RELATIONSHIPS

Dads and Daughters

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We men love being fathers to our little girls. We love how they look up to us, and see us as the hero who kills spiders and opens the peanut butter. As long as they are little and cute we’re on top of our dad game. But the idea of that little girl hitting puberty terrifies most men. Will things get weird? Will she even want us around anymore? Will we still hug?

One of the finest books on this subject is Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know, by Dr. Meg Meeker, a pediatrician and counselor. This book helped prepare me for my role as my little girl gets older.

The biggest thing I learned was how incredibly significant a dad is in the life of a girl. We’re so essential to her self-esteem, mental health, and well-being that it cannot be overstated. She learns her value from us, and forms her opinion of men and the world in general from how we treat her. 

Don’t believe the sitcoms that portray dads as irrelevant. Lean into your role, and keep hugging her when she’s 16 the same way you did when she was 6!

Fat, Dumb, and Happy

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There’s a saying in the Air Force that someone is “fat, dumb, and happy,” whenever they take a break from actively flying to momentarily look out the window. This often happens while someone is grabbing a bite to eat. 

For that moment they’ve stopped being a crewmember and become a passenger. Their head is not in the game as they take a break to enjoy the beauty of the world outside their window.

It’s ok to take a small break during a long flight, but if you spend too much time day dreaming out the window you’re going to drift off course – or crash.

Too many men are flying through their life fat, dumb, and happy while their relationships drift off course. They’re paying more attention to their football team then who their kids hang out with. They’re gazing at their phone and don’t notice they’re losing altitude at home.

As men, we need to pay attention to what’s truly important: family dinners, bedtime stories, date nights, and making fun family memories together. Don’t go through life fat, dumb, and happy thinking only of yourself. Stop daydreaming, and make a plan to get back on course.

20 Questions

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How hard will your kids have to work to be as successful as you? How hard will it be to be as good of a husband as you? As strong? As manly? As kind?

Where are you setting the bar for the kind of man your daughter will marry? Will she be used to the man in her life not showing her respect?

Is your daughter going to naturally assume that her husband will bring her flowers and take her on dates based on what she grew up seeing? Is she being raised to think she’s worth being pursued?

Will your son think it’s perfectly normal to leer at women other than his wife? Is he learning by your example to over eat? Over drink? Blame and resent others?

Is he receiving the message that he has what it takes to be a great man? Or is he hearing that he’s worthless? That he’s dumb?

Will your kids think it’s bizarre to read biographies of great leaders? To exercise? Will they think it’s strange to talk about their failures, admit mistakes, and to get help?

How high are you setting the bar as a husband, a father, and a man?