girls but I know you are right. Thanks for stopping by.

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Ginny Marie November 3, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Such a beautiful post! I have two girls, and I know as they grow older there will be challenges. I just love that last paragraph!

Happy Saturday!

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pruningprincesses November 4, 2012 at 3:22 pm

The last paragraph is my favorite too, Ginny. So glad you stopped by and were encouraged. I hope both of us can pass on the message of depending on God to our girls! How old are your girls? I love raising two girls so close together (2 years apart at my house)!

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Kim November 3, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Laura, what a beautiful piece on the importance of loving our daughters for who they are. A positive and loving dad is such a blessing and a light in the often dark times of those teen years.

Speaking from experience, even when the girls act as though you and what you say doesn’t matter, it does. Your words and actions are stored in their hearts, and they are comforted by them even if they rail against you.

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pruningprincesses November 4, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Hi Kim,
So nice to “see” you again. You are the second experienced mama to tell me that even if the girls act like what I say and do doesn’t matter, it does. I am trying to store this comforting thought in my brain for the days when I will need its wisdom. And yes, Scott is a great dad. Sadly, I’ve never met his girls, but I know this fact is true from the life he lives.

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Kim November 5, 2012 at 10:52 am

I read this post from a friend this morning, and I immediately thought of you and all the other young moms, like all of us who were once there, as you wonder if you are truly up to the task of the parenting journey. It’s a must read!

http://exceptionalistic.com/2012/10/advice-to-my-28-year-old-self-melinda-at-auntie-ems-guide-to-life/#comment-2871

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pruningprincesses November 5, 2012 at 11:33 am

Thank you Kim. It was a great read. I think I will go Tweet it. And if you are ever available to guest post, just let me know!

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Kim November 5, 2012 at 11:47 am

Glad you liked it! Thanks for the offer, too!

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