Ever since the release of John Gray’s book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, many of us have been referring to women as “Venusians” and men as “Martians.” I realize that guys got the short end of the stick on that label in being called “Martians” (sorry men!), but regardless of descriptions, this book really does sum up the obvious: men and women are from two different planets.
And even though we’re living in an era where gender equality and gender fluidity are hot-button issues with the blending together of distinctions that differentiate our two species, my firm belief is this: As males and females, we don’t think the same. We don’t talk the same. We don’t feel the same. We don’t live the same. Our wiring is different. Our needs are different. Our priorities are different…and on it goes. In this post, I want to share the ABC’s of how to father your daughter.
How to Father Your Daughter
This brings to mind something that one of the men in my dad’s group said a few years ago. Andy wasn’t sure of the name of the original book title so in talking about the differences between men and women he said, “Women really are from Venus and men are from…is it Pluto?!” He didn’t say it to be funny, but we all roared with laughter. I told him that I actually liked his version better than the original!
Experts say that the distance between Mars and Venus is anywhere between 35 and 222 million miles while the distance between Venus and Pluto is actually three billion miles. Truth be told, this larger number is probably more accurate in reflecting the gap between men and women much of the time, wouldn’t you agree?!
For a lot of dads who are on this journey of intentionally pursuing their daughter’s hearts, after there’s been distance or challenge, they resign themselves to believing their relationship can’t be any closer than it is now. They inadvertently accept that the three-billion-mile gap is something that can’t be changed.
So I’m standing here shouting a message of hope to these dads—and to each of you—saying, “Yes, it can be changed…and healed…but YOU are the one who has to move your planet closer to hers.” If you’re ready to step forward as a dialed-in dad, either to take the first step or keep the proactive steps going, here’s a starting place for change that I simply call “The ABC’s of Fathering.”
I’m guessing that every one of you had a favorite superhero growing up. I’m also guessing that the reason you identified with your particular crimefighter was that he took action. Could you even imagine an impotent, lethargic, unmotivated, and distracted version of your champion? Of course not!
It’s the same with fathering. In order to be your daughter’s superhero, you have to take action to intentionally and consistently pursue her heart. And by “heart” I am referring to her core self that feels passionate and comes alive when being all of who she was created to be. You probably already have a handle on what action steps touch your daughter’s heart, but in case you would like an extra idea or two, action ideas include (but are not limited to): daily affirming her in written or verbal ways, showing up at events she is involved in, patiently holding her emotional reactivity, being present with your attention, listening fully, investing financially, and leading spiritually.
Be the man you want her to marry
The best way you can ensure that your daughter will marry a quality guy and not a dud is to model the kind of man you want her to walk down the aisle to. You communicate more about her value and worth by the way you treat her than any lecture you could ever give. Stated otherwise, more is caught than taught. Let her experience in real time what it feels like to be treated like a lady by you, the first man who held her heart and the one guy in the world who doesn’t have a hidden agenda in loving her.
There is a powerful Bible verse that says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is like a tree of life” (Pro. 13:12). This essentially means that if you make a promise to your daughter, keep it so she doesn’t have to live with unfulfilled or dashed hope. And the result of being a promise-keeping, heart-pursuing, truth-speaking, tender-loving, stay-the-course dad is a daughter:
Whose heart will stay open (the opposite of a “sick heart”)?
Who will be a vibrant, growing, maturing, life-giving “tree”?
Who will have greater self-confidence, more emotional stability, and succeed in reaching her life goals (all of this is confirmed by research)?
So there it is. Your “A-B-C” formula with an action plan that works if you work it. And there’s no better time than the present to kick these ABC’s into action in order to be the dad you want to be and the dad your daughter needs you to be.