As I read the news reports on Miley Cyrus and her wild escapades, I was bummed out. I loved the show “Hannah Montana,” and it was on the totally approved list at our house. She was a good kid in that show, and her father was a cool, relaxed guy who seemed to do well with his role as a father.
I used to meet every Wednesday morning 6 a.m. with a group of guys from my church. A men’s Bible study with an open format. God takes the conversations all over the place, and I remember the father and daughter relationship morning. We talked about all the usual things like when your daughter starts dating, praying with your kids and being a good example to your daughter as a man and a husband to your wife. All key elements to raising good kids, but we know that, don’t we? In our hearts we know it.
So we know it, but why don’t we always do it? Why do we still struggle with creating those moments, those lessons, those memories? Yes, there are super dads, the perfect guys who have good jobs and take wonderful vacations with their kids and have a great wife. The super dads seem to have everything organized, and their kids are wonderful in every way. OK, I admit those guys bug me. I am happy for them, but that life I do not know. The family life I know can be hard and unorganized; we argue, we laugh and love each other through it all.
Dads, a daughter needs to know you care about them. They need to know you think they are precious and important. Single moms, it’s a tough order for you. Girls need to learn from their daddy they are special, but when he is not present, she is missing half the team God intended. You have got to find a male role model, and it won’t be easy. Coach, teacher, instructor, uncle — it’s tough.
I read an article a couple years back about an organization that provided a girl with a hunting opportunity. They claimed in the article that their organization and the hunting experience forever changed that child’s life. But at the end, on the bottom tucked in the raving reviews on the organization was a quote from the little girl.
“I want to thank my shop teacher for introducing me to this program. I want to thank him for always being there for me and helping me get through high school. I will always be grateful to him.”
Maybe a bit off the exact quote, but what I read in that was that it was the teacher who changed this girl’s life. It was this man who mentored and challenged, loved and cared for his student. It could have been bowling, softball or horses. It was a man who was committed to her and cared about her.
“The Cosby Show” was on the air for eight years from 1984 to 1992. The Huxtables were an affluent family living in the Bronx. The ratings for the popular show soared and dominated TV sitcoms in the ‘80s. Cosby was instrumental in the show’s success in many ways, but most important was his insistence that the show be educational and carry good moral and ethical themes. It is not unusual for America to be drawn to good; it is in our hearts. We want to live in a loving family that cares for us. It is natural. Mommy, daddy — the names and needs are universal.
I live a life of many mistakes. I use a lot of mulligans daily. I am not always welcomed into my daughter’s life at the age of 19. I get that. I know I could do better in a lot of areas, and it hurts sometimes when I think about the opportunities, the moments I passed up or ignored to speak into her life. But one thing I know as truth. I trust God. I believe that I can push the restart button any day, and if I am true to my heart and God, try again to do better, it will matter. I know she has given her life to God and he will ultimately, long after I am gone, continue to take care of her, father her. That is a huge blessing.
To my precious daughter, I love you. I love who you are and who you are becoming. I love watching you grow and the moments you let me participate in your life. To God, I love you. Watch over her and shepherd her. Instill in her a heart for you. To the hairy-legged little boys out there who will meet my daughter — she is very special and her expectations are high. She has goals, morals and virtues she lives by, not to mention her brothers are kinda crazy, and although I have never actually castrated a bull or wild boar pig, I have seen it once or twice and I am willing to learn.