It was like a punch in the gut. His wife shared that their daughter saw him as unapproachable sometimes - She had expressed a feeling of intimidation through his voice and demeanor. The little girl Dad cherished so much was not even comfortable in talking with him. He anticipated the father-daughter relationship might get strained during the teenage years but not to this degree.
The blessing was that she voiced her fear to her mother. Often times the home environment is not conducive to such honest expression with either parent and such feelings can go unresolved for years. In this case, Dad had some work to do. He was an intense guy – competitive and hard working. He had not realized how he carried that intensity forward in the home at times through his eyes and voice. Dad had to take responsibility for the status quo and be more intentional in his efforts to relate well with his daughter.
Do not exasperate your children; Instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4. The second half of this passage addresses the first – bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. What “training and instruction” is Paul talking about? Deuteronomy is a good reference: These commands I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. - Deut.6:6-7; and Malachi: Did He not make them one (in marriage), with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. – Mal.2:15. Every dad is responsible for training and instructing the next generation in the way of the Lord. This is primarily done through example. A daily walk with Jesus the Christ and a day-to-day living out of that relationship in marriage is paramount in raising godly offspring. When busy-ness or divorce impede that relationship, confusion can result. Kids do catch what mom and dad have.
The dad made an intentional effort to keep the pressures of the day from following him into the home. If his intensity began to show through, Mom had a secret signal to help him manage it. Other initiatives to improve the father-daughter relationship included dating her once a month and committing to an annual father-daughter outing – a weekend retreat or another getaway. Their relationship made a turn for the better. Faithful Fathering has two ‘open’ retreats this fall for dads with teenagers – the father-son Adventures for Life weekend November 30 – December 2nd; and a father-daughter Being There weekend December 28–30th. Commit a weekend to invest quantity time that will yield quality results in relationship with your daughter or son. Click on faithfulfathering.org/connect1 and scroll down on that page to view these opportunities.
Prayer guide: Father, thank You for Your word and Your patience with me. I am a competitive guy and I feel I am in a battle for my family every day. I have allowed my intensity to interfere with relationships in the home. Forgive me Lord. You call me to be Your representative in family and be engaged in raising my daughter with an understanding of what relationship with You looks like. Help me visibly live my relationship with You in marriage and reflect it in relationship with our daughter. That is the dad You call me to be, and that is the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father is intentional in efforts to relate well with his daughter.