Last night, I found myself sitting on the couch having just put my son and husband (he had a terrible migraine) to bed. I was sitting there nursing my 7-week old daughter and turned on the television. The channel that came on was ABC and the show Celebrity Wife Swap was on. Don't judge. I was about to change the channel when I saw that it was the Ted Haggard episode. I was curious, so I watched a little bit of it. Again, don't judge. It was interesting, but in a way I think they did not intend.
In one of the scenes, they had the Haggard family (Ted and a few kids) sitting in their living room listening to the new rules set by the visiting wife. One of them was that Ted spend some one-on-one time getting tea/coffee with his (only) daughter. The visiting wife made this a "rule" based on a conversation she'd had with the daughter earlier in the week (didn't see that part of the show). Apparently, the daughter made a comment on how she didn't get to see or spend much time with her dad and she wished that was different.
I found it terribly sad that Ted's initial reaction to this suggestion was to get defensive, as did one of his younger sons, too. The poor daughter sat there for five minutes defending herself and trying to explain why she wanted to spend time with her dad. She said she felt like he was investing a lot of his time/energy into the church congregation and she felt like it was somewhat to the detriment of his relationships with his children. She was literally on the verge of tears because her dad and brother were trying to tell her that if she wanted to spend time with him she needed to "speak up more and just tell him." That really rubbed me the wrong way.
Well, they did go out for coffee and the daughter (sorry, I don't remember her name) was better able to express what she meant/needed from her dad, Ted. He again tried to put the blame on her by stating that he wasn't all that busy and she was the one who was working full-time and going to school full-time, also (oh yeah, did I mention that his daughter is 30?). In her defense (and the point of this blog), she explained that she needed her dad to pursue her and want to spend time with her. That there was not another man in her life that could help her feel valued by wanting to spend time with her. To his credit, Ted agreed with her at this point and said it would be an honor for him to do that for her.
Fathers and daughters.
This relationship has taken on a whole new dimension for me, now that I have a daughter. What Ted's daughter had to say really resonated with me. Fathers are so important to daughters and I don't know how many of them understand just exactly how vital their opinions/thoughts are to their little girls.
As I think about my relationship with my dad growing up, I realize that I want more for my daughter Rachel with her dad. I never spent much intentional one-on-one time with my dad growing up (there were 5 of us, and things were generally just nuts!), but I do remember when I did get the rare opportunity to be alone with him, it was special.
There has been loads of research done that has shown the value of a strong male role-model in the life of a little girl. It can impact her self-esteem and help her make better decisions when it comes to her value (especially around boys). It can also help guide her in determining the values/characteristics she wants in her future husband (if that is her desire).
I have seen the impact a lack of a father can have firsthand in some of my friends and the decisions they have made in their lives. It has made me so sad to see them settle for a guy who doesn't really seem to care for them but they feel they can do no better.
Again, I want better for my daughter. I want her to have a close relationship with her dad. To be able to talk to him about boys and anything else that is on her heart/mind. To get a better understanding of how she should be treated by other men (boys). I want her to settle for nothing less than the best. To know her worth and truly understand how valuable she is.
Oh, and I'm not just talking about her being daddy's little girl. I don't want her to be raised to be a spoiled little princess who always gets her way and has daddy wrapped around her finger. This goes WAY deeper than that. What I am talking about is having her realize she is truly, deeply loved and has a value that should not be wasted on the unworthy (don't throw your pearls before swine).
Now, I know that this cannot all be placed at the feet of my husband. That is entirely unfair. I know that I also have a large role in shaping her to be a Godly woman. I will also need to help her understand what it means to be a woman, to know her value and believe it. And I know that a lot of it will have to come from her own heart, too.
Rachel's belief in her value and worth must ultimately come from her relationship with Jesus. However, I do believe that her relationship with her parents will be critical in forming her values/beliefs about herself and her worth. This goes for my son, too.
As parents, we have a tremendous impact on the hearts and minds of our children. I think we need to start taking it more seriously and really open our eyes to see what we are showing them about their value by the way we act and speak towards them.
I have no idea if this blog even makes any sense. All I know is that when I watched that part of the show last night it made me sad. I do not want to see my daughter (at 30 years old) having to beg her dad to pursue her. To want to spend time with her. I hope that we will all want to see and spend time with each other as mush as we possibly can, because family is so important.
Simply put: I want my children to feel valued in my home and by their parents. May we all strive to do our best, by the grace of God, with His help!!