Having a daughter is one of the most rewarding and terrifying things you can ever do in life. I had no idea what a life-changing event had taken place when I first laid eyes on my baby girl. I was thrilled, yet part of me was completely horrified because I knew that in just about ten years, my little one was going to treated strangely by all types of guys, figuring out how to interact with girls.
How do girls learn about boys and how do boys learn how to treat girls?
When my daughter was still under two years old, I read a book by James Dobson on raising daughters and there was one main takeaway from that book that changed my life. Dobson stated, the number one thing fathers can do to prepare self-confident daughters is simply by spending significant time together. The amount of time is part of it, but more importantly making the time spent together significant.
It was this basic premise that changed my life and way of approaching raising my girl. I had to re-evaluate my priorities and allow myself the acceptance that during this short period in my life, I was going to make time with her (and ultimately time with my kids) a huge priority in my life. This meant evaluating what might hold me back from spending time with my kids.
Quickly, I re-evaluated low hanging fruit where I could grab chunks of time quickly.
– Social media
At the same time, I was intentional about things I know were positive time consumers in my life and I would not be able to shrink without hurting my ability to be a valuable member in society:
– Reading / Educating myself
– Serving through my work life
It sounds easy to just get rid of television, social media, and gaming, but you may not be surprised to know that these are some of more addictive activities. Like trying to quit smoking, the body will literally crave the feeling. I say this, because some may try a similar approach, but find themselves getting stuck for the first few weeks as the body tries to resist the change in activities. Just push through it, the other side is seriously much better.
Now, eight years later, I realize not only how important my decision to refocus my time was during the early years, so that I could be present with my children, but it also sent a powerful message to my kids. It demonstrated to my kids that life is much more than looking at a screen (TV, device, or gaming). Our kids are so influenced by what they see us do.
I am not perfect in the sense that I completely avoid using my device to watch anything. My 4-year old son is quick to see me when I am watching and immediately comes to ask, “what are you watching?” It reminds me that they are watching and noticing. Now, I find myself thinking, is this a clip I want my kids to see and care about more often. It reminds me to be very careful about the quality of material I click on as well.
It takes an effort every day, to live with an intention to serve your family in the best possible way. Starting your day with a reminder that you have an important purpose this day, and that a big goal may be to teach your kids everything they need to know about boys, so that they are not seeking the answers in the wrong places later in life.
What that looks like to you may be different from the next person, but I urge you today, remember that your kids will not only learn what all boys are like from the way you live, but will even relate their beliefs in a heavenly father by your modeled life. None of us are perfect, but take a moment to re-commit to your kids and yourself that you will live this day with the purpose of modeling a behavior that shows your kids what real boys and real men look like…so that our girls will be seeking someone just like you, and our sons will be modeling that same behavior.