Some time ago, Steve De Keijzer told me a humbling but wonderful experience he had with his 16-year-old daughter.
Steve’s daughter had an assignment from school to write a story on a person who had a profound impact on her life. She chose to write about her dad. Steve’s story is printed in full below:
“My 16 year-old daughter came home recently and told me of an assignment that she had to complete. The assignment consisted of a written and oral presentation on a person who had a profound impact on her life. For that person she had chosen me, her father, as the one who had the most profound impact on her life.
This was a scary proposition for me as I was not expecting to be in this position. I had been expecting her to choose my wife.
Once I had got over the initial shock, I was humbled by the fact that she simply stated to me that she could not think of a better person to write about. It had not really occurred to me that I was a person to emulate and admire.
We, (my daughter and I) had to spend some time together recounting shaping factors and defining moments in my life. These were the things that made me who I am and shaped my belief system into what it is today. I explained to her that my greatest belief was that God is, and He wants to make and mould us like Jesus.
This is the basis of my whole belief system and all else builds on this foundation. This is where I get my moral guidance from, my opinions and beliefs are formed from here and I am a greater person as a result.
We then went into lengthy and wide-ranging discussion about factors that affected me and have shaped me. I explained to her that I have a saying that goes like this:
‘In life you may have been given a pile of rubble, but you can make a castle out of it’.
I told her many things that I had shared with no other person apart from my wife. I shared with her that I had a very unhappy childhood, and was unhappy until I met and married my wife who is the mother of my daughter. These childhood experiences taught me things that I vowed never to repeat.
One of these was that I would never give my children the upbringing that I received. Another was that I would treat my children fairly and equally.
I spoke to her of the handicap that my childhood turned out to be. So that when I left home and entered into the big bad world, my childhood did not prepare me socially, for life and the interactions with other people. I have had to learn all these lessons the hard way.
I told her too, how I feel that life is a learning process and we are all capable of changing, and one of the greatest things that I have is three children who love my wife and me.
During our discussions, I told my daughter that there is some school of thought that men are basically redundant in this modern society and that all upbringing, nurturing and caring should be done by the women.
I also explained to her that I don’t feel that this is the case, because good men provide a different viewpoint and therefore a greater, more rounded upbringing for their children.
Good fathers are responsible for their sons, but they are also responsible for their daughters and have a lasting impact on these lives too. My daughter gave the speech and received an A+.
I hope that this is of some assistance, because it has been instructional and very inspirational to me.”
Steve should not have been surprised by how important he was to his daughter. Dr Meg Meeker’s great book titled: ‘Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters — 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know‘ proves his point.
Men, good men: We need you. We—mothers, daughters, and sisters—need your help to raise healthy young women. We need every ounce of masculine courage and wit you own, because fathers, more than anyone else, set the course for a daughter’s life. Your daughter needs the best of who you are: your strength, your courage, your intelligence, and your fearlessness. She needs your empathy, assertiveness, and self-confidence. She needs you.
Our daughters need the support that only fathers can provide— and if you are willing to guide your daughter, to stand between her and a toxic culture, to take her to a healthier place, your rewards will be unmatched. You will experience the love and adoration that can come only from a daughter. You will feel a pride, satisfaction, and joy that you can know nowhere else.
The effects of loving, caring fathers on their daughters’ lives can be measured in girls of all ages.
Toddlers securely attached to fathers are better at solving problems.
Six-month-old babies score higher on tests of mental development if their dads are involved in their lives.
With dads present in the home, kids manage school stress better.
Girls whose fathers provide warmth and control achieve higher academic success.
Girls who are close to their fathers exhibit less anxiety and withdrawn behaviors.
Girls with doting fathers are more assertive.
Daughters who perceive that their fathers care a lot about them, who feel connected to their fathers, have significantly fewer suicide attempts and fewer instances of body dissatisfaction, depression, low self-esteem, substance use, and unhealthy weight.
Girls with involved fathers are twice as likely to stay in school.
A daughter’s self-esteem is best predicted by her father’s physical affection.
Girls with fathers who are involved in their lives have higher quantitative and verbal skills and higher intellectual functioning.
Fathers help daughters become more competent, more achievement-oriented, and more successful.
Make a date with your daughter today, no matter what her age.
What’s true for daughters is also true for sons. Do the same for all your children.
Dads are important.
Yours for strong loving dads,
PS: If you have been reading the Dads4Kids newsletter for awhile, you will understand that I am passionate to encourage Dads to be GREAT Dads, but I am equally passionate to encourage men to pray. We need help to be a good Dad, and that’s why it’s good to get assistance from a higher power.
Just like we need assistance as Dads, so our nation needs assistance from above. This coming Saturday, 22 February 2020, is Australia’s National Day of Prayer & Fasting. We are praying for the nation, and we are also remembering the firefighters. See the Governor-General’s video of support here. To get more information or find a location near you, click here.