Tagged: daughters

A few times over the last few months I’ve mentioned the approach Ive taken to my teenage girls discovery of “boys”. A few times, you men out there have asked me to write down my thoughts:- So here it is. My guide to handling your daughters boyfriend without needing to get a shotgun license…

In the build up to facing what is every Dads worst nightmare, I asked a few people I knew what they had done when a testosterone laden, hormonally driven, sex crazed teenage boy turned up on the doorstep to take their daughter out.

(Note to any women reading this:- no this isn’t a stereotype and I’m not being shallow or over the top. I was a teenage lad once. I know what was on my mind and it wasn’t a game of charades or shopping).

Mostly people told me that they wanted to try and be the teenage boys friend. FRIEND?!?! WHAT?!?! I don’t want to be his friend. I want to be inside his head with a sense of Godly unpredictable menace. I want him to think of me when his hormones are telling him to do things that he really shouldn’t be doing. I also want him to think about things other than sex. Such as being caring, tender, honoring and respectful. So, as with all good Dad skills, I decided to head off “tango one” at the pass.

(Tango one being the code word for any boyfriend. For those that don’t know what Im on about, its a NATO style designation for a target).

Firstly, I sat down with both my girls and said the following:-

“I know you are interested in boys but I want to say something now because I love you very much and my job is to protect you and care for you…even if that means you don’t always like what I say. In fact, because I love you, I’m prepared to say and do things that wont always make me popular with you, but one day you’ll understand. If theres a boy you want to go out with, I just want you to ask yourself a few questions:-”

1) Will he treat you better than I treat you? (tip here is to set an impossibly high and expensive standard. ;)

2) Will he put you first and think of you when you are out with friends.

3) Will he draw you closer to Jesus (My girls are believers)

4)  I want to have a pep talk with him that will stay between me and him unless he tells you what I said.

My girls thought this was awesome. Yes really! In fact, my wife Karen said that the girls felt loved and secure because of this chat. Daughters need to know that their Dads care and are involved.

So, the big question is, what do I say to Tango 1? Well. here it is:-

“Tango 1, thanks for coming for a chat. I just wanted you to know how precious my daughter is to me… I mean she is really precious and I love her more than I can explain to you. So with that in mind (and please keep that in mind) heres some things that I wanted to say to you;

When you go out, please treat my daughter with respect. Please honour her and put her first. Make sure she is happy and safe.

Please don’t get her to do anything she isn’t happy with..and if she says no to something…please bear in mind that she should only need to say that once and Ive asked her to tell me if you don’t listen to her or upset her because its my job to make sure she is safe and happy and I take that job more seriously than nearly everything else in my life.

Honour and respect are really important values in our family…so if I say my daughter has to be home at 6pm, what time does she need to be home? (Note that 6pm is the right answer technically speaking but the wrong answer from a Dad perspective. 5.55pm is the right answer as this means he is being wise and respecting the time request).

Oh and theres one last thing. Please don’t put your hands anywhere on my daughter where I wouldn’t place my hands. Thanks”.

So whats been the result? When theres been an issue we talk about it. My daughters boyfriend has popped round for a chat when we’ve been unhappy about something. The air is kept clear and my daughters feel safe and we all get on great. So far so good. But if it all goes wrong, they know they can talk to me because I wont and don’t go off the deep end. The boundaries are set but the dialogue is ongoing and constant.

All the best fellas… its a tough gig.

I was present at the birth of both of my daughters.  It was of course an amazing experience and far more exhilarating then the gas and air that I sampled earlier in the labours. (Just checking it was safe of course, much like Nehemiah and the Kings wine).

When both of them were born, I gave them a cuddle within minutes of the birth.  These were on both occasions profound moments. I heard a still small voice that I knew to be the Lords.  I had a distinct sense from God that He was telling me that they were in effect on loan to me. My job was to raise them and to show them Jesus through the conduct of my life and by sharing with them the things that we saw God doing in our lives.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  The kids have heard us row as well as seen us make up.  They’ve seen me get it wrong and they’ve heard me apologise to them.  I’ve prayed with them and at times neglected to do so because I’ve been away or taken my eye off the ball.  I’ve shared the stories of what Jesus has done in my life and heard them beg me to tell them another story…only to go for chunks of time when I have let it slip.  In other words I am doing my best but I get it wrong plenty of times.  One thing I have done is pray for them frequently and for a variety of things, including any future husbands they might meet. (I’ve been praying for that since before they were born!)

As part of our commitment to our kids development spiritually, Karen and I started to lead the Sunday school group they are part of.  (As an aside I really do believe we need more men leading kids work so I’m putting my time where my mouth is).

During one time of preparation for Sunday my eldest sat and read the bible with Karen.  For some reason, this gripped my daughter and she took it upon herself (she is 13) to read a page of the bible every night from Genesis until she finished it.  I tried to show her that there might be a more interesting way to do it (worried of course about lists of skin diseases and laws in Leviticus being a bit boring etc) but shes a single minded kinda kid and she wouldn’t hear any of it.

Several nights ago Karen find her quietly lying on her bed with tears running down her cheeks.  She had just met Jesus despite only reaching Exodus.  The word of God has power to change lives.

My eldest daughter has always been a character; a free thinker, artistic, willing to challenge and not one for the status quo.  Turns out Jesus was well able to work with that, despite my at times prayers of angst.

I share this to encourage you blokes;  Keep praying, keep modelling Jesus, keep your heads, spend time with your kids, let them see you being men of God, take your share in the responsibility you have for pointing beyond yourself to Jesus and remember, despite your fragility and weakness, God is sovereign  and your kids are precious to him too.