Every Girl’s First Hero
A note to the reader: When my wife and I were expecting our first daughter, Jadyn, a good friend handed me a book, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Dr. Meg Meeker. It really helped shaped my view of what my role was to be in her life, and I want to share some of it with you. It’s not my intention to only affirm those who have done it right or to stir up old wounds in those who have lacked this, but to provide a glance into what a healthy relationship between a daughter and her father can produce, protect, and propel.
Girls take cues from their fathers. Every girl wants a hero, and their father is most often their first. From their fathers, daughters first learn how to feel and think about drug use, delinquent behavior, having sex, smoking, self-esteem, and boys. A father’s love, leadership, and protection set the tone for his daughter’s life. Let’s take a look.
The first quality girls need from their fathers is
Love is voluntary. The love a daughter receives from her father is her starting point. Every male who enters her life will subsequently be compared to her father. Many daughters have recalled that the most meaningful conversations they had were with their fathers. A girl whose father spends time with her, listens to her, and responds to her in love will cause her self-esteem to sky-rocket, and she will be more assertive.
Girls with these kinds of fathers will have fewer suicide attempts, will experience less times of depression, anxiety, and withdrawn behaviors. Healthy strong connections between girls and their fathers cause girls to seek male attention less and can prevent girls from engaging in drugs, alcohol, and premarital sex. Paul referred to love as the “bond of perfection” in Colossians 3:14. I have learned that being the kind of father my girls need me to be means giving up my time and doing so without resentment. A girl cannot make her father love her; only a father can control how much he loves his daughter.
The second quality girls need from their fathers is
When a girl spends time with her father, she ought to leave feeling better about her identity. A father can help his daughter set goals and define her life’s purpose by raising her expectations of life. A good father is strict yet balanced with love and kindness. The greatest tragedy is when fathers surrender leadership, especially during their daughters’ teen years. Every interaction becomes a power struggle—not so the daughter can test how tough her father is—but to see how much her father really cares. This leads us to the virtue of humility where all other virtues begin. Humility helps us to see ourselves honestly and keeps us grounded.
A father who demonstrates humility can teach his daughter self-restraint and responsibility, to consider the needs of others. For a father to give his daughter leadership in her life also requires perseverance. She might become embarrassed at times and even believe she hates her father, but her father sees what she can’t see. Paul commands fathers in Ephesians 6:4 to “bring [their children] up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Whether young ladies realize it or not, they are seeking leadership from their fathers. And for fathers to lead well and strengthen the parental bond with their daughters takes a very, very, very strong will!
The third quality girls need from their fathers is
Secular society acts as if the age of innocence ends around age seven or eight. Studies reveal that kids will be exposed to seeing PG-13 and R-rated movies before they reach their teen years, if not in their home, in someone else’s. By the age of twelve, kids are being taught sex education in public school and learning about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Girls will be exposed to teen magazines and will begin asking all kinds of sex-related questions that make parents uncomfortable. She’ll be spending most of her free time (up to 6.5 hours per day) with television, music, and the Internet.
Fathers should be their daughters’ protectors against a culture that lies to her about sex and wants to deny her need for modesty. Fathers can help their daughters understand that women in magazines are not role models, and people who quickly judge modesty with a negative tone often have terrible self-esteem issues of their own. Fathers can offer some of the greatest protection by letting their daughters know how beautiful they are and teaching them not to place their self-identity in the latest fashion trends like other kids might do. Proverbs 22:6 commands parents to “train up a child in the way he (or she) should go.” Part of protecting is training! Remember, every girl needs a hero, and loving, protective fathers make the best heroes!
Girls deserve the best of who their fathers are: their strength, courage, intelligence, and fearlessness. They need their fathers’ empathy, assertiveness, and self-confidence. It’s the way God intended it to be. I’m inviting all my readers to share this article with your parents, have a family meeting, and if these fatherly traits aren’t already in place, I pray you and your family find a way to bring love, leadership, and protection into your family!
Chad Flowers is married to his best friend and teammate, Mendy. He’s a daddy to two incredible little girls, Jadyn and Keira, and one son, Chandler. He lives in Mesquite, Texas where he has a private practice as a licensed professional counselor and serves as pastor of Emmanuel Pentecostal Church.