It was easy to slip into the women’s dressing room without making eye contact with the gentleman sitting outside the room, obviously waiting for his wife….or so I thought. Soon a door closed, and what sounded like a young teen went out and spoke to the guy. I didn’t want to eavesdrop, but it was impossible to miss the conversation. She was seeking his opinion, and he was coaching his daughter about her clothing selections. He didn’t sound pushy, and he wasn’t negative about any of the choices. In a matter-of-fact tone of voice he told her why he liked one pair of shorts over another pair and commented on the pros and cons of some top she had tried on. They talked several minutes before she went back into the dressing room, and my amazement and respect for this guy simply ballooned.
One of the greatest needs a daughter (or a son for that matter) has is the approval and affirmation of a father. Whether or not children are sufficiently secure to not always be wondering if they’re really and truly loved will greatly affect their futures. If they’re not sure of what dad thinks about them, they will always be striving for his approval, acceptance, and affection. This can lead to a performance-driven life, and insecurity in relationships. Children need their father’s smile, his “Yes!” of approval, even when they make mistakes and blow it.
Our heavenly Father’s attitude toward us is one of joy so great that he sings and rejoices over us (Zeph. 3:17). For many, this is hard to believe wholeheartedly. Yeah, the Bible says it, but they still don’t see themselves as worthy or good enough, drowning in feelings of failure and shame, and still trying to measure up. An earthly Father who has experienced the unconditional love of God, knows that he’s accepted in the Beloved, is no longer striving for His approval, but is living by grace alone and enjoying the smile of his Father, can be a father who smiles on his children. Children need to know they don’t have to earn that smile.
On two occasions recently, I saw and read of football players who were asked who they were searching for when they looked into the stands. All of them said they were looking to see if their dads were there. A dad’s very presence and involvement can make a difference in a child’s life. His love and approval go a long way in that child’s becoming who he or she was created to be. When children are secure in a dad’s love, they can stop living for a father’s approval, and begin to live from his approval. Can you think of 5 things you love about your son or daughter? You need to tell them! And tell them often and in different ways! Let them hear you say positive things about them to other people. Do things with them that they enjoy doing. Speak often of God’s plans for their lives and point them to the destiny He calls them to.
When I left the dressing room that day, I felt compelled to speak to that father who was shopping with his daughter. I told him that was a fortunate young lady in that dressing room. Why?” he asked. “Because she has a father who cares enough to go shopping with her and coach her on her clothing choices,” I said, leaving him with a thumbs up and a “good job.” I’ve thought a lot about that day. If dads don’t care enough or aren’t confident enough to weigh in on things that are important to their kids, it will be the culture and their friends who end up influencing their choices. It will be the culture that molds their worldview. A loving, caring, involved dad really can make a difference. I hope every Christian Father will seize the opportunities to speak into his sons’ and daughters’ hearts and lives, giving them a hope for their future and a foundation of faith for living.
By Pastor Dora Clarkson