Esther has grown up quite a bit since this picture–she’s two now. But she still loves being with her Papa.
Now she is talking and talking and talking. There’s a funny thing she does, though. When Papa gets home, and she’s with him, she keeps repeating a little phrase. Over and over, she says, “Papa! Talk to you!”
She rarely says it to anyone else. I am amazed at how her little girl need to talk to her papa is showing up in that little phrase. Sure, she doesn’t really have anything “important” to say yet–she just rattles on about dogs or horses or whatever. But he listens, and she talks, and all’s right with her little world. If for some reason he gets distracted, she once again says, “Papa! Talk to you!”
I want to talk to you dads, and those who will be dads someday. I don’t think you get it, quite. I don’t think you understand HOW IMPORTANT YOU ARE. How much what you do or don’t do affects your daughters.
I’m not talking about big things right now. I’m not talking about things like, “don’t beat them” or “don’t abandon them” or “don’t abuse them” or “supply all their physical needs”. Those are important, of course, and there are tragic amounts (even one would be tragic.) of dads that don’t even do those. But for those who do those–that isn’t all we need.
It’s the little things. Only a few things, really.
I have talked to girls who are crying, inside or outside.
Do you know why they are crying? Not because of boys, not really. Yeah, they have boy hurts. Lots of them. But that’s not the real, underlying hurt.
The real hurt is the Daddy hurt. The, “Carissa, my dad has NEVER told me I’m beautiful” hurt. Sure, many other guys have told her that. But not her dad. And it is just NOT the same. And that wound runs deep.
I know. It doesn’t make sense. Why should a few words make such a difference? Isn’t she being overly dramatic?
I don’t know why it makes such a difference, but it does. Unless you really want your girl to go searching for some random young fellow to tell her that she’s beautiful (and then abuse that beauty), you probably should think about this.
If you’ve never told your daughter that she is beautiful and pretty, please do. And please really mean it. Don’t compare her to some fake super model. See her beauty for what it is, “flaws” and all, and appreciate it. I’m talking about her face. Her eyes. And her inner beauty.
Maybe you do tell your daughter she’s beautiful, and maybe she doesn’t seem to care. Let me tell you right now: SHE DOES. She does care. So much more than you know. Don’t stop.
Dads, please tell your girls they are beautiful.
And then there’s hugs. Our culture is so messed up that sometimes dads are afraid to hug their girls once their bodies are womanly. Please, don’t be. I know it can be awkward, especially if you were raised in a family that wasn’t “huggy”. But we need dad hugs. We just do. If you don’t want to do full hugs, at least side hugs. At least put your arm around her shoulders. SOMETHING. Even non-huggy girls need some kind of appropriate fatherly physical affection. Even if they don’t seem to care. They do. They really, really do.
Please hug your girls.
Protection. Girls need kind, caring protection. We want it. I know, I know. We’ve been saying for a long time that we don’t need it, don’t want it, can handle ourselves.
But it isn’t true. They may seem to hate you for it, and they may even say they do. But they don’t. Even when I have been most upset about my father’s protection, underneath I have been so grateful. There is something so special about knowing that your dad will stand up for you, will do what he can to make sure you are safe. There’s something about knowing that he won’t let guys mess with you. It helps. We need it. We need to be protected and fought for and wanted. You have no idea…
Please protect your girls.
And, finally, please be safe to talk to. Your girls still want to talk to you, even if they aren’t as bold as 2 year old Esther with her, “Papa! Talk to you!”. 😉
But sometimes you scare us. Sometimes we think our hearts aren’t safe with you. Sometimes we think that you won’t care. Sometimes we think you’ll think we’re silly. Sometimes we think you won’t try to understand, that you’ll just start in with a “cure” or with condemnation. Sometimes we are wrong. But sometimes we think those things because of our past experiences. I don’t know your circumstances, but I want to encourage you to do whatever you can to open the lines of communication. Let your girls know that you love them and want to hear what is going on in their lives. Listen even if it doesn’t seem important. The important stuff, the things we really want to say, will come with time. After you listen to the random stuff.
Please listen to and talk to your girls.
And… that’s really it. (Besides praying for them and leading them in God’s ways.)
It’s not really complicated. Just hard, sometimes. But SO worth it. Those things that I just said may make all the difference for your daughter. And they might make all the difference for you.