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A Father's Influence In His Daughter's Life (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
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August 17, 2023 8:02 am

A Father's Influence In His Daughter's Life (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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August 17, 2023 8:02 am

Dr. Kevin Leman and Kim Trobee share stories and thoughts on why the dad-daughter relationship matters, and how important it is to spend time and invest in this relationship wisely. They discuss how significant a dad’s influence is in a daughter’s life and how it impacts her future relationships with the opposite sex. (Part 2 of 2)


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Hey, Jim Daly here. If you like the Focus on the Family broadcast and haven't grown tired of this voice just yet, you'll love my Refocus Podcast. On Refocus, I take a deeper dive with a respected thinker on different aspects of culture. I ask those hard questions that maybe they don't get that often, and I don't shy away from challenging topics to help you share God's grace, truth, and love with others.

So listen to Refocus with Jim Daly on your favorite streaming app today. Kids who don't have daddies, daughters who don't have daddies, will invent a daddy in their mind. They'll invent a daddy. That's how strong that need is to have a dad in their life. Too often, I think we dads underestimate the impact that we can have on our children's lives, especially those little girls who just long to see an example here on earth of their Heavenly Father. This is Focus on the Family, and we'll be exploring that daddy-daughter relationship a little bit further today.

I'm John Fuller, and your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly. John, this is one of the most tender relationships in life, the relationship between a daddy and a daughter. There's something magical in that. I don't have the privilege and the blessing of having a little girl. I wish I did, but I don't. You do. You have three girls, so you know what we're talking about.

Is there something special there? Oh, absolutely. Yeah, I was in tears or approaching tears a couple of times in the conversation yesterday as I was just thinking about that bond I have with my girls. My boys, I love them to pieces, but we get together. We hit each other just for fun.

You can open the door, throw food at them, and they'll come out in a week or two. It's a whole different kind of relationship, but my daughters, I want to give them a hug and just lean in and find out how they're doing. There is a much different relational dynamic between my daughters and me as compared to my sons and me.

Yeah, and that's typical. Today, we do want to go a little further in talking about that unique relationship. We have, I think, one of the world's greatest thinkers and writers on the subject. That's Dr. Kevin Lehman.

He's written this book, What a Difference a Daddy Makes, the Indelible Imprint a Dad Leaves on His Daughter's Life. And also, Kim Trobe on staff here at Focus on the Family, one of our great communicators. And Kim, it's great to have you here.

Thank you. It's good to be here. And Dr. Lehman, so good to have you back. Hey, thanks.

It's so nice to be here. Well, last time we were talking about this dynamic and you said something, Dr. Lehman, I want to come back to because I actually, with my wife, Jean, I mentioned this to her the other day and she resonated with this and that was millions of women have husbands who are paying for the sins of their father-in-law. Their wives' daddies were not the daddies they needed to be. And wow, we can look at an indictment, but we're all going to fall short as parents. We make mistakes. But when I said that to my wife, she went, that has so much truth in it. Talk about that statement. Well, men are paying for the lousy relationship, for lack of a better term, or non-existent relationship or abusive relationship that their bride had with their father-in-law. Talk about the cause and effect.

Give us some examples. The woman who has in her mind, oh, she wants to be physically close. She's heard Dr. Lehman on Focus on the Family and she wants to be that receptive, affectionate.

In fact, she wants to try what he says to be aggressive in that tough, intimate side of life. And so she's bought herself some special perfume and she's farmed the kids out to grandma's house and she's got a nice dinner ready and she's got plans. And dad comes home, her husband comes home from work, pulls in the driveway. She hears the door slam and all of a sudden a cold chill comes over her. Now she had all the plans. She went through all, she went and bought a special this. She went and bought a special that.

So her heart was ready. The door slams and he's home and all of a sudden it shuts down. That's how indelible the imprint is of a dad on a daughter's life. She still tries to make it a nice evening but there's just something that doesn't work.

She says something, he gets angry before long. They're not in the same bedroom for that night. But how is that reflective of her relationship with her dad? She didn't get the proper affection, the proper caring.

She walked on eggs around her dad. Maybe she was a pleaser. I would assume that Kim's a pleaser. That she tells herself the lie that she only counts in life when she makes other people happy, happy, happy. Well that's a very female attribute.

Yes, it is. But you come to a point, lots of times in midlife as a woman, where a woman says, what about me? Well, when you start talking about the intimate side of life, ask yourself the question, who's better at that, men or women? Well, the obvious answer is men because it's so much simpler for a man. But for a woman to be able to even respond to this man that she's given kids to and loved with all of her heart for many of them, it's a struggle. Because A has to come in alignment with B and C and D and it takes a while. I mean, I think it was my friend Gary Smalley that said women were like crockpots.

And boys, there's psychological truth in that because women don't instantly do anything when it comes to that side of life, where men are very, very hair trigger-like. So everything has to fall in line. So some of these things that are just part of the imprint of her dad preclude her from being the woman that God would have her be. You want to read something intimidating, read 1 Corinthians 7, starting in the third verse, and it says, hey, guess what, your body belongs to your husband and your husband belongs to you. And he goes on to say that the only exception to this, and he says don't deny each other, he says the only exception to this is to take time out for prayer. And then he says, and I want you to come together again because you don't want to be tempted, you know, through Satan. And I paraphrase that, but I lemanize that scripture at seminars and say, hey, folks, listen to what St. Paul is saying.

He's saying he wants you to do it, and if you want to take time out for prayer, that's okay, but what this great study of the church says, after that, I want you to come back and do it again. I mean, there's a clear case that this is part of marital love, but you'd never know it from some of the marriages you look into, and these are primary areas that couples just struggle with. You know, Kevin, and I appreciate what you're saying, and I think that has a great influence in the relationship, in the marriage relationship. We will get letters from particularly women who are offended by that, and I want to represent their point of view and have you respond to it because so often they're already feeling the guilt that I don't do enough in that area for my husband. And for them to hear you say, if you just got together more physically, so many of the problems would be solved, it can come across as offensive.

But that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that they need to have the intimate connection. The intimate connection is the communication.

It's the, honey, I'm at the store, what can I bring you? It's the little things that mean a lot. It's the sending your wife a little card that says, you know, I love you.

I am so blessed to have you share life with me. I wrote an article once for one of the Christian magazines called How to Make Love to Your Wife Without Ever Setting Foot in the Bedroom, and they loved it. And I love little things like taking a piece of soap and making a big heart where Mrs. Uppington gets dressed in the morning and putting a little love note inside on soap on her mirror, just a little something.

It's the little things. But see, this is the point. What precludes the woman from having this intimate desire is that all those necessary ingredients many times did not come into her life by way of her father.

And so we're trying to help young families, young daddies today who are building careers in the corporate America and all that. Your wife has to come first in terms of people on this earth, and your kids need to be like Avis Renekar, number two and trying harder. They do have their position. They cannot be number one. Your wife has to be number one. And God is everything. That's a given. And by the way, in my little book, The Way the Wise, I have a chapter in there that says God doesn't want to be number one in your life. And you talk about throwing people a curveball.

They go, what do you mean by that? And I said, you don't give God a number. That's what I mean. He's in all things. He's in all relationships. And when you honor him, and see, when that husband honors God, the Kim Troveys of their life, they say to themselves, I am so glad I married that man.

I want to be close to that man. I am so blessed. I asked Sandy once, honey, would you make me a list of things that make me a better husband? And she said, sure.

Yeah, she had them all right in the tip of my neck. Let me just get the folder. Yeah, that's the greatest line of this broadcast.

Let me get the folder out. But you know, the very first thing she said, I can't remember all. She wrote down ten of them, actually. But the first one she said, I'll never forget. She said, when I don't feel good, take the kids to church anyway. Now, what is she saying? She said, I want you to be the spiritual leader. And lots of times, women, quite frankly, they just appoint us the spiritual leader, and that doesn't help.

It doesn't get the job done. She wants us to lead in a very natural way. So we've talked about the importance of dads being engaged and right through a little girl period and then teenage years and how a father can really build up his little daughter and make sure that he's engaged affectionately, appropriately, you know, making sure hugs are there, tickles are there, all the wonderful stuff. But talk about that dad that maybe has not understood that and he's right near the end of his parenting in terms of his daughter living at home. She's 16 or 17.

Let me tell you this story and have you respond to it, Kevin. There was a, I think it was a letter, I may be wrong, but I think a letter came in to focus on the family, where now a grown woman looked back on her life and looked back as a teenager when she had dressed provocatively on the way out the door with a date who had come by to pick her up. And her dad was out doing yard work, digging in the yard with a shovel. And she noticed him look up and see her and she said she was dressed very scantily on purpose. And the question would be why. She said she wanted her dad to say, wait a minute, hon, you don't go out of the home like that, that she was looking for that strong boundary.

And all he did as she passed by was to look up, look down and say, have a good time. She could hear it in his voice, but he couldn't say, don't go out of the house like that. Where's the mistake? Well, I think most of us are afraid to parent our kids. I think most of us are afraid to give our kids what I call vitamin N. Because of rejection? Which is no. They want to be their best friend. So we just go along with things. And we also think, well, they're teenagers.

They can do anything they want to do anyway. Some people are surprised to learn the Lehman kids, all five of them, they never had a curfew. And people say, well, what do you mean they didn't have a curfew?

Well, let me try it again. They never had a curfew. Well, what did that mean? And they didn't like it. Because they'd always ask the question. Because they'd always come home earlier than you would have wanted to. Oh, they'd always ask the question. Dad, what's wrong with you at home? You'd be home at a reasonable hour. They hated that.

They'd rather have me say, you'll be home at 1 a.m. or you're going to turn into a pumpkin. But we didn't. We put that tennis ball of life on their side of the court.

But we also expected the best of them. I mean, talk with any young mom today who's got a 13-, 14-year-old daughter. And try to find a swimming suit for your 13-year-old. It's tough. Just try. I mean, it's impossible.

Impossible, yeah. And we have – modesty has gone out the window. And you have to take time for training. And training means repeatedly. Dads, you have to be engaged. You know, I always say if you're there for the launching, you ought to be there for the landing.

And you have to stay close to your kids. And I've told stories about walking Chrissy, my second-born daughter, down the aisle. I mean, they played the same music for like seven minutes because I was so freaked out over the wedding thing. But the words that rang in my mind were, who gives us this woman in the loving act of marriage or something like that, he said. And I was supposed to say, well, she gives herself to Dennis with our blessing.

Well, that's not what came out. What came out was – my daughter's wedding – and I gave them a timeout sound like you would in an athletic contest. And I got in my son-in-law's face, Jim. This is at the wedding. At the wedding.

I made a fool of myself. And I said, I ain't giving her to you until I hear it from your lips. You're going to listen to her. You're going to honor her.

You're going to love her. I gave him Ephesians 5 revisited. So this wasn't in the night before the wedding rehearsal.

No, I made a fool of myself there, too. Everybody knew I don't do weddings well. Because all the kids would say, uh-oh, Dad's having a major setback. How did he respond? You've got to tell us how did he respond. Oh, he looked like a deer in a highway with the lights on.

He didn't know what hit him. And finally I caught myself and said, what are you doing, you idiot? And I turned around and I said to Pastor John, you better ask that again. And he asked it again, and I said something. I don't even remember what I said, and I sat down and cried some more. But I'll tell you what tickled me, and you might get a kick out of this as a mom, Kim. Afterward, all these young men came up to me with tears in their eyes.

And they said, Dr. Lehman, I'm with you. And they gave me high fives, and I'm not letting anybody marry my little four-year-old daughter. And here's the good news about daddies today. Daddies are much more aware of their need to be good daddies, be involved in a positive way in their kids' lives. The old generation, like Kim's dad, my dad, you know, old guys like me, you know, we're passe.

The young daddies are doing a tremendous job today. Well, and you said something to your daughter when you did that, which was, as your dad, I am not going to let anyone or anything harm you. And you also said something to your son-in-law, which is, I expect a certain level of treatment because this woman is precious.

This girl is precious. Yeah, we're so close to each other. We're like clones of each other. And he says to me, he said, yeah, we go in the restaurants, you order the same thing.

And she was the one, as a little kid, I would take two baseball games and stuff, and she still loves NFL football and all those kind of things. Each kid's different. I think one thing that I hear from you, Kevin, as a listener, you haven't picked up on this yet. It's really important to get this on the table. And that is, when they're young, it's going to go by quickly. And so, Dad, don't be so busy that suddenly they're 13, 14, 15, and you're wondering, I don't know how to have a relationship with this hormonal teenage girl. You've got to start laying the foundation pretty early, don't you?

You do. And as you say that, John, I remember a conversation you and I had on the telephone, I think it was, and we were, I guess, replaying one of the Lehman interviews over the years where I talk about taking my daughter away to college. And you said to me, Kevin, I've heard that story more than a couple times, but I couldn't get out of the car. I just wanted to hear it again. And that time does come.

That precipice is coming, folks, where that kid's taken off and they're gone. Share it. I mean, I'd like to hear it again. You don't want to hear it, really.

No, I'm serious. No, because it's a great example of what a dad should do. Oh, my goodness.

How do I get through it? Well, this goes back to training up kids. We have five of them, and we cut our teeth on our firstborn, okay? All firstborns are the lab rat of the family. And Kim, by the way, by my definition is a firstborn because she was the little mascot that came along, the little thing that trailed the rest of them in the family.

And we live in western New York State at a place called Chautauqua Lake, New York, and our daughter Holly was blessed enough to get in a place called Grove City College, which is a wonderful school. And all summer long, I would – I'm the baby of the family, and I always like to have fun. I'm firstborn Mrs. Uppington, much more serious than I am. But I said, you know, pretty soon you're going to have to say goodbye to your little daughter. And whenever I said that, she'd start to cry. But when she cries, she takes her hands like this underneath her chin and goes like this. Kind of fans her face. Yeah, fans her face, and she starts to cry. And in retrospect, I know what I was doing then.

It's called taunting. Yeah, it really was. But I was doing it because I think I was uncomfortable with that day was coming. And so August comes quick, summer goes by quickly, and we took two cars down to Grove City College. You know, welcome students, men this way, men that way. We pull up next to the girls' dorm, and about 20 young men with blue button-down shirts emptied the cars in literally seconds. And I couldn't help but watch these boys checking out, you know, the young fillies who were showing up.

I'm sure they were just service-oriented people helping the university, but I am a man. And if you've ever done that, folks, you know, you meet too many people, you're greeted by too many people, you get down to this point when you meet the stranger your kid's going to live with, and all of a sudden it hits you. And the hollies started to say goodbye. And I thought, I can't do this. And I ran out of the room. I felt claustrophobic. I just literally ran out of the room.

I said, I got to get out of here. And he started walking up the sidewalk, and I was 50 yards ahead of the two of them. They're arm in arm, you know. And we go up behind the parking lot, and I look over there.

They're about 30 feet away from me, and they're hugging each other and just sort of doing this gentle swaying back and forth. I see in the sunlight tears streaming down Sandy's face. I had this thought.

I said, don't come over here, whatever you do, because I ain't handling this well. As soon as I had the thought, she makes a beeline for Dad. And she reaches up, and she puts her arms around me, and she looks at me and says, Daddy, I love you so much. And I lost it. And I started to profusely cry. And my body did one of these where your whole body sort of jerks forward, you know, your whole shoulders. And it was the weirdest experience in all the years I've been a daddy. And I just had this weird, have I taught you everything I need to teach you about life?

You can't be all grown up and ready to go. In true male style. I said, you got to go, Holly. And I took her little waist.

She's tall and thin, five foot nine, like her mom. And I just sort of twisted her around. You know what she did? She took off for that dorm. And as she rounded that dorm, I yell, call us tonight, honey.

And she did one of these. She put her hand over her shoulder, never looked back, like, see ya, and disappeared. I looked at Sandy. I said, let's get out of here. We drove up I-79. We stopped at a Red Lobster in Erie, Pennsylvania, ate a dead fish.

Nothing helped. A part of us was gone. We didn't talk. Sandy and I didn't talk in the car. We cried. Once in a while we'd say something real uncharacteristic of us.

We get home. I know she's going to call that night. She doesn't call. Long story short, it's a week later and she calls. Oh, it had to be agonizing. Oh, gosh. But she called.

I could have gone through that telephone wire. But I asked her. I said, honey, when you walked away last week and you ducked around that dorm, what were you thinking of, thinking about? She said, Daddy, it's funny you bring it up because I was thinking about that this week. I said, what were you thinking about? She said, well, I was thinking about the fact that you and Mommy brought me up right and now it was my turn to go and do it in life.

Well, I was closing a seminar with that very talk because I think it dramatically tells you how important it is to be a good dad, to be a good mom. And as I was closing, a young woman started walking down the side of the thing and I thought, oh, gosh, it looks like Holly. She got closer. She kept coming up. And I said, it's Holly. Three thousand people stood up and gave her a standing ovation.

I've been working for two hours. I didn't get a standing ovation. She gets a standing ovation.

She goes up. I got a mic on me. And she says, Daddy, Daddy, she said, you've got to learn to tell that story right. And I said, honey, I did tell it right. She says, no, there's something I need to tell you. I said, what?

And everybody's here and everywhere. She said, Dad, I didn't turn around because I was crying and I didn't want you and Mommy to think that I couldn't make it in life. Now, isn't that the essence of training up a child, the way you should go when he is old, he will not depart from it? It's poetic. You know, Solomon says in Proverbs 3, of the past, he'll direct your past. Straighten your past. So it's not just one path.

There's lots of paths in life. So be a good parent. Are we saying here at Focus on Family, be a great parent?

No. We're just saying be a good parent. Be the parent God would have you to be. Is it easy to let go?

No, it's not. Life goes by quick. Be a good parent. Those are good words, Kevin. I mean, we're all on the table here.

You did it. And it's just such a wonderful reminder of what's important. It's not the homework. It's not all those things, the tasks and the lists. It's the love you have for your child and to see them grow up to be the people that God wants them to be.

Kim, you're grabbing the Kleenex there. What are you feeling as a woman, as a girl, as the little girl that your daddy had? As a mom with a child who's getting married this year, you understand, I understand that life goes by so quickly. And for the men who are listening out there today and for the moms who are listening out there today, no matter what holds you back from doing those intentional things, no matter what is in your past, make the choice that this child is going to get all the words they need if they need the words. They're going to get all the hugs they need if they need the hugs.

And whatever it is that holds you back isn't important enough to not do those things because you are literally going to wake up one morning and they're going to be gone. And that's what I was thinking when you were telling that story is there is nothing embarrassing about being intentional and involved in your kid's life. There's nothing unmanly about that. In fact, when I see my husband interacting with our kids, I fall in love with him all over again.

It's the most amazing thing I've ever seen him do. Well, that's a good statement right there. Having a husband that loves your kids is a good thing. And for the dads out there, for the husbands, I think we're all saying step up and do the job you need to do. That's how we talk to each other as men, isn't it, Kevin?

It is. And we're feeling dominated in our society. And someone told us that, oh, listen, I know the problem here. You need to get in touch with your feelings and just follow your feelings and you do the right thing.

And you know that's sort of dangerous, quite frankly. You just can't follow your feelings. But as Kim said so well, you've got to step up to the plate and do the right thing. And sometimes you don't feel like it. Sometimes it's not natural for you as a man to be vulnerable with your daughter.

But what you need to know is your daughter needs you to be vulnerable with her. And the truth of it is that's what men do well. We step into that vacuum to help, to provide, to bring that kind of masculine leadership to a family.

We've just got to do it. We do if we feel safe. And who helps keep us safe is our wives who say, honey, I want you to know how much I appreciate you and need you and want you and respect you. And notice I put respect at the bottom. People love to talk about respect like it's the king of everything.

Need and want go first and then respect. Well, that's well said. Author of the book What a Difference a Daddy Makes, the indelible imprint a dad leaves on his daughter's life. Dr. Kevin Lehman, thank you for being with us on Focus on the Family. You're welcome. And Kim Trobee, thanks for your heart. And it's great to have you in the studio. Thank you so much for asking me.

This was wonderful. Well, blessings to both of you. And that's how we concluded our conversation with Dr. Kevin Lehman and Kim Trobee. And I so appreciated that tender moment there as we closed. John, I'm sure you've experienced that kind of tender moment with your three daughters. I have indeed.

Yeah. And our culture seems to be against the presence of fathers nowadays. But it's so, so vital to invest in the life of your child, your daughter, while they are still in your home. And if you're looking for more ways to invest in the life of your daughter, get a copy of Dr. Kevin Lehman's book.

It's titled What a Difference a Daddy Makes, the indelible imprint a dad leaves on his daughter's life. It's a great resource for you as you're looking to use the time you have with your daughter wisely. And we'd recommend you contact us to get that copy. In fact, if you give a one time gift of any amount, we'll send it to you as our way of saying thank you. I support the work of Focus on the Family as we try to help families around the world and donate today.

Get your copy of that book. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word family, 800-232-6459. Or stop by the show notes and you'll find the links there. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ. If the fights with your spouse have become unbearable, if you feel like you can't take it anymore, there's still hope. Hope Restored Marriage Intensives have helped thousands of couples like yours. Our biblically based counseling will help you find the root of your problems and face them together. Call us at 1-866-875-2915. We'll talk with you, pray with you and help you find out which program will work best. That's 1-866-875-2915.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-27 10:42:33 / 2023-08-27 10:54:56 / 12

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