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Dads, let’s face it: today’s world is tough on girls.
In my thirty years practicing pediatric and adolescent medicine, I’ve had many troubled, hurting girls show up in my office, suffering from addiction, depression, sexually-transmitted diseases, or teen pregnancy.
What’s the solution to this “daughter crisis”? It’s simple: stronger fathers.
In my new Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters Devotional, I help men draw on their God-given fatherly strength and tenacity to become the protectors, spiritual guides, and counselors that young women desperately need.
Trust me, dads: you have far more influence on your daughter than you know.
So where can you start? Here are five immediate steps you can take this week to “flex your dad muscles” and set your daughter up for the brightest possible future.
1. Take a few minutes and write out a list of your hopes and dreams for your daughter. Then make a separate list of the challenges your daughter is currently facing. Take your lists, review them, pray about them, and then set them as an action plan for your role as a father.
2. Make a special date with your daughter. Ask her what she’d like to do (within reason, of course). Then set aside a night or a Saturday and simply be with her. Don’t spend those hours checking scores on your cell phone or making work phone calls. Don’t zone out. Be there. Be attentive. Be fully engaged. Be all in. Nothing communicates, “You matter, you are important, you are my precious priority” more than a cheerful willingness to spend time with your daughter.
3. Teach your daughter the importance of compassion—and model it for her—by finding someone in your church, neighborhood, or community who is facing a financial or medical crisis. Together, deliver a meal; or take them some cash (in an envelope) and leave it secretly in a safe place where only they will be sure to find it.
4. Go for a walk with your daughter and take turns talking about all the things you are thankful for. Enumerating and expressing gratitude to God helps us cultivate a contented spirit. It gets us focusing on all the blessings we possess instead of all the things we don’t have.
5. Make faithfulness a habit. Here are a few habits (consistent actions) that can strengthen your relationship with your daughter:
I share many more tips on how to “flex your dad muscles”—and weekly devotions for the whole year—in my Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters Devotional, in bookstores now.
Meg Meeker, M.D. has spent over thirty years practicing pediatric and adolescent medicine and counseling teens and parents. A popular speaker and bestselling author, she works with the NFL Fatherhood Initiative and is a co-host of Dr. James Dobson’s program Family Talk.
Publication date: May 9, 2016