i went to a women’s retreat with my church a couple of months ago. women’s retreats are like my own personal purgatory. i more or less hate them. but for the first time ever, i willingly chose to attend one. they hooked me with, “you’ll have a lot of free time that you will not be required to do anything with.” they didn’t lie. i met several women, heard a handful of life stories. people tend to just tell me stuff. which is weird to me because i’ve never thought of myself as particularly inviting. anyhoo, there was a common thread through most of the stories that got me thinking. this letter is gist of my thoughts.
dear fathers of daughters,
do you have any idea how critical your approval is to your girl? the entire foundation of her self-worth lies in your hands. she will base her relationship choices on the example she gets from you. treat her mother and her with respect, she will look for respect. withhold affection, she will settle for crumbs.
a woman i met recently told me her father rarely, if ever, told her he loved her. she said, “i think he did, but i’m not really sure.” how profoundly sad. in her forties, she still struggles with knowing whether or not her husband loves her.
a daughter’s self-worth is directly tied to how much her father values her. do you treat her as the jackpot or the consolation prize?
the vast majority of women i meet who struggle with choosing men who do not value them, have broken relationships with their fathers. broken can take many forms. it runs the gamut from abuse to simple disinterest.
tell her she is worthy of respect.
tell her she does not have to settle.
tell her you believe no one will ever be good enough for your little girl.
be kind to her.
be strong for her.
be the standard for who you want her to choose.
oh so sincerely,
ladies, what kind of relationship do you have with your father and does it color the way you choose/have chosen men?
fathers, what do you do to let your daughter know her worth or that you love her?