by Richard Mansel, managing editor
Parenting young women is a daunting and deeply rewarding responsibility.
I pray I have had some positive influence on three special young women. They have my heart and my love.
I came late to all of their lives but I treasure them as my own. Maybe I see them from a unique perspective, from entering the stage after the first act has begun. All three have the leads and I applaud vigorously until my hands are numb.
I recently saw a card that said, “Three of my favorite words are, ‘That’s my daughter.'” The author knew me well.
There is something uniquely powerful about fathering daughters. Fathers have so many conflicting emotions when we think of our daughters. We want to protect them and wrap them in a cocoon, yet we want them to become glorious butterflies to soar and enthrall the world around them.
Someone has said, “A daughter may outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart.”/1 Our hearts do indeed brim with love when they walk into the room.
We crave their attention and approval. Our arms tingle to hold them and to see their eyes dance as they look up at us, admiringly. Their kisses are like gold and we wish we could lock them away to warm us on days when we miss them.
Our daughters are a treasure that we hope to keep under wraps. We are astounded and uncomfortable at how their minds and bodies change so fast. After all, we are males and we know the way the male mind works and that terrifies us.
Our jealousies are a raging fire that will consume any male who wishes to turn their faces from us. We ponder how we can frighten them all away, but we know we cannot. Time will drag them forward and someday they will be on their own, away from our arms and protection.
Euripides said, “To a father growing old nothing is dearer than a daughter.”/2
We hold them dear when we can spend time with them and miss them when we cannot.
Fathers can instruct their daughters and arm them for the world in a way that Mothers cannot. It is imperative that we impart this knowledge to them, so they will be ready for the lies, obfuscations and games that men and the world will use against them.
They need to be prepared for the world that they will face, armed with righteous armor (Ephesians 6:10-18).
We need to be the type of men that they can look for in a spouse; a man of God, who exemplifies love, gentleness and strength. One who will push them to utilize all of the gifts that God has given them so they can make their world better by their godly presence.
I wish all daughters had fathers who were overwhelmed with love for them. However, I know that this is impossible because humanity is too weak and failing.
Society tells us that fathers are unnecessary but the scarred hearts of children know otherwise. Daddies are an undeniable force in the lives of children and a godly man can be something so wonderful that its force moves the world.
Fathers, I pray that you will be the man that your daughter needs and desires. If not, fight with all that you have to apologize and make it right. She may not accept it right away, the wounds are still fresh, but move swiftly because this is the only day that we are promised (James 4:14).
Thank you, my darlings, for enriching my life in so many ways!