Raising girls

Based on my learnings (and failures)…I’ve compiled a list of the things I believe all dads of daughters should know to make sure your influence is the best possible kind.

Yes…it is in a list format!

1. Know that from day one, she’ll always be your little girl. But you have to put in the effort to keep it that way.

2. Don’t assume or influence what her interests will be because she’s a girl. Don’t just point out flowers and dolls. Show her cars and LEGOs, too.

3. Let her help you around the house or with your work. She’ll grow up to be a woman who feels confident stepping up in the workplace, no matter the job.

4. Talk to her mom like an equal, not an inferior, and she’ll someday expect the same.

5. Show her your sensitive side. She’ll see that if she’s sensitive, too, it doesn’t make her weak.

6. Have inside jokes or games, just between the two of you. Trust me, she’ll remember them forever.

7. Encourage her to do the things that scare her, because you’ll always have her back.

8. Make her promises, and then keep them. The only heartbreak in her life should come from others who don’t know how special she is.

9. Show her the skills that you know well.

10. Ask her to show you the skills that she knows well and you don’t.

11. Attempt to understand her interests even when you don’t. You’ll teach her that no matter what her talents are — ballet, art or wrestling with the boys— they matter.

12. This is especially true if her interests are more “girly.” Teach her that her interests are just as important no matter what they are.


Don’t Leave Wishing You Would’ve Been Happy

When your life is about to end, all the difficulties you’ve faced suddenly become trivial compared to the good times. This is because you realize that, more often than not, suffering is a choice. Unfortunately, most people realize this far too late.
Although we all inevitably experience pain, how we react to our pain is completely under our control, as is our ability to experience joy. Learning to laugh, smile, and be happy (especially when stressed) is a challenge at times, but it’s one that’s worth every ounce of effort.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life – Proverbs 4:23

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things – Philippians 4:8 

Leading by forgiveness

Taking the lead in reconciliation after you have had a conflict with your wife or children is an essential aspect of moral and spiritual leadership in your home. Remember that Jesus took the lead to initiate reconciliation with you. He came to “seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). To follow His example you must do the same. This is true leadership.

However, are you the one who walks away and slams the door behind you when a conflict arises? Do you harden your heart or manipulate the emotions of your wife or children by your angry explosions or deadly silence? If you do, this is a sign of spiritual immaturity and childish behavior. You need to grow up and take the lead by humbling yourself to seek a solution. Take the first step by seeking reconciliation with anyone in your family when there has been a conflict. First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye”.

Is this the way you deal with the conflicts with your wife and children? Are you the one who takes the lead and steps forward first? Do you admit your fault and seek resolution or turn and walk away? Aren’t you glad Jesus took the leadership in your life to come and seek reconciliation with you? Begin to take the leadership in this area of your home. You will be glad you did.

Be Strong. Act Like Men.

Leading by service

Another very important aspect of leadership is being the servant in your home. Now you may be thinking to yourself, Why should I have to be a servant if I’m the head of my home? Look again to Jesus, your primary example! He demonstrated over and over again that He wasn’t afraid to get His hands dirty and to serve others. After all, He washed the disciple’s feet. Notice what Jesus said after He washed their feet: “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him”. Therefore, if your Lord and Master washed the disciples’ feet then it is not below you or your position as the head of your home to do menial tasks around your house.

If you say, “I don’t do diapers.” “I don’t do laundry.” “I don’t do dishes.” That is like Jesus saying ‘I don’t do feet.” Obviously, nothing could be further from the truth. These tasks may not be your primary job, but when your wife is stressed at the end of her day and you sit in the living room and read the newspaper or play video games and refuse to help because you have “worked all day” you have failed as a leader. A leader will follow the example of his Lord and get up and serve.

Leading by example

Love will also cause you to lead by your example. Jesus believed that His example was critical and acknowledged this fact. He told the disciples: “I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you” John 13:15. Paul followed Christ’s lead and also exhorted his followers to do the same when he said: “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” 1 Cor. 11:1. Can you say these words to your wife and children?

Being an example is especially important if you desire your wife and children to have a sincere respect for you as the leader of your home. Do you want your wife and children to simply respect you because you are the head of your home, or because they see your godly behavior, loving actions, and walk of faith?

Consider then, are you leading by example in your home? Are you an example of godliness in your speech, patience, purity, faith, your pursuit of God, personal discipline, and your commitment to moral principles? Can you say to your wife and children, “I want you to follow Christ just like I follow Him?” And when you fail to be the example, are you an example of honest humble acknowledgement of your failure? Anyone can respect a personal and honest admission of failure. It is only when failure occurs and there is a cover-up that your family will lose respect.

Leading spiritually

How can and should you spiritually lead your wife and children? To accomplish this task you first must be a spiritually committed man. It is obvious that you cannot lead anyone anywhere if you have not been there first. This is what Jesus meant when He reproved the Pharisees saying: “They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch” Jesus was using an obvious metaphor to illustrate that these religious leaders had spiritual blindness and could not fulfill their responsibilities of leadership.

Do you have the spiritual eyesight necessary to lead your wife and children into the kingdom?
To be this kind of leader you must do as Jesus commanded: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you”. Unless you take the lead to seek God first, none of the other aspects of your leadership will have any effect upon your wife or children. Why? Because they will see the contradiction between what you tell them to do versus what you are doing by your example.

The simplest and easiest way lead spiritually to your wife and family on a regular basis is to follow this principle: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up”
When you sit at the dinner table, or drive in your car, or at bed time, share what God has taught you. If God has planted His Words in your heart, share them with your wife and children.
Be Strong. Act Like Men.

Leading by initiating

The first thing love will motivate you to do is to become an initiator. Initiation is at the core of true leadership. A leader doesn’t wait for others to give him an idea; he is the instigator, the one who takes the first move. God’s love initiated a relationship with each of us and we have responded because of that love. “We love Him because He first loved us” 1 John 4:19. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost Luke 19:10. Jesus was the initiator.

If you love your wife as Christ loved the church you will become an initiator in your relationship. What do we mean? You will initiate the spiritual tone in your home. You will initiate prayer and family devotions. You will be the initiator in problem solving and communication to deal with conflicts or how money is to be spent. You will initiate opportunities to spend time with your spouse. You will take the lead in these and other areas of your marriage because you are the leader. As you do – your wife will come to realize, in a very practical way, how much you care about her and the well-being of your family. Your leadership will cause her to trust you.

Be Strong. Act Like Men.