For the last few days I’ve been working on a book that I’m writing to dads of teenage girls. As I’m researching the subject and reflecting on my experiences in 20 years of youth ministry, I can say without hesitation that a daughter’s relationship with her dad is much more important than most people realize.
Sadly, the best evidence to this theory is what happens when a dad isn’t there. Girls with absent fathers often seek male attention elsewhere.
It’s as simple as this: our girls need to hear they are beautiful. They need to feel safe. They need male attention and advice. They can either hear it from their dads . . . or they’ll seek it somewhere else.
Dads need to do more than just tell their daughters that they are beautiful; they need to treat them like they’re beautiful. This is much deeper than just opening the car door for them (although that’s a great practice). This means devoting ourselves to something that most men are terrible at: noticing.
Men need to learn the secret of noticing. This simple but amazing tool opens up doors in any relationship (marriage, friendships), but it works especially well with teenage girls because:
1. They crave to be noticed . . .
and . . .
2. Not a lot of people take the time to notice them . . . other than predators.
Scary thought, huh?
If you want to help protect your daughter from the vulnerability of predators, the best way to do that is to fill that void in their life with positive attention from the male that should be giving that attention in the first place.
Dads should definitely tell their daughters, “I love you,” and “You’re beautiful.” But they need to do more than just verbalizing it. They need to live it.
The best tool to living out those words is by practicing the art of noticing. Dads say “I love you” and “You are beautiful” in a more powerful way by simply noticing.
What about you?
What are some ways you can “notice” your daughters in daily life?