Fathering a Daughter in the Complexity of this World
I’ve been reading a book lately called Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Meg Meeker. Some of the statistics this book spells out are truly staggering.
Within the last month 44.6% of high school girls have had one or more alcoholic drinks per day
40.9% of girls fourteen to seventeen years old experience unwanted sex, primarily because they fear that their boyfriends will get angry.
11.9% of females will experience forced intercourse
35% of all high school girls have had sad, hopeless feelings for longer than two weeks (many physicians call this clinical depression)
11.5% of females attempted suicide last year
The world our daughters face everyday is perilous. The only hope for our kids is showing them the love of Jesus early and that their value and worth stems from what He feels about them. I’m learning that providing a safe, secure, validating, and warm environment in our home and in my relationship with Natalia is the key to helping her make better decisions later. I am certainly not perfect at this. I feel like most days I’m getting it more wrong than I am right, but the following statistics from this book keep me motivated to get up everyday and keep trying with her:
Toddlers securely attached to fathers are better at solving problems.
Six-month-old babies score higher on tests of mental development if their dads are involved in their lives.
With dads present in the home, kids manage school stress better.
Girls whose fathers provide warmth and control achieve higher academic success.
Girls who are close to their fathers exhibit less anxiety and withdrawn behaviors.
Two weeks ago, Natalia’s biological dad and I stood next to each other at her soccer game. I know this is not the norm for many of those in blended family situations. I realize that at best awkwardness — and at worst concern for safety — keeps the parents of kids divided, not even wishing to be in the same room with each other, let alone standing together carrying on conversation about their mutual object of affection.
No matter the brokenness over the years that led us each to this position of standing on that sideline together, I couldn’t help but notice there was a sense of common purpose between Natalia’s dad and I. We weren’t — as the world would assume — at odds with each, we were fellow dads, fellow warriors, fighting on the same side of the battle lines.
We both wanted (and want) her to know that we love her.
We both wanted (and want) her to know that she is the apple of our eyes.
We both wanted (and want) her to know that we are here to support, protect, validate, cherish her.
We both wanted (and want) her to know that we are here to help her become all that God has called her to be.
Dad’s I hope this little post provides you the encouragement and motivation you need to get up today and engage. Put down the phone and ask questions. Turn off the TV and attune to your kids. If you feel like you’ve failed today, welcome to the club. Remember, there’s always tomorrow. And our kids need us to show up for them tomorrow.