Dad, Help Your Daughter Find Her Voice

I’ve heard it said that communication is 7%percent words, 38% tone of voice, and 55% body language.

If you do the math, you’ll see that this means that 93% of communication is nonverbal.

How’s that for significant? This little statistic serves as a reminder that as a reflective listener, we often say more by what never comes out of our mouth.

Think back to a time when your daughter tried to tell you something when you weren’t fully dialed in. Then (in your estimation) she reacted in a way that seemed entirely inappropriate to the situation. And there you were, completely dumbfounded because you had no idea how she leapt from a zero to ten in intensity over something seemingly insignificant. At least to you.

Two words: nonverbal communication.

In his book Dads and Daughters, Joe Kelly talks about the importance of a dad tuning in to his daughter’s voice:

Girls tend to be a riddle to fathers. Like any mystery, the relationship with our daughter can be frightening, exciting, entertaining, baffling, enlightening, or leave us completely in the dark; sometimes all at once. If we want to unravel this mystery, we have to pay attention and listen, even in the most ordinary moments.

Why? Because a girl’s voice may be the most valuable and most threatened resource she has.

Her voice is the conduit for her heart, brains, and spirit. When she speaks bold and clearly—literally and metaphorically—she is much safer and surer.

Dads, I can’t underscore enough how intensely vital it is that you help nurture these qualities in your daughter.

I share below some responses from girls between the ages of thirteen and thirty to the question, What is something your dad doesn’t understand or know about you? What would it be like if he knew? As you read, listen to these girls’ heart cries to be heard, known, and embraced by their dads.

 

  • “I don’t think he understands that I can handle things by myself sometimes and that I’m not a little girl anymore. I also don’t think he understands that I don’t like the way that he asks to know things, and doesn’t really even listen to me when I talk.”

  • “I care what he thinks and I am not as stoic as I seem. I don’t know what it would be like if he knew about it, but it scares me to think about him knowing that I am vulnerable.”

  • “I don’t think he understands how I could have sex at such a young age, but also I know that he doesn’t know that I have had an STD before. It would be weird if he knew about the STD because that isn’t something a father wants for his little girl.”

  • “My dad doesn’t know that for about six years I truly believed that he didn’t like me. I felt like everything I did annoyed him and irritated him. I thought I didn’t live up to his expectations. I would tell my mom this all the time and ask, ‘Does Dad hate me?’ I wasn’t doing it for attention. I internally, 100% believed that he didn’t like me and didn’t want a relationship with me. It hurt so much feeling like my own father didn’t like me.”

  • “Something he doesn’t know is the pain that I will always have about some things in our family. I’ve told my mom about it, but I’ve never told my dad. I know he’d just blow me off and say, ‘There’s nothing I can do about the past.’ He always says that.”

  • “There are a lot of things he doesn’t know about me—just because we don’t talk that much and aren’t that close. I don’t share many details of my life with him. But on a bigger scale, I am not sure if he realizes how much his parenting affected me and how much he hurt me.”

Dad, do you hear the heart longings in every one of these daughters to be special to her dad?

This is a need, not a want.

My friend Emily is a wife and mother of two boys. While choosing to parent differently than she was raised, she tells of the pain she felt growing up because her dad “was always too busy for her.” She talks about him being around physically but not emotionally or mentally. He was a pastor and was doing “God’s work,” and she knew she couldn’t compete with that.

Emily recalls sheepishly knocking on the door of his office at the age of seven and being afraid that she was a bother to him. His responses usually confirmed her worst fears. Not only has she carried around debilitating fears like an invisible knapsack ever since, but her childhood insecurities have continued to intersect with every relationship throughout her life. She and her dad have come far in repairing their relationship. Emily is working on healing and letting go. She’s finding her voice. It’s beautiful.

Be a dad today who helps your daughter to find and use her voice.

 

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 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 Prayer for Our Nation and Families

 

Heavenly Father,

There has never been a time that we need to pray for families like we do now. Lord we see the devastation of the family structure in our world today, and how our children are paying the price. We come before You and ask that You would show Yourself strong on behalf of all families. We boldly and courageously stand in the gap for marriages and parents, asking that You would bring us back to Your perfect design for our homes.

God, we lift up marriages to You. The enemy has set his sights on tearing apart what You said man should never separate. We pray, O Lord, that husbands and wives would stand firm in the storms, that they would build an unshakable foundation on Your truths. For the marriages that have split or are on the verge of divorce, we pray, O God, that You would bring reconciliation to those homes. Help them to live according to Your Word when it comes to the role that a husband and wife should each fulfill in marriage, for this is Your perfect plan.

Father we lift single parent families up to You. We pray You would fill every need they have: physical, financial, emotional, and spiritual. Give these single moms and single dads the strength to go on and to raise their children in You. Help them not to lose heart, but to find unwavering hope in Jesus.

Lord we pray for blended families and all the dynamics that come with that. We pray for the parents to co-parent together and to love those children unconditionally, whether they are their biological children or not. We pray for peace between these homes and the homes of the other parents, that the children would not grow in strife, but in love, wherever they are at.

And Father, we ask that You forgive our nation for the grave sin of creating our own versions of what we say marriage and family should look like. God, we ask that You forgive our land and that the Church would rise in not only proclaiming Your truths for all, but that it would be a safe place for our families to attend and grow in those truths. Help us, O Lord, to see these families as You see them: as priceless investments in Your Kingdom.

We ask all these things in Jesus’ name, amen.

 

If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray
and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NASB)

The National Day of Prayer is Thursday May 4—how will you pray for families today? 

 

Written by Matt Haviland of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry. Originally posted at 1Corinthians13Parenting.com.

Absolute Trust Through Uncertain Times

It’s a familiar story to most of us—the first miracle of Jesus’ ministry.

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now” (John 2:1-10).

Jesus and His mother Mary were among the guests at a wedding in Cana. In the midst of the celebration, Mary came to Jesus and simply told Him: “They have no more wine” (v. 3). As a mother myself, I wonder what she really expected Him to do. Whatever response she was looking for, obviously she knew Jesus would take care of it.

Now don’t miss Mary’s remarkable words in verse 5: “Do whatever He tells you.” Oh, to have that kind of faith and trust in Him. To know that, no matter the situation, no matter the circumstance or the problem, you can trust Him.

Do what He says. Follow His instructions. Let Him handle it. As you ponder the details of your life, family and work, just do what He says. Trust Him. Walk in step with Him. Let Him take care of whatever it is you need.

 

Brenda Harris is a student of God’s Word…and a wife, mother, and grandmother! She loves uncovering truths and promises in Scripture. Brenda serves as prayer coordinator for Kendrick Brothers Productions.