This was a Father’s Day email I sent to my child’s father in which I shared a request/advice on how to treat my 14 year old daughter coming to visit in the Summer. I share it here for mothers who have daughters with fathers living in another country, who may feel a similar apprehension about sending your child away to spend time with this significant person in her life, and being aware that the experience could go very wrong or very right, yet you have to do this because you know that father-daughter relationships are so important to your daughter’s self perception and how she relates to men in her future. In another post I’ll share how the Summer actually went, from my daughter’s perspective.
June 16, 2013
I pray today that you will have a wonderful Father’s Day. I ask that you will pledge today to always be available to G. (name withheld), that you will validate her worth by the way you speak to her, and of her. Understand that she is God’s entrusted gift to us, to you, to form into His Mould.
Pledge today to be firm but loving always, to guide and respect her, especially during this delicate phase she is in, between child and woman, a confused place that requires much patience and understanding, but much wisdom as well.
Just Enough Freedom
Don’t hold onto her too tightly. Respect that she has a mind, allow her to choose. Let her experience the consequences of some choices, for choices can teach a girl what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad. If you choose everything for her, she’ll never be able to stand up to those who would want to stand on her and treat her as a doormat; choose for her always, and she will learn that its okay to be controlled. Just be there to catch her when consequences show up. Catch her today, and you will not have to catch her forever, when the life-altering lessons from even greater consequences of her choices turn up later in life.
Let her make some mistakes, while you watch from the shadows. Our daughter must learn to survive in this world which is mean, and tough and very rarely is fair.
Treat her Precious
Pledge that you will treat her like a precious thing, gentle but not fawning, so she will know its okay to love herself and treat herself to the best life has to offer.
Be Generous to her
Don’t be mean and stingy around her. She may learn to be selfish and a hoarder. She will be hard to live with or at the extreme, know poverty, if she doesn’t learn to be a good steward with her money. A miser will never be blessed. Cast your bread upon the waters, the Good Book says, so that you may find it after many days. By your own deeds, show her that a bit of kindness can change a life, touch someone in need, and what’s more priceless than living a life that leaves indelible footprints long after you’re gone.
Share Life’s lessons
Share with her the lessons you have learnt in life. In doing so, she will not naively think that life will hand her anything on a platter because she’s lived an enchanted life. Share the wisdom you have gained, so that she may be wise for her own survival in this life.
Model Christ-like Example
If there is nothing we can give this child, I beg that you live a Christ-like life, so she will fall in love with Christ naturally. Keep the Sabbath holy, all of it, from sunset to sunset. No shopping on Sabbath evenings. Take her into the fresh air that I know you used to love, so she can smell heaven in the air and bask in God’s glorious creation. You live in America. Let her experience its beautiful parks, canyons and natural mystique.
Finally, and very importantly, take your daughter on a date, so she can know how a gentleman ought to behave with a lady. A dad is a girl’s first model. Be a good model. Treat her with gentleness, respect and protectiveness, so she can both feel like Daddy’s little girl and start learning the things she should look for in a future partner. Give her the gift of knowing, feeling, because sometimes hearing it is not enough, what it feels like to be valued, and treated like something of worth.
This Summer may be a pivotal opportunity to give her these infinite lessons that could change the course she takes as she prepares to step into womanhood. I know you have already started making this impact, and I thank you for that, but there is so much more to do as a Dad.
I hope you will not take these few words in the wrong way. I am sharing what has been impressed on my heart. I had an urgent need to say these things to you today. See this as a prayer and a plea from a woman who knows how much having a great Dad in her life could have changed her life. There are no guarantees in life, but the best we can do as her parents is give her the tools she needs to make great choices, and with God’s help, enjoy a happy life, with little regrets.
God bless you. Happy Father’s Day. Have a great Summer when she gets there.