25 Things to Never, Ever, Under Any Circumstance Say to Your Daughter

Dad scolding daughter

I’ve had the privilege over the last five and a half years of fine-tuning my understanding of men through The Abba Project (If you’re new to the conversation, this is the dads group I lead in Portland, OR).

As a result, I believe I’ve grown to understand and appreciate where you as dads are coming from. The truth is that I really enjoy hearing honestly from fathers about what it’s like to be in your shoes, especially as fathers to daughters.

Through my conversations, what I hear repeatedly from men is one of two responses:

  1. Tell it to me straight with as few words as possible (a.k.a. get to the point!)
  2. Tell me what to do to fix it.

In an attempt to prove that I, as a woman, can speak in a way that is straightforward with minimal verbiage, here is my bullet point list of some exact, specific things that you as a dad should never, ever, under any circumstance stay to your daughter. EVER.


Why?  Because what you say will echo in her head and heart for all eternity and she will never forget what you say about her, what you believe about her, what you see when you look at her, and what you tell her is true about her. (And sadly, I’ve heard many of these examples in real life).

So with as few words as possible, here’s a list of what NOT to say to your daughter:

  • You are one high maintenance girl
  • You have always been the most needy of all our kids
  • Why do you always make mountains out of molehills?
  • You look like you’ve gained weight (never give her a nickname that emphasizes her size)
  • You got yourself into this mess so don’t come running to me…you have no one to blame but yourself
  • Stop crying…You’re being a big baby
  • Do you know how utterly ridiculous and nonsensical you sound right now?
  • Pull yourself together and when you can talk rationally and clearly, then come talk to me
  • Go talk to your mother…She’ll understand you.
  • I gave up trying with you a long time ago
  • How on earth do you ever expect a man to want to be with you when you act like this?
  • You are wearing me out…I don’t know how much more of you I can take
  • You drive me crazy
  • When are you ever going to start acting your age?
  • You are a spoiled brat
  • I have no idea how you have any friends with the way you act…the real you comes out at home
  • You are a selfish b#%*…can’t you ever think of anyone but yourself?
  • In my house you will act the way I tell you to act
  • Shape up or ship out
  • Do you want a taste of your own medicine?


  • What did I ever do wrong to have to deal with a daughter like you?
  • You are a big disappointment to me
  • You are a disgrace to this family
  • God must regret having made you
  • Why can’t you be more like your brother/sister?


I know we’re all human and say things we don’t mean. If you’ve ever said any of these things, go today and make amends with your daughter. It’s never too late to make things right.

You may think that she’s forgotten what you said because it was a long time ago. I assure you she hasn’t. Humble yourself, go now, and ask forgiveness. It will release both of you.

Let today be the day where the words you speak to her from this day forward are only life-breathing and not akin to anything in the above list.

And for the record, this is the first time you’ve heard me say that failing to say or do something means that you’re at the top of the class!

(Stay tuned for the counter position titled: “25 Things to ALWAYS Say To Your Daughter”)


Dr. Michelle Watson has a clinical counseling practice in Portland, Oregon and has served in that role for the past 18 years. She is founder of The Abba Project, a 9-month group forum that is designed to equip dads with daughters ages 13 to 30 to dial in with more intention and consistency, and has recently released her first book entitled, Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart. She invites you to visit http://www.drmichellewatson.com/ for more information and to sign up for her weekly Dad-Daughter Friday blogs where she provides practical tools so that every dad in America can become the action hero they want to be and their daughters need them to be. You can also follow or send feedback on Facebook at www.facebook.com/drmichellewatson and Twitter @mwatsonphd.

A Greatness That Descends

Real Men Follow Jesus

We were in the middle of a Sunday evening service when a drunk stumbled into the church. My dad was leading worship. The man staggered all the way down the aisle until he literally fell on his knees at the altar.

My dad immediately turned the service over to my mom, walked across to the desperate man, and knelt down beside him. As my dad put his arm around the man and prayed for him, the man began to weep.  As my dad entered into his pain, despair, and suffering, he was able to lead the man to Jesus Christ.  A few years later he would become one of his deacons.

From where I sat observing, I saw only a smelly, nasty drunk. But my dad saw a man without a shepherd, felt compassion for him, and entered into his pain. (Mk 6:34)

Your Love + Your Humility + Your Service = True Servanthood

Looking back, I now know what I saw at that altar years ago: greatness descending. You will never be as great as when you are descending, becoming a servant. If we are going to become truly great we have to have a greatness that is willing to descend with an attitude of true humility.

Paul wrote to the Philippians about the attitude of true servanthood. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Phil. 2:5–7)

The kind of servanthood that Christ—and my dad —demonstrated was countercultural. Descending is normally reserved for losers, cowards, failures, and the weak. Our society tells us to avoid this at all costs. Ascending is reserved for winners, heroes, the successful, the strong, and the proud. Choosing to serve others is weak!

There is a contradiction between the culture’s view and God’s view. The culture says, rise to the highest level of your company, rake in a lot of money, succeed at what does not matter and you will be called great. The only direction is up!

God’s view is the true way to eternal success: True greatness is not a measure of self-will or self-achievement but rather self-abandonment. The more you are willing to give up, the more you truly gain. Succeeding at what really matter is choosing to become a servant.

Just before the Last Supper, In John 13 Jesus demonstrated true love, humility, and servanthood to His disciples by washing their feet. He closed with this statement:

“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:13–17)

This demonstration by Jesus was not just about washing feet. It was about love, humility, and service. The role of the servant is not only the best way to live, but the only way to live. When you begin to practice servanthood, you live the way of the cross. You become a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable in God’s sight.

Servanthood is about position that is worked out after love and humility are worked in. It is how we seek to live out our potential and our destiny. When we demonstrate unconditional love, unapologetic humility, and uncompromising servanthood, we will live a life that will descend into true greatness.

Are you willing to lose it all in order to gain it all? Are you willing to descend in order to ascend? Moving down is the only way to become great in God’s eyes, and nothing else matters. It is not the best path to greatness; it is the only path to true and eternal greatness. It is only then you can imagine His possibilities!

By Dr. Dan Erickson, Chief Servant Leader, People Matter Ministries

Pokémon? Go, Go, Go!

Pokemon Go


This is not an endorsement for Pokemon Go.  I think it’s probably harmless.  I know it has gotten literally millions of young people to go outside and walk around. (That’s a good thing.)  And I know some parents and kids are hunting for Pikachu, Squirtle, and other Pokemon characters together. (That’s a great thing.) Apparently, the app already has more active users than Twitter. (And it’s only been available for a week!) For now, the downside of Pokemon Go seems to be that kids are tripping on curbs, walking into each other, trespassing, and venturing into unfamiliar neighborhoods. Like so many fads, a dark side will soon be revealed.  Mom and Dad, I recommend you use it to enter the lives of your kids. Even older kids. Even young adult kids. Just go ahead and say, “What is going on with this Pokemon Go thing?” Then, let your kids be your teacher. That’s a great parenting strategy. In the meantime, I clearly used the Pokemon Go phenomenon to get your attention. And now that you’re thinking about kids and summer, you’ll want to click on this little video I made a few years ago. It’s called, “There’s Nothing to Do.” Now go hang out with your kids!


What’s up with Jay?   I have 20 copies of Lifeology, my hopefully-amusing new book from Broadstreet Publishing. If you promise to zip through it — and within a week — give the book an honest review on Amazon, I’ll send you a copy. Just let me know.


Dad Talk- Manly

Rick Wertz- Manly

It was October 4th, 1997, on The Mall in Washington D.C. – I was one of over a million men attending Promise Keepers’ Stand in the Gap event. We listened to some of the nation’s top preachers & teachers challenge us on the many fronts of manhood; we heard of Jesus’ example of loving selflessly and sacrificially and were challenged to love our wives in the same way; we sang in force, “A Mighty Fortress is our God”, “As for Me and My House” and other hymns; we were on our knees with billfolds open to pictures of our family, praying for them; and we were encouraged and equipped in the word of God to Stand in the Gap for marriage and family, and for the Church. That was the first time I had heard with such clarity what it meant to be a man.

To put an exclamation point on the experience, the Lord worked through a stewardess on the flight returning a plane load of men to Houston early on October 5th, almost all of whom had been on The Mall the day before. After the safety briefing, the stewardess said, “Men, I know y’all received a lot of negative press for the gathering on The Mall yesterday. But I want you to know that we women love you, we love what you are doing and pray that you will keep on doing it!” Applause and Amens erupted. Then she made a request, “Would you please sing, ‘As for Me and My House, We will Serve the Lord’?” We sang, the plane took off, the pilot prayed over breakfast and I thought the flight might just keep going up to Heaven.

“I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.” – Ezekiel 22:30. Today there are many men standing in the gap thanks to the Lord working through organizations such as Promise Keepers, Robert Lewis’ Men’s Fraternity, spinoffs such as Men’s Life, That Man Is You and other men’s ministry initiatives in and beside the Church. Yet, the status quo still reflects much confusion around manhood. The challenge before us is to be manly, to stand in the gap and lead by example. Below are tips built around Robert Lewis’ definition of Biblical manhood as conveyed in his book, Raising a Modern Day Knight.

Tips to Be Manly:

  1. Reject passivity – do not tolerate the serpents in your life. Turn from temptations and turn to Christ;
  2. Accept responsibility – complete the education needed, get a job, get married and have children – in that order;
  3. Lead courageously – live life with the right priorities. Keep eyes focused on a growing, personal and passionate relationship with Jesus the Christ, live that relationship in marriage and reflect it in family, the Church and beyond.
  4. Invest eternally – Be engaged in raising a godly generation and keep an eternal perspective in this temporal world.A faithful father is a manly man that rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, leads courageously and invests eternally.

Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for men you have lifted up on the battlefront for manhood that have impacted my journey – Bill McCartney, Ken Canfield, Robert Lewis, Dave Peterson to name a few. These are men of You that have always pointed to You and Your word, not to themselves. Keep me under Your word and Your love on this journey of becoming the man, husband and father You expect me to be. Amen.


BHG, Rick Wertz



Prioritize physical presence

   Be engaged emotionally, and

      Lead spiritually by example.