Friday, February 24, 2012

BRINGING UP DAUGHTER



"To her, the name of father, was another name for love..."

                                                                      Fanny Fern
Part 3 of 'THE FAMILY SERIES"


When I first started this series of family, earlier this week, I knew it would be easy to write about something I knew about - boys. As a father and a follower of Jesus Christ, I know what He expects of men. Therefore it is easy to pass that on to younger men or just people in general. Yesterday's blog got some major feedback from significant folks who blessed these efforts and provided more encouragement to proceed.


Raising and leaving a Legacy through a teenage daughter (through the eyes of this father) is another story. From time to time on this week, I could not help but analyze how to approach this, in a meaningful way....and came up with no major revelation!


Any mom, from across America, Canada, Australia, Finland or South Africa (where this blog is read) can do a better job than I could, explaining my own daughter Sarah. In fact, what I am noticing more and more on the internet or social media etc. is that the most popular blogs and websites, for families, are run by moms!


I have yet to come across any site run by a dad dedicated to raising girls. In my case, while I wish I had two or more daughters to raise, the one teenager we have at home now is quite a handful. At the same time, what a joy she is! What I have noticed, for the most part of daily life, no matter how the day went, at the end of each day, our daughter goes through this wonderful routine of hugs and kisses before bed with both my wife and I. This underscores not just our love as a family, but the impact we would appear to be having on her as parents.


Spending time with Sarah is uniquely different from the boys...and as it should be! I have been doing more, going on more shopping dates or movie dates with her, since our two sons got older and part-time jobs to pay for their car maintenance! Since way before Christmas, we have gone to fashion shows; teenage stores in the mall; fancy yogurt shops with her BFF's and the one that shocked me the most - the best World War II movie I ever saw - REDTAILS! In fact, I would not have even gone to see that movie if she didn't bug me to take her on opening night. Sure enough, she was one of the very few girls there in a large theater packed with men and a few wives!


Of course, all of the physical issues of growing from my baby 8 year old to preteen to teenager, are handled by Vicki, but developing this once in a lifetime relationship with my daughter has become one of the most exciting things of this past year! She is loyal and very strong-willed.  Just like her brothers, she was saved as a young child. Unlike most adults, who claim to be saved, she can remember when it happened and can discuss the Gospel in real terms. Just this past week, I was explaining what  Cessationism is, after she revealed a certain incident that happened in a class last weekend.


To me, this is an overflow of walking with the Lord and growing children up in the church, the correct way. The incorrect way leads to rebellion against God and Christ by pastor's kids (PK's) who long to bust free, because their parents have to appear a certain way, all the time. What we have raised our own children to do, with fine-tuning (depending on the kid), is to think for themselves and never force them to attend this or that extra-church event. What we have since discovered is each of them are now stepping up to read Scripture aloud or sing a gospel song or discuss the error of baptismal regeneration!


I like what John Gregory Brown said here "There's something like a line of gold thread running through a man's words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself".


My wife and I are not wealthy people but what we are is rich in love and the sense of the Christian family. We would never trade that for anything in this dying world. In practice, ours is a faith which reaches out by its love, but nevertheless, is grounded in Truth. We believe telling people the Truth is  love. What we're doing here is allowing God's little daughter, whom He placed in our care, to blossom into one day, the woman I may be forced to give away down a wedding aisle! But that too, will be a legacy.

Because of the time spent walking, talking, praying with and in discipleship with her, neither my wife nor I ever felt the need to read any book about "Bringing up Daughters". For discipline, grounding her from her friends is all that's needed to alter a certain shortcoming.

During my difficulty of two surgeries, about 3 years ago, when I was laid up for a total of 8 weeks, my favorite nurse was my then 11 year old Sarah! Still, I know both her and her mom have these long drawn out discussions. When these things happen, I turn immediately around and leave the room! This is the way it will be until Sarah is in her 20's and sees things a little differently.

There really is no advise to give anyone about raising a daughter! I will leave that to all the dear women who raise 2,3 or even 4 daughters and still keep smiling and driving that mini-van around to soccer or volleyball practice! In this celebration of family this shortened week, it is an honor to celebrate the life of our only daughter....who is now bringing us more joy. Just a few days ago, I was back in the Indoor Soccer rink for the first time in over 7 years, as yet another kid took up indoor soccer! It felt great to be back with that kid-like enthusiasm and joy we get from cheering on a loved one!

In conclusion, when I lay on my dying bed and look at our kids, I would want to be as completely satisfied as I am right now, that I represented my Father in Heaven, to my little Sarah, by being her father here on earth. That will be, most certainly, the greatest legacy any person can hand off to the next generation!
In Jesus' Name, amen.

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