Let today be the day that you pursue your daughter's heart and initiate connecting with her because I truly believe we will have a healthier country from the ground up with healthier women. Much of that comes down to the way you engage your daughter from this day forward. Yet many fathers struggle to connect deeply with their daughters as they mature and their lives become more complex.
Today author and speaker Dr. Michelle Canfield will help both sides of the divide learn to talk and listen. Michelle's book is a must for every dad. She's known as the Dad Whisperer. If you go to 5lovelanguages.com you'll find out more about Let's Talk conversation starters for dads and daughters.
This is our first in a series of best of summer broadcasts so if you hear dated information disregard that. Dr. Chapman talk about your relationship with your daughter. Was it ever hard to connect with her? Answer?
No. Our daughter can erase herself. I mean she was rather compliant growing up and at the age of 8 she told us she was going to be a doctor when she got big and we said well okay honey if that's what God wants you know. Now we really had a great relationship.
I would take her out for breakfast you know every month at least just by herself but I don't know. Now we had a son. We're not going to talk about him today.
He was a lot more difficult okay. But no we had a great relationship. Still have a great relationship. Yes he's an adult now of course a medical doctor but yeah we have had a great connection but I realize that's not true of all fathers and their daughters so I'm excited about our conversation today. And if you are a dad listening right now and you say I don't have what Dr. Chapman has with his daughter with your daughters then listen to Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield. She's a licensed professional counselor speaker author founder of the ABBA Project which is an educational process group forum for dads and daughters ages 13 to 30. She hosts the Dad Whisperer podcast and our featured resource today is her book Let's Talk conversation starters for dads and daughters. You can find out more at FiveLoveLanguages.com Well Dr. Canfield welcome to Building Relationships.
Well thanks to both of you I'm so excited to be joining you here today. Now for a long time you were Dr. Michelle Watson. Tell us how you got this last name Canfield.
What happened? Well the truth is I was all in for this whole dad daughter thing you know and I've been passionate about equipping fathers of daughters for the last 12 years and about seven eight years ago I met this man you know Dr. Ken Canfield who wrote the forward to my first book. We met at a conference and he was such a champion of me because as the founder of the National Center for Fathering he loved meeting people across the US right with a similar passion and heart. And so I knew his wife I had met his family been to Kansas stayed in their home she prayed for the ABBA Project my dad's group and a couple of years ago she went to be with the Lord. And in a crazy God story kind of way he led Ken and I to get married a year ago during the pandemic of course we got married on Father's Day and you guys it's the craziest story. God told both of us separately to get married we'd never dated held hands kiss nothing he called me on January 1st of 2020 and said what do you think should we move from professional to personal and I said well God already told me to marry you so yes that was it. So I am now Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield got married at the age of 60 for the first time and I inherited a tribe of 24 people so there's that story in a nutshell. Well we love Ken of course and known him for years and of course known of your work for a long time also.
Well that's interesting that would not necessarily be the kind of pre-marriage and marriage experience you would expect most people to have. Right exactly exactly but we sure do love coming together to champion fathers and it's so fun to be with someone who shares that kindred spirit passion. Yeah absolutely so now why are you called the dad whisperer? That is a great question and Chris Fabry is the one to blame here I use the word blame in jest of course but one time it was probably back in 2014 when my first book came out for dads of daughters we were doing an interview just like this do you remember that Chris? And you said you know what you should be called the dad whisperer I don't know how you do it but you seem to whisper to us dads and I have had men say we don't like women shouting at us and somehow you seem to just whisper to us ideas that set us up to succeed and so really Chris you're the one that gets all the credit for that one.
Well I and I love that because you know the horse whisperer I've seen these men and women who will go into a wild stallion you know and just kind of communicate with them and calm this animal down and I thought wow that that really encapsulates so Gary you can blame me. I blame you I like the idea though and I get it yeah so how did you begin working with dads and daughters what motivated that? Well you know it was back in December of 2009 I was reading in Luke 1 on a regular Christmas you know month kind of who doesn't read in Luke 1 and Luke 2 at December time right in Christmas time and I'm reading about how God tells Zechariah Luke 1 17 that his yet to be born son is going to help turn the hearts of fathers to their children. Not the heads of fathers the hearts of fathers and on that random December day I just heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me and say Michelle that's what I want you to do and I thought well and 2 days later I was getting ready for work I was blow drying my hair and I just heard the name the ABBA project.
ABBA meaning daddy and Aramaic and men love a project am I right am I right man you're like tell me what to do to fix it. So I then in January of 2010 emailed 11 dads whose daughters at the time were my clients in their teens or their 20s and I said would you want to join me once a month. For 6 months to see if there's a change in you your daughter or your relationship and 10 of the 11 men said we're in and I've had people say men do not add more to an already full plate. Unless there's truly probably a crisis or a need and so these this group of men.
They gathered every month and God downloaded the curriculum to me one month at a time I had nothing when I started and what I've often said to men is I would have disqualified myself for this assignment. I've even had as I go to men's conferences sometimes they're not all happy that I'm there it's kind of a you know no girls allowed on on the door sign you know this is our fort and yet what I have found and I say this truly without trying to sound arrogant. But when men see that I come and I'm not trying to overpower them I'm their ally I'm not a threat I find that they come to me often with tears in their eyes going.
I don't know what to do the you know the relationship has has deteriorated with me and my daughter I don't know where to go to get help I don't know what to do to fix it. And so really what God called me to do in Portland Oregon in my counseling office and I have a home I have them in the same place. Is I have been able to I guess you would say coach mentor men because I'm all about equipping men to lead I think we live in a culture where where sometimes men are disempowered even by women. And told you know let me do it you don't know what you're doing or you're making it worse and really that that is not my heart my heart is to say man I want to set you up to be the hero you want to be and that your daughter needs you to be. Yeah that's an amazing story that you're sharing that those 10 men would show up with you and interface for those months.
Right and then we ended up going a year and then year after year with no marketing they just keep coming you know if you build it they will come or I should say if God builds it they will come. That's great. Why is the dad-daughter relationship so important? Well to state probably just the foundational truth is that there's mounting evidence in the research that supports that every area of a girl or a woman's life is better when she has a positive relationship with her dad. Do you guys want some of the specifics in the research?
Sure. Okay here's a few of the data points that I think a lot of men loves like just give me the facts ma'am okay here it is dads is if you have a bonded relationship with your daughter where she feels connected to you. Now do you notice that's a heart word isn't it feels connected not a head word so this goes back to Malachi 4-6. If you're a dad who wants to feel connected to your daughter and turn your heart toward her that's what we're going to be talking about today is practical ways to do just that. Because the research says your daughter will do better in school if she feels connected to you she will get better grades she's more likely to finish high school and attend college. She'll have greater self-esteem significantly less suicide attempts less body dissatisfaction and healthier weight okay come on. I mean I've had an eating disorder through all of my 20s I mean I'm right in the pocket of this kind of research where even with a connection to my dad my dad is still living he's 83.
He's been I would say my main man through a lot of my life and yet that one because of what I'll just say here at the onset of our conversation is I have sexual abuse in my history. That has shaped how I have felt about my body and when my dad affirms me and says you look beautiful today Michelle that has gone into my heart space so that one I want to underscore. Also a connection between a daughter and her dad the research says she will delay her sexual debut okay come on man do I hear an amen on that one.
Decreases in teen pregnancy I mean just a couple more facts less depression more likely to find steady employment lower rates of substance use. And the last one I'll mention is more prosocial empathy compared to those with uninvolved fathers I mean do we need more of that now than ever before yes. So I am shouting from the rooftops dads you matter your presence and involvement in your daughter's life matters whether or not she knows it and whether or not you hear it enough.
The three of us today are championing you as men and saying you matter. Thanks for joining us today for Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman he's the author of the New York Times bestseller "The 5 Love Languages" for learning about dads and daughters today and if you want to suggest the program to someone send them to five love languages.com you can hear a podcast of the program and see our featured resource the book let's talk conversation starters for dads and daughters just go to five love languages.com. Michelle in your counseling and research you found that men would rather do nothing than make mistakes when it comes to their daughters explain that. You know this is again been an observation that I've made from the last twelve years of walking alongside men is I say I've been traveling from my planet of Venus right to yours of Mars men speak Martian we speak Venusian two different languages but that has been an observation that I've had is that men are smart enough to know when you're making it worse. So especially as your daughter hits her teen years and things become way more emotional way more verbal and a lot of men go you know what I seem to say everything wrong I'm just going to back off and let mom go in I'm making it worse but that's what you've got to know is that when you do nothing it does make it worse so the way I've even said it is men would rather do nothing than do it wrong.
Right but doing nothing is doing it wrong and at the end of the day what I've discovered about you as men is you want to do it right. And so that's where I'm standing here as a coach cheering you on and saying dad I think if you say it this way you're going to get a little bit of a different response. And that's why I love in this current book that I have 60 conversation starters for you as dads because men have said this has been a difference maker because I say dad if your daughter reacts to the question I've encouraged you to ask her.
You know what just roll me under the bus I'll be your fall guy and say she doesn't know what she's talking about blame me and then go on to the next question so that again you as men are equipped to lead because when you lead you feel like your competence builds and your competence builds competence and confidence together as a team. Those do well I have discovered on the planet of Mars am I right men when your competence and confidence builds you feel better about yourself. Yes definitely yeah I think you're right and I also have seen this a lot you know that men are fearful that they'll do the wrong thing and so they sometimes do back off. The point you're making is really important I think now you know in our first segment you talked about the benefits for a woman who has this positive relationship with her father let's flip that how did the dads benefit from being that role model and the person that their daughters turn to. You know another thing that I've discovered about men is that every one of you is happier when the women in your life are happy right you as men thrive when you can tell that your wife your daughter your sister. Even those you work with when women are happy and so I have found you know that the underbelly of men is really sensitive you guys don't want to see that you're making it worse again I think that's why a lot of men step up out step away step back. But yet you as men benefit your your health is better your sleep is better your your every every part of your life is better I would say even spiritually because at the end of the day. I find it really powerful that God has entrusted men fathers in many ways to represent his heart as a father and so I have found that when men know that they're overreactive they're yelling more they're not building their daughters up or the women in their life.
Their whole mental spiritual social you know all areas of their health begin to go down and deteriorate. I don't think any men really feel better about themselves when they yell at their wives or yell at their daughter. Sometimes they feel that they deserved it but I don't think guys feel better about yelling you know and that sort of thing so I think we always feel better if we feel like we've done a positive thing. You know and you're right about the happy thing you know if the wife is happy the daughter's happy the guy is typically happy so why do you think fathers struggle to connect with their daughters especially in those years and when they're maturing going through the change of teenage life. You know the thing I was just mentioning Gary was that you know girls become more verbal typically and more emotional right as adolescence sets in and what you need to know man is that much of that has to do with her physiology so much of that has to do with hormones that are rushing through her system as she's developing and growing.
So believe it or not there's a lot of that that she doesn't have control over those surges of estrogen are flooding through her body they cause moods thinking and behavior to be more volatile where the swings of the moods are much more significant. And so sometimes dad you may not mean to hurt her feelings but when you say something like until you come out of that room with a smile on your face I don't want you coming out and she's in there going I don't know what to do. I need a calming presence to help me calm down but I find again if a dad can engage his daughter through those years that are more difficult without giving her a mirrored response that something is wrong with her she will bond more to her dad during those years more than any other and set a foundation for a bond through all of her adult life. And so dads know in your heart of hearts that if you can stay the course with your daughter through all the ups and downs with giving her positive feedback about who she is not just what she's doing she will internalize that view of herself that you give her. Which is so important right?
Her self perception. What can a dad do when a daughter seems to be reluctant to respond to him to even want to be with him? What can a dad do in that situation? I love that you asked that question Gary because so many dads do hit that phase of development in their daughter's life where she only wants to be with her friends and dad who used to be the hero you know she would run up to your neck and throw her grubby little hands around your neck and kiss your face and you could kiss the boo boo and make it all better but now that reluctance is hurting your heart because she doesn't seem to want to listen to what you say or she doesn't care if she spends time with you. And that rejection over and over when you ask for time with her begins to hurt your heart and you back off but like I said earlier remember you've got to step in it's up to you. God says the hearts of fathers have to turn then the hearts of children right to their fathers so it starts with you dad so if you have a daughter who's reluctant to spend time with you. The first thing I would say is ask yourself am I doing anything that either pushes her away or makes her not feel safe around me so there's just point one ask yourself that question. Another thing is you could ask another woman whether it's her mom if you're not married you're divorced you could ask maybe your sister or someone else that knows your daughter can you tell if there's something I'm doing to push her away.
Is it just something she's going through that I don't know about but then my favorite one which is why I called my book Let's Talk. Dad find a way that you can talk with her if she doesn't want time with you you can always text you can always email you can always do FaceTime you can send some kind of a message from a distance where you ask her is there anything I'm doing that either pushes you away or makes you not want to open up with me or spend time with me. Or here's one of my favorites dad just ask her how can I be a better dad to you even if you have a great relationship with your daughter right now maybe a medium relationship with your daughter. I would encourage you today to text call ask your daughter how can I be a better dad to you. You may even want to start it with a 0 to 10 question I love 0 to 10 because you could say the same word like how you doing fine and she could say fine but she means I'm an 8 of fine I'm great you might mean a 2 I'm just having a mediocre day.
Dad you could say on a 0 to 10 scale how close do you feel we are are we as close as you'd like us to be and how could I be a better dad to you so that we could change that number. Incidentally that works really well with your wife too. She's a daughter too isn't she.
She's somebody's daughter. Yeah in fact I just had a dad write me an email and say I just had this revelation my wife is a daughter too the things you're writing about I'm using with her who knew. Yeah absolutely you know if I ask my wife honey tell me one thing that I could do that would make a better husband for you chances are she'll tell me and so will the daughter if you ask her so I love that. Exactly and ask it over and over dad because what she may have said last month or last year is going to be changing and so I loved hearing you say at the onset of our conversation Gary that you had monthly dad daughter dates. And I would say dad create a rhythm with your daughter or with your wife yes where you know she can look forward to that time with you once a month that's really what I do in the ABBA project is say dad find a place where you can go it becomes your place dad daughter time dad daughter place the space and begin to ask these questions every month of her one of them being how can I be a better dad to you this month or this week. Yeah it will be a gift a difference maker yeah absolutely why is having regular conversations with a daughter so important you know not not talking to her every three months about something but regular conversations why is that so important. Well you know it's back to that thing is women is is that we are wired right so much different than men men you may say oh we just pick up where we left off or will go throw the ball and we did a you know we did a project outside in the yard and that's how we connected but there's something about us as women.
And here it is men is when we open our mouth our heart opens and when our heart opens your heart as dads opens so it comes back to this piece about. Having conversations with her because we as girls figure things out by talking it's just how we're wired even if you have an introverted daughter that you're like oh she's not so much into talking. It may be less words but this truth still remains so when you have regular conversations with your daughters it's the only way that she's going to discover what she needs and wants and thinks and believes. And it not only helps you know what what she's thinking believing in meeting and wanting but it helps her figure out what she is thinking meeting wanting believing. Because again we're ever changing and so having a safe regular consistent time with you as a dad is literally going to help strengthen her even in using her voice to articulate what's going on inside. Yeah and if she really senses that you want to hear what she has to say you know you're really listening to get her perspective rather than to come back and tell her well that's wrong or you know you shouldn't feel that way. If she really senses that you're listening to her with empathy she'll keep talking right?
Absolutely in fact I have a friend who went to be with the Lord to last month or a little over two months ago and he his name is Dick Patty started Cadence International a missionary his adult daughter who's my age I'm 61. She got up and shared about how when she was 12 years old her dad asked her for her opinion about Christianity and she said dad it's normal not formal and she said my dad quoted me when he would go out and speak and say Joyce would say Christianity is normal not formal. He said when she she also went on to say that when she was 20 years old he had a speaking engagement with three talks in a weekend and gave her one of the three talks and he literally said as she sat down. He just said that was masterful and she internalized that view of her dad who not only started asking her for her opinion at 12 but even gave her a platform at 20 that still holds her today and she has been a woman of confidence strength throughout her lifetime and credits much of that to her dad. Michelle as I'm as I'm listening to you there's every dad is listening saying yes yes yes yes but there is a war that's going on inside that you alluded to just a minute ago it's almost like you know the World War Two D-Day getting to the beachhead and you feel like these you know the the flak is coming and the artillery is coming and you're on the beach and you want to get up there and you don't know how to get from here to there. And you don't know how to recognize her and you don't know how to change because you've been this way all of your life can you talk about that how do you change on the inside and move toward when you're so scared. Well I think the starting point is to admit you're scared right I think a lot of men don't want to go to that emotion that side it may feel weak and yet the more honest you can be dad with what's really going on inside of you and lead that way lead with that kind of vulnerability. I have found that a daughter will meet you in an equally vulnerable place when you start with that kind of authenticity because then you come with humility rather than I'm the dad that has all the answers it's. Hey I'm there too here's where I'm struggling or here's what I'm afraid of maybe you even could say to your daughter. I feel like everything I say is the wrong thing I want to learn how to be a better dad to you but truth be told you're scaring me off. Can you tell me what you need from me how can I relate better to you right now because I want you really to help me write the playbook on you because I know you didn't come with one and the more you come with that kind of humility dad it will go a long way to reaching your daughter's heart.
You're listening to Building Relationships with doctor Gary Chapman New York Times bestselling author of "The 5 Love Languages" find out more about the resources we have for you at our website five love languages. You can hear a podcast of the program and find out about the book we're featuring today by doctor Michelle Canfield it's titled let's talk conversation starters for dads and daughters check it out at five love languages. Michelle I really like your book let's talk you know it has hundreds of scripted questions for dads to ask their daughters. As I was reading through it I was like man these things are good but I also had this thought you know there's going to be some guys are going to read this and say I can't I can't use those words those aren't my words so how's it that dad deal with that.
Yeah you're you're so right Gary I have had other dads come to the Alba project in every month right the. The scripted questions I give them are the same ones in this book and so they have often said that same thing like okay they're not going to sound like me they're going to sound like you Michelle but I can tell you and this is from over a decade of coaching men walking alongside them. They said that isn't what happened in real time I thought that's how she would respond but it was very different once she she heard the question she ran with it. And so it felt like they became my my voice I loved one dad named Toby he's actually a shoe designer at Nike I live in Nike country and so here is this competent designer right and yet he's like I don't know how to design a conversation with my 17 year old daughter. And yet he sat there going okay I'm opening up the script she can tell I got it from you but once I said it she heard it from me so I would say dad when you come again willing to learn you're saying I'm bringing Michelle's book I have it opened I'm reading a question out of here.
Don't you realize what you model to your daughter that you're willing to learn that you're coming open you don't have all the answers I believe she'll meet you in that place and you will find that the conversation will take off from there you just need a little prompting at the beginning. Yeah, I agree. And I do think you're exactly right. Because the questions that you've scripted there are really designed to touch the heart of that daughter, and the fact that you're reading it from somebody else, you know, she knows that that's okay. What you just said that says hey dad's open to learning.
Exactly. And, and the way I designed the book is that I start with the light hearted beginning places so you know that isn't always heavy questions and heavy conversations, because starting with things that are more light hearted like where dad can ask his daughter what item of my clothing would you love to see me get rid of me let her make fun of you dad, you know, saying what about me makes you laugh let's talk about family vacations we've done that were fun and funny and family memories. But then in time you can work towards some of the harder conversations that have to do with, you know, self image and lack of confidence and body image I mean, I've had some dad say I don't touch that issue with a 10 foot pole that's my wife's domain. No dad remember what the research says so much of your daughter's internalized view of herself comes from you.
So the more you can talk about these things with a script. Do you know how it also helps men is they can look down at something and don't have to maintain eye contact when it gets more like embarrassing we're talking about sex or sexual harassment or cutting or same sex attraction or some of those deeper into the pool kind of topics. Dad, you can look down at the book, kind of catch your breath, go back with with looking at her eyes again. Yeah. And she has the privilege to look down also when she's answering you.
Exactly. Now you have a lot of practical ideas and creative ideas on a dad daughter date in your book. Where would a dad start, you know, to, to get that going with his daughter. You know, my favorite suggestion to men is let her choose, let her choose what she wants to talk about today with you. So you just open up to the beginning of the book where there's the appendix and you can let her choose the topic, right? Because then she's going to want to talk about that. And then, or you could do another thing where you go back and forth every other date where maybe she picks the topic one month.
It may have to do with boys and dating, you know, guys and dating. And then maybe the next month you want to do it on how she can become a world changer because you see that she has potential, but she's kind of getting lost in her group of friends and not stepping up to the plate. So you're like, Ooh, we need to have kind of a heavy conversation about boundaries with cell phone use. For example, I've got that in there, but you don't quite know how to approach it without her being reactive and stomping off. So I even start every date by giving dads the script to say, hi, honey, I'd like to talk to you about this today. And I know it might be hard and yet I'm wanting to listen to you. In fact, Ken, my husband said you could have called this book Let's Talk and Listen because it's really more about you as a dad listening to what your daughter has to say and helping facilitate conversations that make her feel safe with you. And if it's a really tough conversation, I say have it at a restaurant because it'll keep both of you in check.
May make it a little bit easier to do it. And then dad, if you've got what I call a bombed out bridge with your daughter, I would say probably 75% of the emails I get from men around the country are on estrangement between dad and daughter. So you may need to start with maybe sending a video of her hearing your tone of voice and your body language saying, you know, I love you. I'm so sorry for things I've said. I want to make amends.
I don't know how to start. You could text that to her. You could send her a letter in the mail. Remember that old fashioned idea? Snail mail. So she could see your handwriting, but it's up to you dad to find a way to begin reaching her heart.
It's up to you. And even when she pushes you away, do what my friend Alan Smith told me. He was a young life leader for 35 years, had a group of senior in high school girls in the back of the van when his daughter was four, all talking about their dads in negative ways.
And he said, you guys are the experts. What can you tell me to do so that when my daughter is your age, she's not talking about me like I hear you talking about your dads right now. Do you know what the consensus was among these girls was when we pushed our dads away, we wish that he wouldn't have left. So dad, when your daughter's pushing you away and she turns down your date idea three times in a row and you go, okay, I'm done.
Do not stop pursuing her heart because you give her the message that she's worth the pursuit. Yeah. Yeah. And eventually, and at least our experience was in those late nights, she brings up topics, you know, which you mentioned earlier, she brings up topics that's on her heart if you give her an opportunity to do that. And it's just the simple thing that you mentioned earlier.
Just what would you like to talk about today? You know, and if something's on her mind, she'll probably share it with you. Exactly. So how will a dad know if he's making a difference once he starts initiating dates with his daughter? Okay, I've got to ask you two men because your dad, you know, dads to daughters, and you know what I'm talking about, but would you say when a girl stops talking, her heart closes up? Like when she ain't talking, it ain't good.
That drawbridge to her heart went back up. You guys both, you know what I'm talking about, right? I could see that. Literally, you know, a turning of the head if we're in the car together. I can see it with Andrea, my wife too.
Andrea, thank you. You know, it's just, it's just this, oh, something is not going right there and I don't know what it is. And my first reaction is to run away is to die. Okay, I'm not like you said, not make it any worse.
Exactly. So you both know whether it's with your daughters or your wives or anyone that you know that's a female, when we stop talking, something's happened. And the best thing you can do is not run away and not even try to fix it.
Because then you're working way too hard, more than you need to be. All you have to do is just initiate a conversation where you say, can you help me understand what's going on? Or can you help me understand how I hurt you? I want to know. Tell me more. I had one dad tell me that's his favorite three word sentence to say to his daughter, even with women that he coaches on his team at work. Tell me more.
Tell me more. Because we always have more to say if you listen. And so the clearest way to tell if you're making a difference in your daughter's life is she's going to keep talking more and opening up with you.
It's as simple as that. She will talk more. That's how you know you're making a difference. Well, we hope this conversation is helpful for you, dad, daughter or otherwise. Our guest is Dr. Michelle Canfield and our featured resource at FiveLoveLanguages.com is her book, Let's Talk, Conversation Starters for Dads and Daughters. Our host is Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Michelle, you talk about five ways to encourage dads to lead.
I'm all ears. Can you talk about those? Yes.
Okay. I call these five power strategies, right, that a dad can use to lead his daughter. And these are the five sections of the book. It's lead her to laugh, lead her to love, lead her to look, lead her to lament, and lead her to listen.
Now, let me tell you what those mean. So the first one is you heard me just say in the last segment is starting with laughter is a great starting point. Whether or not you have a great relationship with your daughter now or the bridge is a bit bombed out because neuroscientists confirm that when we laugh together, we release chemicals in our brain that strengthen long-term relationships and reinforce social bonding.
I mean, positive, positive, positive right there. So dad, here are a couple ideas of questions you could ask your daughter that might make her laugh. I said one of them earlier would just be what item of my clothing would you love to see me get rid of?
But here's a great one. It might not be so much laughter, but it's a lighthearted bonding question. Say, do you ever think about your wedding day? If so, why?
If not, why? And then if she does tell you, yeah, I've thought about my wedding day, ask her what colors do you want? What flowers do you want? What location do you want?
What music do you want? What do you envision your dress to look like? I have never found a dad yet who has thought to ask his daughter that question. It is a great one that will again bond you through lighthearted laughter and conversation. Second one, lead her to love. This is about helping your daughter to love herself because when she loves herself, she will give that love to the people around her. So here's some questions you could ask her is what do you see as your three greatest strengths and gifts? If she says, I don't have any woo, right? You're going to find out a lot about what's going on in her, but this would be a time dad for you to tell her the strengths that you see in her, the gifting you see in her. Because remember, like I said earlier, she will internalize your view of her. Here's another one you could ask her.
How could you be a world changer? I love that idea of a girl making a difference in the world around her and she may say, I have no ideas, dad. Then it's up to you to help her brainstorm.
It might be, where could we volunteer together? Because oftentimes I remember, you know, when a girl doesn't like herself, it's because she's maybe not giving enough to others and obsessing more on herself. I remember one time having a dad ask me, Michelle, what can you tell me about my eighth grade daughter? I'm so sick of how self absorbed she is. I said, I've got it. Help her volunteer somewhere.
Give her ideas, help her brainstorm. And he said, I love it. And I said, but here's part two. You need to do it with her. You'll never believe what he said.
Chris and Gary, do you know what he said to me? Not going to happen. I'm too busy. I thought maybe that's what your daughter is focused on herself because she doesn't know how to give out from a less than full cup. So that might be a way, dad, that you can kick things up a notch. I hope that our conversation today, dad, gives you one idea to do things differently with your daughter. Third section, lead her to look. This is helping your daughter look at deeper things going on under the surface that she may not have given voice to.
I would start with something between the two of you where you may say, do I do anything that shuts you down or makes you feel less confident to share your thoughts and feelings with me? Because we know that dad wounds and dad voids take on a life of their own, like any physical injury, right? If we don't attend to a wounded area, it gets worse. Well, same with a dad and a daughter. Those unhealed wounds will take on a life of their own and have her go looking for love in all the wrong places.
Am I right? That's what she's going to do. So dad, if you can say to her, even this question, what words have I spoken to you that have stuck with you that have made you feel better about yourself? And what words have I spoken to you that have stuck with you that have made you feel worse about yourself? And now's the time to do an amends. Don't just say, I'm sorry, but ask forgiveness. Say, will you forgive me for saying that?
Help me understand how I've heard you. Fourth section, lead her to lament. And Ken, my husband has told me, he thinks this is the most important section in all of it because you are asking her, which this bridge is on the last one about looking at deeper issues. Some of those deeper issues might be hurt from you, but some of those lamenting issues might be loss of a pet, loss of a friend, death of a grandparent, a job loss. Those kinds of things, if you can ask your daughter those questions, and that's why I have them in the book because it may be lamenting even. I've had the same sex attraction thing come up a lot lately in questions. In fact, my blog this week for dads and daughters is on that topic because a dad wrote me and said, why are you avoiding that topic?
I said, okay, I didn't mean to, I better step in there. But dad, your daughter may be lamenting in terms of gender identity, some maybe identity she had in the past that she's struggling to embrace now. And dad, you may not want to go there, but asking her questions about her experience is going to bond the two of you to each other. Last section, lead her to listen.
This is where you flip the script. I love this section because we tend to live in a technological world where daughters don't always know how to engage the other person in real time and draw them out. So this is where you hand your daughter the book and she will ask you questions about your life. It'll be about your dating relationships, your relationships with your parents. And what I love about this section is, dad, it helps you remember what you were like at her age, which may actually help you soften maybe some of your expectations because you're getting to tell her stories about your life. And she will love knowing more about you as you also get to remember, like I said, what life was like when you were her age. Those are powerful questions on five different areas of life.
I love that. Let me ask you this. How can a mom use this book? I know you wrote the book for husbands and fathers, but how could a mom use this? You know, the exact same way, because a lot of moms have had to step in being a dad, if you will. I say dads in quotes where dad isn't in the picture or there's divorce.
And so sometimes she's the only parent there feeling like she's having to kind of wear two hats. So, dad, this isn't just for you, mom. This is for you, too, where these questions are just as applicable to a mom engaging her daughter or a mom engaging her son or a dad engaging his son.
Really, this is a relationship book to facilitate more bonding relationally as more depth of conversation happens. So, yep, good for moms, too. Yeah, I really had that sense as I was reading the book that this would be good for moms, too. Though I think sometimes moms need a little less help than dads.
I think you're right. What is your greatest hope for dads who read this book and their daughters? You know, you heard me talk a lot today about the hearts of fathers, you know, turning to their daughters.
God's the one that came up with that term, right? He didn't say the heads. He said the hearts of fathers, which means dads heart engagement means softening your tone, looking in her eyes, leaning forward, slowing down, setting down the remote. Heart turns. That is truly, I would say, my first hope for dads who read this book, that this will equip them to turn their hearts to their daughters. And I would say the second thing would be for dads to put their love into action. I mean, what man would say he had a superhero he loved when he was little, right?
Superman, Batman, Spider-Man. You wouldn't have loved that action figure if he didn't take action, right? So, dad, for you to step in and take action to pursue your daughter's hearts, that's what I'm all about because I believe that's the father's heart. He wants to see fathers leading their children, right? We see that throughout scripture with compassion, that you're caring for your kids, that you're giving them precepts to bind on their foreheads. You as a dad are leading them.
And that's really my main goal in this book is to equip dads to be the dad that you want to be, your daughter needs you to be, and that God wants you to be. Michelle, there's a dad shaking his head, doesn't disagree with anything you've said, but he's saying, it's too late for me, too many bombed out bridges, such strong disagreements between me and my daughter about this, that, and the other thing. And I can't keep my opinion in there. I can't listen. It's too late.
What do you say to him? It's never too late. It is never too late.
You've got to trust me, men. I've been, I'm 61 years old and I started counseling, coaching, mentoring women, girls since I was 19. So I've got over four decades of backing and I am a girl and I'm the oldest of four girls. So hear me when I say it is never too late to pursue your daughter's heart. If you come with humility saying, tell me how I hurt you, I want to understand how I can be a better dad to you now, and you may have to sit there and take it. I've had dads say, she yelled at me, she used expletives, it was horrible, but you're going to have to take it. You're going to have to listen to how you've hurt her because it's never too late to start rebuilding that bridge now.
Today is the day. Let today be the day that you pursue your daughter's heart and initiate connecting with her. And don't let her rejection of you push you away because I truly believe we will have a healthier country from the ground up, a stronger country with healthier women. And dad, much of that comes down to the way you engage your daughter from this day forward. Well, Shell, it's been so good to chat with you on this topic. And my hope is that every father that's listening will get this book because this is not a book just to be read. This is a book to use because you have all these questions. And not just questions you ask your daughter, but as you mentioned earlier, a whole section on questions the daughter can ask you.
So it's making conversation much easier, and I see it as a wonderful tool. So thanks for being with us today, and may God use this book to encourage and help many fathers and daughters. Oh, it's been a joy to be with both of you today. Thank you so much for this opportunity to talk with you about my passion area, fathers and daughters.
Well, how can you miss when you've had the dad whisper with you, right? Dr. Michelle Canfield has been with us today. Go to fivelovelanguages.com. You'll find out more about her and the featured resource, Let's Talk, conversation starters for dads and daughters.
Again, the website, fivelovelanguages.com. Next week, our summer best of broadcasts continue. If you have a teenager in the house, don't you dare miss the conversation with Dr. Chapman next week. A big thank you to our production team, Steve Wick and Janice Todd. Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a production of Moody Radio in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-28 06:46:19 / 2023-03-28 07:05:16 / 19