Friday, November 27, 2009
Fargo Area Woman Guide.
“Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous? Actually, who are you not to be?” – Marianne Johnsone Fargo Area Woman.
I am standing in a crush of three-year-old pint-sized princesses. Surrounded by sparkling tiaras and frilly dresses, these little daubs of pink and purple are up way past their collective bed time. We giggle. We dance. We wait patiently for the real princess to arrive. Well, at least a real princess played by an actress.
Finally, the moment arrives. Belle, the beauty from Beauty & The Beast, walks in to the room. As she comes out from backstage, I can see it in my daughter’s eyes. The beauty is here. My daughter climbs out of my arms, fixes her purple dress, and runs toward her. Running to beauty in Fargo
We are all attracted to beauty. Beauty sells magazines. Beauty drives our self-perception. When I counseled teens, the issue of distorted definitions of beauty came up on a weekly basis. Our society hasn’t left us wondering what beauty is. Beauty is full lips. Beauty is long flowing hair. Beauty is a body shape Barbie would be envious of. Beauty wears the right clothes, surrounded by the right friends, and always plays with the right toys. We’ve immersed ourselves in cultural perceptions of beauty, so much so that we don’t know where to turn. We are consumed with the concept.
As I watch my daughter wrap her arms around Belle, a concern reveals itself in my mind. What chance do I have to speak truth into my daughter’s life? As she grows, who will inform her on what beauty is?
I’ve been told by culture (and a few friends) that a father’s most important job is to provide. Be strong. Be courageous. And bring home the cash. Become “the provider for all, and the enemy of all,” as J. August Strindbergto once so eloquently wrote. On TV the only other option is to fill the role of a bumbling, awkward individual — the comedic outlet in the family fabric (see world-famous dad Homer Simpson). Is there room for a father to “woo” his daughter and reflect God’s heart for her? Are those moments as rare as a dance at a graduation, followed by another at her wedding?
Holding your daughter’s heart
The role of father is vitally important to the emotional and spiritual (not to mention relational!) well-being of a daughter. A Dad is not just a provider, protector, and live-in comedian. Neither is a mother only a cook, cleaner, and sole provider of “the nurture factor”.
A father has the ability, to reflect the love that the Father has for us. He has the opportunity to “woo” his daughter’s heart – to let her taste the depth and strength of love. He is given the capability to speak the truth of beauty deeply into the heart of his daughter.
The tragic truth is this – if fathers do not take the opportunity to speak beauty into their daughters’ lives, someone else happily will. Turn your television on to any station and watch for a few minutes. Volunteer to chaperone a junior high dance. These are the prevailing voices of beauty in our culture. These are the voices your daughter (or son) will hear every day. I want my daughter to know that she is beautiful. Not just for the reason that she could star on Toddlers and Tiaras, or even because she is smart, and talented, and funny. Those are all wonderful things and part of the gift of a daughter, but I want her to know that she is deeply beautiful because of Who made her. I want her to believe that her Father desires a deep and meaningful relationship with her, and so do I.
I want to be someone she can trust, someone she can talk with, someone she can walk through life together with. I want to be someone who can humbly and brokenly reflect the love that her Heavenly Father has for her. I want to woo the heart of my daughter so that she knows that her beauty transcends the length of her hair, the color of her eyes, the ability with which she reads.
After all, who is she?
“…who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.”
She is a child of God — and so are you. God has created you beautifully.
As fathers, we have the gift of engaging in our daughters’ lives meaningfully. And to unveil the true meaning of beauty found in each of our daughters. Take a deep breath
It’s important, Dads, to take a deep breath. You’ve likely walked through the feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt that come with parenting already in your journey. This segment of your daughter’s life – no matter if she is a two year old dress-twirler or a fourteen year old boy-chaser – is a great time to speak beauty into your daughter’s life. So take few tips from a fellow bumbling live-in comedian:
Open your ears. Chances are, if she’s older than two, she’s using more words than you do. When you listen, you’re communicating more than attention in her life. You’re signifying that her world is a priority and that she is worthy of your interest. > Be in the moment with her. With a thousand other pressures confronting fathers, it is easy to tune out. These are the moments you live for, not what’s coming for you tomorrow at work. >Two words: date night. This is a special phrase in our house. The word date means undivided attention over breakfast, at a restaurant, walking with candy apples. It’s a time when my daughter can talk to her Dad. (And believe me, she does.)
So I stand here and reflect, amidst the mass of little princesses, as my daughter embraces Belle and looks back at me. And when she looks back, I hope she begins to understand that her daddy is in this moment with her, that she is loved, and that she is beautiful.