With the birth of our second daughter, I (Michael) have been thinking more about my role as a father to these 2 beautiful little girls. I came up with 5 ideas that I want to implement in my relationship with my girls and I am interested in starting a discussion with other parents—especially fathers with girls—to talk about this subject. I want to hear your ideas and experiences.
1. Give them a safe place in an unsafe world
The world can be a scary place for anyone, but especially for little girls. One of my most basic responsibilities of being a father is to make as much of that world as possible safer for my little girls. Some of the most obvious ways I can do this are by working hard and by providing a home and life basics. But I also need to address threats to their safety and be constantly in tune with their fears and worries. In order to know what those things are I will need to spend consistent quality time with each of them.
2. Engage in Deep Communication
This is going to be one that develops over time. At 16 days old, Avonlee doesn’t talk much. Camdyn’s conversations usually consist of her repeating back to me what I just said to her with a different intonation (“Is it yummy?” “It’s yummy”). But she is rapidly learning new words and being able to understand more. So I need to be having as deep of conversations as they are capable of. I want them to tell me when someone hurts their feelings at school, or when they are scared. I want them to be comfortable enough to tell me if boys are treating them inappropriately. But, I also want them to tell me about the happy things they are experiencing and what they are excited about. All of that starts by talking to them now.
3. Tell Them They are Beautiful
In John and Staci Eldridge’s book Captivating, they say that the most basic question that a girl asks the world is, “Am I lovely, and are you captivated by what you see?” They go on to say that she asks it first and most importantly to her father. Already Cami Grace—not yet 3—is obsessed with “Prinpresses” (translation: princesses). She loves to dress up and look in the mirror. I could mistake this for simple vanity and discourage her or lecture her. Someday she may need that, but what she needs now is to know that her Daddy thinks that she is beautiful. And I do. So I tell her so.
4. Try To Be An Example
They say that women marry men who are like their fathers. While I used to think that that was just a silly idea, when I really stop to examine the choices that women make in their spouse it really is about dead on. So now instead of being a silly thought, it’s a scary thought. Camdyn and Avonlee are most likely going to grow up and be attracted to someone similar to me because that is what they will have seen their whole lives. If I want them to be attracted to loving, responsible, compassionate, strong and godly men, then I need to be all of those things.
5. Have fun together
It’s easy for me to get so wrapped up in my own responsibilities and hobbies that I push relationships aside. As a serious introvert, I naturally gravitate to the corner of the room to read or quietly do something by myself. So taking the initiative to do something fun for someone else is not what I do out of habit. But it is so important to create memories together.
A few days ago, Cami and I went for a walk together, just us. She had been at Grandma’s house for 2 weeks and she had started getting a little distant from me, so we needed to have a little time together to catch up. We went and said “hi” to the chickens and Lacy, and walked down the gravel road. When we got back, she was reacting much more warmly to me than she had earlier. That little time was really fun for her. It meant a lot.
Sara and I are passionate about art and design. We love renovating our farmhouse. But we know that our relationship to our family is even more important than those things. We don’t talk on this blog about our family to try to convince you that we are perfect or exceptional. We aren’t. We talk about our family in hopes that it will inspire you in some small way.
If anything in this post spoke to you, leave a comment below and start a conversation with me.