Does your daughter say this?
“My father is a good man. He has worked hard to earn a living for our family and he’s been faithful to my mother. Still, I never felt that he really admired or wanted to be close to me. He was very, very busy doing what he did, but he didn’t have time for me. I felt like I was just here around the housed, but he often didn’t even seem to notice me.”
Where did that comment come from? It’s a summary of what many college-aged young women said. Let me explain.
40 college-aged young ladies were a part of a discussion. They were attending a semester-long program at the Christian-oriented Focus Leadership Institute. That program has had over 3,000 people, both male and female, graduate from it since it started in 1996.
These 40 women were a part of a discussion about their dads. And the most prominent comment made, was the one above. These were mostly girls who grew up with Christian dads.
You know, the kind of dads who are supposed to raise their children up in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). You know the kind, right?
Well, why in the world would the most common experience from these women, who were taken from all over the country, be the same? And not only the same, why was their collective experience so painful?
They were not from the same family, the same church, the same community, the same state, or even the same coast, in some cases. How could this happen?
Only one answer.
Well-intending dads were losing their daughters’ hearts…and didn’t even know it!
And wait. There’s more.
You know the crazy thing?
The discussion these girls were engaged in wasn’t even supposed to be about their dad!
They were told to simply talk about anything they wanted to talk about…and the subject just naturally moved toward their dads.
This study is referenced in James Dobson’s book, Bringing Up Girls. And in his book, he pin-pricks every dad’s heart who reads his book, that “almost all of them spoke of the need for greater emotional connection with their dads.”
I read that and I felt the rushing out of my chest like I had a balloon in my chest had just been popped with an sewing needle…all while The Rock punched me in the stomach.
Yeah, that’s what it felt like.
Because I knew enough to realize that probably all of their dads didn’t even know their daughters felt this way. If they did they would do something about it. I would.
And I did.
That’s why I started my father-daughter retreat.
It is the strongest way that I can think of, along with feedback from all the attendees since we started it seven years ago, to combat a dad’s greatest weakness.
What’s our greatest weakness as dads? I’ll explain in a way to make the point.
First let me tell you, I have had the quote at the beginning of this message said to me by many daughters. Only sometimes there is even more to it.
When the daughter has brothers, she almost always says, “I felt like my dad paid more attention to my brothers, and did more things with him.
So, what’s a dad’s greatest weakness? I’ll ask you a question to really bring it home.
Have you ever heard someone joke about how men don’t understand women, and you agree, as if every fiber of your being is sayin, “AMEN!”?
Well, if we don’t understand women, I mean really understand what it’s like to grow up as a girl, what makes you think you can “just naturally” give them what they need the same way you can if you have a boy?
We can’t. And that’s where our wives come in. They help us understand what’s important to our daughters. They pull back the Wizard’s curtain to reveal the needs that our precious daughters have. They help us.
And that’s why I created this retreat. To create something together that we could never create alone–the most intense expression of our love, mixed with God’s love, that a daughter could ever possibly experience from her dad.
And we take our cues from God, and how he deals with his children.
- We have a group dynamic–just like God created with the church.
- We have a ritual(with the bracelets which have both dad’s and daughter’s birthstones)–just like God created a ritual with communion.
- We have dads write their daughters letters–just like God has written us letters in the Bible.
- We have the dad always with his daughter at the retreat–just like God is always with us.
- We have the dad take his daughter to a protected environment, filled with purity and joy–just like God wants to take his children to Heaven, and to the next best thing on earth…the church family.