talk to your daughter



Daughters, Dads And Listening
by Lee Wise
Lee Wise All rights reserved

"Thanks, dad. Thanks for listening. I always knew I could come to you." 

Last month a strange and not entirely unexpected guest made his way into my life. 

"Sixty" sauntered in, quite confident of his admittance I might add, caring little how I felt. 

Being sixty can mean...

Briskly heading toward the men's room quicker than I might choose,

Staring in disbelief at the "fright night like" creature squinting back at me from the torture chamber (my mirror) while remembering the kid wearing a swimsuit who stopped the clock soon enough to place second in state, 

Wondering if the time ever existed when I didn't need to see *someone* related to *something* about an obscure (or not so obscure) part of my physical being,

And being grateful for hearing a set of words similar to the ones you read during the last sixty seconds:

"Thanks, dad.
Thanks for listening.
I always knew I could come to you." 

My friend and father of one or more daughters: I beg you. 

I beg you...

Please, please read the following statement carefully, thoughtfully and if so inclined prayerfully:

You may be sad for good advice not received, but make every effort -- every effort -- not to fail at listening to your daughter.

Tears come in many shapes and sizes, but few carry more emotional weight than tears of regret.

Strive to lessen your tears of regret and increase the future possibility of expressing tears of joy for the hours, days and years of careful listening to the daughter of your youth.

Listen when she's down -- no matter how long it takes.

Listen when she wants to build a snow tunnel, take a walk, go to the zoo, watch her routine for the color guard, listen as she plays the flute, and pick her up when she's scared.

Listen when life treats her well. Share the joys, freakish highs, and every level of joyful emotion in between.

Listen to the story of her life in grade three because you want her to tell you a whole lot more when she's twenty- three, thirty-three and forty-three. 

Listen when she feels unlovely. Take just enough time to let her know in no uncertain terms how lovely she is to you.

Listen when the guy's been a jerk, and don't jerk her bruised emotional chain while she's down. Care, listen, and care some more.

Listen when she needs you to listen more than you need your emotional space.

Listen when she questions your standards, beliefs, judgment and even your love. Listen and pray -- like a drowning man in turbulent waters -- because of your need to carefully respond instead of carelessly react. 

Listen when she needs a friend more than a father. 

Listen when she says "I'm sorry." Listen and forgive. Be a man of grace as opposed to a man with a large set of rules and a small heart. 

Listen when an emergency apparatus is needed which she anticipates using with great regularity. When you hear, "Dad, can you go to the store for me?" ... just go. Yes, even when you find yourself trying to discover a box "with wings." 

Listen when she wants you to hold her hand while walking down the street. Listen, because life will seem unusually short when she takes your arm to meet another special, younger man at the end of a very long aisle. And should she request to play "Butterfly Kisses," prepare by playing it in advance, dad. Believe me, you'll need the prep time. 

Listen when you answer the phone and she asks: "Dad, can I talk to mom?" Don't hesitate. Get mom. Let her know you respect her need to "talk girl talk." Get this, dad: a girl's heart comes super sized for life. Her heart can handle more than one person in its chambers. 

Listen when you hear the sounds of love she expresses to her own child, when life spits out more pain than she anticipated at age sixteen, and when she asks for your prayers.

And listen some more. 

Listen till you hear...

"Thanks, dad.
Thanks for listening.
I always knew I could come to you." 

You will not regret it. I promise you.
You will not regret paying the price to hear those words. 

Lee Wise All rights reserved. You may freely distribute
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talk to your daughter

(c) 2004 Carl Caton

talk to your daughter