What Daughters NeedNaima Lett | Blog | Thursday June 14 2012
DAILY DOSE OF HOPE – BLOG – NAIMA LETT
WHAT DAUGHTERS NEED
2 wks old. ©naimalett.com. all rights reserved.
To Dads, Dads-to-be, Dads-MIA & men trying to understand women, this one’s for you.
I woke up thinking about Father’s Day, which is this weekend.
I’ve made no secret about it: I’ve got an incredible dad. I also have a great father-in-law. My husband’s very close to his dad and is going to be an amazing father himself. My brothers are doing a slam up job with my 11 nieces and nephews. Nobody’s perfect. We’re all quite flawed, but when it comes to family, they’re doing something right.
Which got me to thinking: What is it? What makes them outstanding dads… especially in the eyes of their Girl Child? What did they figure out, whether consciously or subconsciously, about their children’s needs, and specifically a daughter’s needs?
There is one thing that they have all done extremely well that I think I can share with you. Here are my thoughts. I’d love to hear yours.
WHAT DAUGHTERS NEED
More than anything, we need you.
We need your presence. You are the first man we ever know, and whether you are present or absent shapes the rest of our world.
We deeply desire to be loved, and the only way we know whether you love us or not is how present you are in our lives. We believe that you love us when you show up again and again and again. Day in, day out, you are steady. You are constant. You are real. You talk to us. You want to know what we think and why we think that way. You protect us. You get involved.
We learn from you that either men are trustworthy and dependable or flaky and unreliable. You keep your promises or… you don’t. You show up to our dance recitals and T-ball games or not. When you travel for work, you call/Skype/FaceTime us, or find other things to do.
If you’re a military dad, we need you. We understand when you have to go and protect our entire country, but when your face pops up on the video cam, we light up, ’cause you’re dad!
If you happen to lose your job in the bum economy or you’re an artist scraping rent together, we need you. When we see you sacrificing and taking odd jobs to make sure that we eat, we see how much you care. We intuitively feel that you don’t put your dreams ahead of our survival, and we get it. We learn responsibility as we see you working daily and looking for work daily. We are so grateful for your provision, a home, food to eat. We crave security and when you provide a safe place, the rest of our lives fall into place.
If you’re in vocational ministry, especially at a church, we need you. It’s difficult to follow you in serving the Lord if your time with us is non-existent. If we share you with all the other people at church, at some point, we get some time too, right? And when we see you get down on your knees and pray, then get up and live like the One you’re praying to, including loving us like He loves us, and walking in integrity, we take note. We don’t forget. We remember your God.
If for some reason, things didn’t work out with you and our mom, we still need you. Because right or wrong, we begin determining who we are and how important we are based on your involvement in our lives. We learn how other men should treat us based on how you treat us. We pick up all these cues from you.
If you’ve hurt us deeply through substance abuses and dependencies and physical abuse and other dangers, we need you to make things right. We need you to get help. Then we need you to genuinely apologize and give us time to forgive and put the pieces back together.
And if you’ve been MIA – missing in action – or not as involved as you could’ve been in years past, it’s not too late. We still need you. We might be a little angry, and rightfully so, and it could take a sincere apology and time for us to get to complete forgiveness, but don’t give up. Keep showing up. Prove yourself faithful. Because, deep down, we yearn for a relationship with you.
We want to work through our issues before you or us pass on from this place. And if we don’t work them out, we wrestle with regret. If we do work them out, we’re at peace. Things fit into place. Some of us have already lost our dads, and it’s not the easiest thing to rebound from. So, if you’re still here on this earth, you shouldn’t be lost to us. We’ve still got time.
Nothing takes the place of your presence.
Whether birthdays or everyday, graduations or our wedding day, we’re looking for you, Dad, and for the love communicated through your eyes and your actions.
And our relationship with you really does impact our other relationships, including our spiritual one. It’s easier or harder to believe that there is a God who is our heavenly Father based on our experiences with you. Our relationship to God as a heavenly Father is so crucial that Jesus tells His disciples to start with that very relationship when they pray, and He assures them that God wants to give His children good gifts in the same way that you would give us food instead of snakes and scorpions when we ask for your provision (LUKE 11).
The only way that we know you’d give us good and not bad is if that’s what actually happens when you are with us.
Girls are just different. We’re different. We just are.
We need you. We need you around, or at least connected.
We may require a little more attention, a lot more communication. We just do.
We may ask 100 questions in 10 minutes. We have a lot on our minds.
And the more creative, yet honest, your answers are, the better.
Yes, we need your love. And the best way to demonstrate your love is to show up.
That’s what daughters need.
A great big thank you to all you dads who are raising us, loving us and showing up, well after our tiny patent leather Mary Jane’s have grown into not-so-tiny patent leather Jimmy Choo’s.
Please know that you still make a huge difference in our lives.
Love you & Happy Father’s Day,
PS And thank you to my dad for being so consistent and drama-free. You worked hard, you provided for our family, and you loved our mother fiercely and faithfully, every day, especially through cancer, until she went to be with the Lord. You loved us, disciplined us and helped us avoid so many pitfalls. You showed up with integrity. You came home every day, you taught us everything from how to read to how to drive. You modeled faith in action and you still do. You support our dreams in word and deed and your 4 children and 11 grandchildren honor you. We honor the amazing father and outstanding man that you are. Thank you.
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