DEAR DAD: THE SECRET SAUCE TO DAUGHTERS

Dear Dads,

We love that you’re smart and really good at fixing stuff. Actually, it’s pretty awesome when you come to the rescue and change our flat tire, help us move into our first dorm, or teach us to drive…well, maybe not that one…because that’s just plain awful on every level. Anyway, we sure appreciate your Mr. Fix It DNA. We understand most of you are wired that way; to solve problems and fix things. It’s a win-win really.

But can I tell you a secret? Your best feature is not your handiman-ness. At least, not when it comes to daughters and the other ladies in your life. Your best feature is your…

EARS.

Probably not what you were expecting, right?

When you listen, ask questions, and genuinely take an interest in us, you are relationship-ing. And when you relationship (as-in-a-verb), we feel loved. You don’t have to fix or solve anything. You don’t have to make or spend a lot of money. We just want you to care. We love it when you’re interested in us.

It might be a cliché that women talk in coffee shops for hours. But it’s a cliché for a reason. We are wired for relationships. We love to talk. We love to listen and be listened to. We love that back and forth interaction that says, “I feel you,” and “I’m with you.” It’s how God made most of us ladies. We just crave your attention. We want your ears. We want you to be present; to put down your phone or device, turn off the ballgame, look us in the eyeballs, and listen to us like we are the only person on the planet. That’s it. That’s the secret sauce to daughters.

If you will heed this wisdom, I’m telling you, your relationship with your daughter will change. If you value and love her, you will be willing to learn this skill if you don’t currently have it. There are books. It is learnable. You’ll have to resist the urge to talk over her. You’ll have to quiet your thoughts when you want to solve a problem instead of listen. You’ll need to actually listen instead of thinking about what you’re going to say next during the conversation. And you’ll have to become a Question Ninja. But we know you can do it. You have Ninja potential.

Here’s the point. Love listens. When you lend your time and ears — you’re telling us we’re worth it. You’re also teaching us that men are not pigs, they can have meaningful conversation, and they are interested in more than our bodies. Listening upgrades our view of men. It is mission-critical for our decisions regarding men down the road.

When you don’t listen or value what we have to say, we learn to stop speaking up. It won’t matter anyway. We begin to believe the lie that we don’t have anything of value to say. And what if our God-given destiny is to use our voice for something significant? You have now belittled what God beloves. We know that’s not your heart. That’s why I’m sharing this secret.

So Dads, I invite you to become Listening Champions. With your daughters, put your best foot forward. And apparently your foot is your ear.

Joyfully,

Rachel B.

Rachel Barrentine is a Speaker/Singer/Author living in Nashville, TN. She is passionate about igniting fresh faith through music, speaking, writing, and laughter.

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