And so train the young women to love their husbands and children. Titus 2:4
My daughter turned 15 this weekend and I have been having thoughts like… I am old… She is only here for three more years… How did this happen… How do I invent a time machine?
Stronger than any thought has been the reality that I only get one opportunity to raise my daughter. She needs me to model for her how a man should treat a woman. She needs to be encouraged and affirmed by me so that she does not need to find it in men. She needs to know I am a rock for her so she can face things confidently. My daughter needs me pouring into her.
It’s not enough to just be present or to buy her things or to lecture her with words of instruction. She needs to receive my affection. That means hugging and kissing her even when she acts like my touch is coming from someone with leprosy. That means telling her she is beautiful even when she says you are just saying that because our dad.
Even though this age is the most awkward for giving her affection she needs it more than ever from me. This is a crucial age. She is becoming a woman and change happens rapidly in every area. It’s scares me to death but I don’t let her see that! Only God can truly understand women.
It’s easy to feel a little edgy around our daughters at this age. Scared to do anything that would be awkward but our daughters still need their daddy’s touch. I have the power to create a place of security and peace for her with my affections. In the same way I can disrupt her serenity by being overly cautious and distant. There is something powerful about a hug and a gentle kiss that words just can’t convey.
One way a dad shows his daughter affection is by listening to her. Not jumping in quickly to fix it or judge her actions but patiently listening. Every dad longs to influence his daughter on dealing with boys, peer pressure, priorities, dress, work ethic, and choosing of friends. For us to truly be heard we have to earn it though. Sure you can force your voice to be heard but does it really influence? When we listen sensitively and patiently we earn our daughter’s trust and then our voice becomes powerful to them.
One of my greatest opportunities is to model for my daughter how a man should treat a woman. How I treat her mother will model for her the expectation, or lack thereof, she will have for her own potential husband. That means I need to be consistent, sensitive, trustworthy, caring, and engaged with my wife. As I lead well and love well my daughter’s expectations of what a man should be is raised. She is less likely to settle for a man who doesn’t show the same positive traits.
Raising a daughter is not easy but it is one of the most rewarding opportunities I have ever experienced. It is a great honor and comes with great responsibility. It is one task I cannot fail.