How to Become the Supportive Dad Your Daughter Needs
February 28, 2019 • Parenting • By Rob Teigen
My girls are growing up fast. Before my eyes, they have transformed into a writer and photographer. An artist and singer. A missionary and worship leader. I’m in awe of who God has created them to be. My personal challenge has been to become the supportive dad each of my daughters has needed along the way.
I shared my thoughts on this part of the journey as a dad in A Dad’s Prayers for His Daughter—Praying for Every Part of Her Life. Today I’m sharing these thoughts with you as a reminder for both you and me to get behind our girls 100 percent.
Since you are an intentional creation of God, this means you don’t create your life’s mission, you discover it! When you adopt this perspective, life becomes a journey of discovery, an adventure into meaning and personal mission.
God has graciously blessed every believer with gifts and talents. It’s exciting to see those abilities come to light in my daughters as they grow. I know I felt excited and proud when my oldest daughter performed a solo in the winter choir concert at school. It was great to see my youngest daughter’s writing assignment receive admiration from her teacher. It does my heart good to see my middle daughter reaching out to the special-needs students at her school. Every dad feels that sense of satisfaction when he sees his daughter’s gifts taking shape before his eyes.
I love praying for my daughters in this area. I celebrate how God has made each of their personalities unique. If you have more than one child, you’ve probably scratched your head wondering how children coming from the same parents can be so different from one another! It confirms they are the handiwork of God—if we were the ones creating them, they would be cookie-cutter similar and we’d make them just like us!
It’s important to keep in mind that God is the source of our daughters’ interests, gifts, and abilities. He’s the one who gives them the desires of their hearts (Psalm 37:4) and who will finish the work of making them who they are designed to be. (Philippians 1:6)
By God’s design, we dads are included in the work He is doing in our daughters’ lives. We get the privilege of discovering all the wonderful qualities he has made. We share in their adventures as they try new things. And we get to provide support for them to grow their talents and find opportunities to use them. Through prayer, we can ask God for guidance in how to foster confidence as our girls take on new challenges. We can remind them that they’re special in God’s eyes when they feel inferior. He can show us how to help in concrete ways—paying for lessons, coaching teams, building a work space—so they can develop their gifts wholeheartedly.
Another powerful prayer is to ask God to guard my daughter’s heart. When she’s tempted to work for her own success and glory, he can reveal how to use her gifts for him. He intends for her to serve and bless others with the abilities she’s been given–not use them to impress other people and achieve her own selfish gain.
In this area, my example is key. When I serve, am I looking for gratitude from other people? Do I work hard at my job just to impress my boss and make more money? Am I more interested in drawing attention to myself, or to the One who created me? If my daughter sees a humble, giving heart in her dad, she’ll be encouraged to care for others too.
My daughter lives in a world that will define her by her success, her looks, and her “likes” on social media. We idolize entertainers, obsessed with the personalities and lifestyles of celebrities. It seems like girls play “rock star” more than they play “house” or “teacher” these days. Girls are told their value comes from beauty and trophies instead of the fact that they’re created by God himself. I can help my girl to remember the source of her gifts by continually pointing her to the Lord. When she wins the game or gets the part in the play, I can lead her in prayers of praise for what God has enabled her to do by his strength.
As a dad I can also encourage my daughter by reminding her God made her unique in order to bless her. That can be hard for the girl who’s been given academic ability when other kids call her a nerd or the teacher’s pet. Or for the child who is taken advantage of for her generous heart that loves to share with others. If my daughter has been given an extra measure of compassion for the outcast, she can find herself shut out by the popular group. My daughter will need courage to exercise her gifts when they aren’t valued by others around her. I can walk beside her, continually prompting her to trust God while he reveals his amazing purposes for her life.
To be effective in this way, I have to face my own temptation to take control over my daughter’s goals and plans. I can become so caught up in my dreams for her that I fail to place her future fully in God’s hands. If our interests and personalities are opposites in certain ways, I need to give my daughter freedom to be herself.
Holding back from pushing her into activities that I enjoy.
Validating her for who she is instead of criticizing her personality.
And cheering her on even if ballet recitals put me to sleep!
I love that I can run to the Lord in prayer when I’m losing sight of how unique and wonderful she really is.
Celebrate your daughter as a creation of God. She is fearfully and wonderfully made; I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy,
to offer your bodies as living sacrifices,
holy and pleasing to God—
this is your true and proper worship.
… For just as each of us has one body with many members,
and these members do not all have the same function,
so in Christ we who are many form one body,
and each member belongs to all the others.
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.
If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;
if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;
if it is to encourage, then give encouragement;
if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently;
if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
(Romans 12:1, 4–8)
Check it out for more insight and prayers for you and your daughter: