The other night, I was talking with my wife about The Christian Dad project. Things like our vision, long-term goals, etc. While we were talking, my five year old daughter was performing gymnastic feats using my propped up legs as beams. That’s a favorite pastime of ours. She was intently focused on her routine, but something about the word “blog” caught her attention.
“Daddy, what’s a blog?”
My wife jumped in with five year old lingo, “Your dad is working to help other dads like yours.”
“Oh…Dad, can I be in your blog?” Gracie asked while flashing her long eyelashes. If you’re a dad to a daughter, you know exactly what I mean.
So I thought for a minute and said, “Of course you can, sweetheart. It would help me out tremendously if you could tell me what you think the most important things are that a dad does for his daughter.”
She proceeded to give me a fairly significant list as shown below:
- Dads play games with their daughters
- Dads care for their daughters
- Dads play make believe with their daughters
- Dads sing happy birthday to their daughters (her birthday is in 5 days)
- Dads help their daughters when they’re hurt
- Dads go on daddy-daughter dates
I’m not sure what I was expecting when I asked her the question, but I found something very valuable in her answer. I had never asked her what she perceives as important dad duties. There are plenty of books written by psychologists and experts that explain what and why a child needs this or that. And there’s a lot of value in them to be sure. But have you ever simply asked your son or daughter, “What do you value in a dad?” As dads, it’s easy to think about what we see as important. Our list might look something like this:
- Dads provide for their daughters
- Dads teach their daughters
- Dads protect their daughters
- Dads develop their daughters
- Dads empower their daughters
- Dads shepherd their daughters towards being a Godly woman
The things in this list are absolutely important, and it is our job as Christian Dads to make sure we are performing these duties. But it’s also important to consider what our kids think about being a good dad.
So what did I learn when I asked my daughter that simple question?
Although she loves getting presents (with her birthday around the corner, we’ve heard plenty about all the toys she wants), it didn’t make it on her list. The two common denominators in her list were Engaged Time and Attention. She wants her dad to spend engaged time with her. Not to merely be around her, but to be engaged. She wants her dad to show her that she is special. She wants attention that only a dad can provide. And armed with this knowledge, I can ensure that my daughter continues to think I’m the best dad in the world (I have the coffee mug to prove it).
So take some time this week and ask your son or daughter what they think makes a good dad. It takes a couple seconds and you just may be surprised at the insight and value you gain.