(This is an excerpt from a speech Jamie gave at the recent Central Texas Fatherhood Initiative Tea/Ball for Dads and their daughters. Jamie is 18 and a freshman at Oklahoma Christian University. I know...I'm proud of my daughters)
How many girls do you know that can say that their dad is their role model, best friend, number one man in their life and also their parent? Well I can. I have been so blessed to have a dad who knows just how to treat his little girl. Girls need so much from their fathers. They need them to not only be their dad….but their friend as well. When I was thinking about what I wanted to talk about tonight I came up with a few things that I thought are pretty important.
First, it is really difficult for any girl living in 2005. Middle school and high school are hard enough as it is besides being bombarded with our culture telling us how we should look, dress, and act. Middle school is especially such a hard time for your daughters. They are no longer your little girl but not yet a woman. It is critical that you build their self confidence and support her in everything she does. Why? Because all the people around her are changing and she needs her dad to be strong and stable. Middle school was definitely the hardest time of my teenage years. Why? Because girls can be mean. They are all trying to “find themselves.” They read magazines such as: Seventeen, Teen People, etc. and want to be those girls. They will attempt to wear the short skirts and loads of eye makeup. They will do whatever it takes to get a boy. They will gossip. They will try there hardest to play the part of the teenager on the cover of the magazine.
Now what should a dad do as a result of this? He needs to be there for her, be her friend, compliment her, and encourage her. Encouragement is essential in your daughter’s life. A dad is a huge role model in his daughter’s life. She looks to you for wisdom, guidance, and assurance. If her dad isn’t going to be for her, then who is?
For example, in high school I was once on a team with a girl that I was pretty good friends with. She was one of our star players and won many awards in our district for her talent. After each game she would always go straight to her dad in the stands to hear his feedback of the game. Her dad would always fuss at her for not scoring more points than she did, etc. He never said "good job". He never complimented her for what she did do; he only focused on what she didn’t do. Her self esteem decreased with each conversation between her and her father. I always felt so sorry for her because she thought so poorly of herself. I mean her teammates encouraged her and complimented her on her achievements but all she really wanted was for her dad to say so.
Next, I think it is so sad when I go to school, the mall, or even church and see girls in such inappropriate outfits. The first thing that always pops into my mind is, "How could a parent let their daughter walk out of the house like this?" You as a dad have the authority to say no to what your daughter can and can’t wear. Use it. You as a dad need to be thinking of what is in the best interest for your daughter…no just what she wants. She may claim that her clothing attire is simply what is “in style.” That is no excuse. I am one of the most fashion conscious people. I love to dress in crazy outfits that are in style. You can still dress in most today’s fashion without stooping to the level of others who reveal too much and send the wrong message. What kind of people do you want to notice your daughter? What kind of message is she sending by her clothing?
It is said in 1st Corinthians 6:19 and 20, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.”
If we as Christian girls don’t dress in a way that will honor God then who will? We owe it to all the boys out there. We don’t want our brothers in Christ to stumble. My guy friends used to tell me how they wished girls would be more aware of their clothing. That is where a dad steps in…..considering he is a boy…he is able to tell you if your outfit is OK or not OK.
Last, spending quality time with your daughter is so important. Some of my most favorite memories of high school are those spent with my dad. Ever since I was born we always had what we called “special days.” A special day could consist of:
-going to McDonald's to get an ice cream cone
-Sesame Street Musical
-Texas Ranger Game.
These things were not only fun for us but gave us to opportunity to develop a special relationship. A “special day” usually occurred 2 or more times a month and would last from 30 minutes to 3 hours. They were not always expensive things but just things that gave us a chance to talk and grow. I advise everyone to have a “special day” with there daughter. It may sound as if we have the ideal father/daughter relationship. We have an amazing one….but it is not perfect. We have our fights and disagreements just as anyone else would. (to be continued)