4 Things Fathers Should Teach Their Daughters About Men
Navigating the opposite sex without a father is like driving in a foreign country without a GPS, map, or compass. You are pretty much left to rely on your own directional expertise, or in my case, the lack thereof. At best, this is problematic.
Ideally, a woman should learn about men from her father. H. Norman Wright, author of Always Daddy’s Girl had the following to say about what girls learn about men from their fathers.
Your father was the vehicle for introducing you to the opposite sex. How carefully you were taught about masculinity – both directly and indirectly- by your father, and how well you learned those lessons, will be evident in your interaction with the men in your personal and business life. Your father has colored your perception of men and shaped your expectations of how men will or should behave toward you.
Wright’s statement explains why many women have a misinformed perspective and interaction with the men in their lives. This is a truth I discovered about myself once I reached adulthood. My understanding of men was based on pieced together information from my circle of friends and the culture around me. This resulted in misunderstandings, mistakes and a host of regrets.
I was reminded of this a few months ago as my kids and I made a lengthy trek up the interstate for a field trip. Nothing says road trip like an audiobook, so I decided to listen to one that’s been on my list for some time, “Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons” by Tim Russert.
The book is comprised of several letters people wrote Russert about their fathers. One of those commentaries was from Maria Shriver, journalist, activist, author, and former first lady of California . In his book Shriver shares a vivid memory of her father.
When she was first going out with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Arnold offered to send her a plane ticket so she could visit him in California. Hearing that, her father sent her a long letter. “Do not accept an airline ticket from a man,” he wrote, “because you will owe him. And do not ever put yourself in a position where you owe anything about yourself to a man.” She was surprised to read her father’s words as he continued, “because I know what a man thinks he’s going to get for an airline ticket.”
Upon hearing these words I felt a deep sense of sorrow, not because I had accepted a plane ticket, but because there was a time in my life when I would have immediately hopped on the first flight to California without consulting anyone. There was a desperate neediness about me that resulted in absolutely no filter when it came to men. I was uber gullible and giddy at any hint of any male attention, even if it was predatory.
What I was lacking was the attention, wisdom, and guidance of a father. Looking at the present landscape of relationships it appears that I’m not the only one. We have a generation of women misinformed about men as evidenced by our broken relationships.
Women who attend church are not exempt from these scenarios. In fact, I’ve been in the church my entire life and much of what I know about divorce, sex, abortion, adultery and STDs comes from men and women and women that say, “Amen” on Sunday just like me.
If we as women are going to engage in long lasting relationships with men we need to know how to interact with them. In Proverbs 4:5 (NIV), King Solomon, tells us, “Get wisdom, get understanding.” James, the brother of Jesus says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”James 1: 5 (NIV).
Somehow in getting wisdom, women have missed the need to ask God for help relating to men. But it makes perfect sense to go to the creator of mankind to get understanding on his creation. If we ask God for wisdom on the opposite sex I am certain he will direct us to people, resources, and scripture that will answer our prayers. God desires that we have healthy relationships with men more than we do; Relationships are His idea.
This is what God has been doing for me: teaching, correcting, and helping me understand the differences between men and women. After realizing that I was absolutely clueless on the subject matter I decided to consult God in order to create a legacy of strong relationships. For a women who did not grow up learning about the inner workings of the male psyche from her dad there is hope.
We can learn about men from our our heavenly Father. He is a master teacher crafting individualized lessons for the advanced and behind learner. He will make our crooked paths of wrong thinking and misinformed understandings straight. Join me for the next few weeks as we unpack what fathers should teach their daughters about men.
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