A Daughter's Thoughts

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we need to hear our daughters’ thoughts to love them well and honor who they are.

By ty bryant, Perimeter School dad, and lily bryant, perimeter school eighth grade student

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”

Psalm 127:3-5

Loving our daughters

Daughters… I have four of them. Each is uniquely designed by God to be mine. Each is beautiful beyond words to me (her dad). Each needs and wants to know that I have her back, would go to the ends of the earth for her, and that I am here to be an ever-so-imperfect reflection of God’s fatherly love for her. Therein lies the truth about our children, sons or daughters. They ultimately belong to Father God, and He has loaned them to us for us to show them the path of life in Jesus as best we can.

Just writing those words gets me a little misty-eyed. I am someone who loves to make others laugh, and I try to find humor in all that I can. Yet, as much as I believe laughter is good for the soul and feel it is my mission to try and bring joy and hilarity to as many people as possible, when it comes to my girls, it is time to get serious (at least for now).

That is why my oldest daughter, Lily, and I enjoy getting to attend the Father Daughter Dance at Perimeter School together. I love that I truly get to focus on her - from what she wears, to where we go to eat, to dancing with her. It is a special time for the two of us. 

A Daughter’s thoughts

To be as authentic as possible, I asked Lily, who is a Perimeter School eighth grade student, to share her thoughts on our father-daughter relationship… the good and the bad.

After all, we need to hear our daughters’ thoughts if we want to love them well and honor who they are to us.

I hope what Lily says encourages you, like it did me, to look at how you interact with your daughters and truly engage their hearts.

I believe a good relationship with my dad is such an important thing in my life! Daughters look up to their dads and see a strong role model. What I see in my dad is what I will think is normal in the man I may choose to marry one day because that type of man has been modeled to me through him. I know my relationship with my dad will play a big role in relationships later in life, so it is important to spend time with him and learn from him, even at times when I may have to give up doing something else just to be with him. 

My dad gives me a male perspective on things. He helps in areas such as modesty, dating, and marriage. He may not always tell me what I want to hear, but that is okay. It isn’t his job to be my friend. It is his job to be my dad. Sometimes how he says things makes me giggle because he is so funny, but I know he says it with protecting my heart in mind. I love him for that.

A mom’s job is to show her daughter how to be a lady, but a dad’s job is to show his daughter how a lady ought to be treated. If you treat your daughter like she should be treated, she will know what not to tolerate in other relationships. Sometimes it seems like dads are permitted to be a little more fun than moms. If I were to encourage my dad in anything, it would be to take advantage of this ability to be have fun with us as much as possible! Also, as I get older, I want my dad to show me how to do things that are a little outside of my comfort zone - things like shooting, hunting, and fishing. I just want to make memories together. I am not sure my dad will ever hunt, but shooting and fishing we can do!

It is so important for girls to know that they are loved. Girls need to hear that they are beautiful, smart, talented, worthy, and enough. Coming from my dad, these words are ten times more meaningful. Daughters want to know that they are cared about. It feels amazing when my dad asks about my day or sits down and has a conversation with me. It makes me feel special to know that I have his full attention. I love it when we go out together and talk without being distracted by anything like cell phones, younger siblings, and other things that come up.

Something I would say to my dad (and other dads) is sometimes it is enough for a father to just listen. If your daughter is crying, upset, worried, or angry about something, just listen. Don’t try to give advice too soon. If my dad does this, I know he means well, but this can make me feel like I am just wasting his time. It feels like he may be trying to comfort me quickly so that he can move on with whatever he is doing. Sometimes, all a daughter wants is for her dad to listen and maybe pray with her without giving advice or trying to quickly comfort her with words.

Allow your daughter to be a little girl for as long as possible. My dad is good at this because he doesn’t mind that his children stay “young.” Sometimes all a girl needs is to just crawl in her daddy’s lap and watch a movie or read a book together—even if she is in middle school or high school. Finding fun, special things that you can do together is a wonderful way to connect because it is something that is specifically for the two of you. This creates memories and gives a daughter a feeling of being cherished because you set aside this thing or activity just for her.

Finally, daughters do not like to have to ask their dads if they can spend time together. It is like a girl asking a guy out on a date or a girl proposing to a guy. It is just not the same as a dad taking the initiative. Do not wait for your daughter to ask if the two of you can go out for ice cream, instead surprise her! My dad loves to surprise me with a Starbucks run or even a CD he thinks that I will enjoy. I feel even more loved when he does things like this. If a daughter asks her dad to spend time with her, it kind of feels like he is only agreeing because she asked and not really because he wants to be with her. I never like feeling like I am a burden, so I prefer my dad to seek me out to spend special time with me. 

Well, folks. There you have it. My daughter’s heart. I have done some things right. I have definitely done some things wrong, but I won’t give up pursuing and engaging my girls as often as possible. Let’s make every day a metaphorical Father Daughter Dance and treat our daughters like the priceless treasures that they are!