A message to fathers: How to love your daughters

7 10 2013

IMG_5450rvIt may not be what you think.

Little girls need snuggles and daddy-hugs. So do big girls. Little girls need to be told they’re beautiful. So do big girls.

Little girls need to know you delight in them and are proud of them and will protect them and care for them. So do big girls.

Now, more than ever.

Your daughters are facing an epidemic-level crisis like none we’ve ever faced. And the only person who can help is you.

Are you paying attention now?

It’s not what you think. It’s not the economic depression. It’s not the government shut-down. It’s not conflict in the Middle East or natural disasters or sky-high college loan debt. She’ll talk to you about those. She won’t tell you about this one. Not in so many words. So I’ll tell you my generation of Christian women and girls’ best-kept secret.

We are facing a missing generation. The Lost Boys, who never grew up.

They are missing from our pews. They are missing from the mission field. They were told in Sunday school, “Sit still.” They were told in high school, “Sit still.” And they’re still sitting.

Except for a few. When they saw the first glint of freedom they ran – and never came back.

We daughters of the Church grew up. Pursued our dreams. Got educated. Got a job. Changed from the ugly duckling into the proverbial swan. Finally, we thought, we are ready – ready to marry our prince and have cute babies and call our mom when the meatloaf burns.

And we looked around and realized: “Where are all the men?”

The truth stared us in the face. The Lost Boys are still lost. Still playing hero instead of learning how to be the real thing. Still sitting, just like they were told. They’re lost in a million realities and comforts and ambitions and fantasies, with no one to show them how to be the real deal.

Who will call them out? Who will invest in them and teach them how to be men?

We can’t. But you can.

The best practical way to love your daughter in this crazy, upside-down world is to love boys into men. I feel there has never been a time when the lost art of mentoring is less valued or more needed. With more and more children growing up fatherless, someone has to stand in the gap.

Someone has to lead the way. No more excuses.

What kind of person do you want marrying your daughter? Taking care of her? Pledging life and faithfulness to her? You’ve paid for her to have the best education. You’ve gone to her t-ball games and ballet performances. You’ve protected her and given her wings. Will you leave the second-most important decision of her life to chance? Teach boys to be men. You may be mentoring your future son-in-law.

Our generation of young women will thank you. Your daughter will thank you. And she will be loved well, long after you are gone.