Earlier this year I was privileged to attend the father-daughter banquet at our Church with my two oldest daughters. At the end of the night, I asked Mrs. Caroline Casselberry, our guest speaker, for her notes. Her message, at least for us in the room, was spot on and very good.
As a father, I believe we can learn so much more when we will simply listen. This skill is not some “trait” that we simply develop. If you are anything like me, you have to work hard in learning to listen. I am convinced of God, both through the Word of God and personal convictions, that we need to listen to those who are not only more advanced in age, but those who both have experience of life’s failures and victories along with those who simply desire to walk with their God.
Read Caroline’s words of wisdom and sound advice. See what God would have you to glean and apply in your own life.
Christian. Husband. Father. Author.
by Caroline Casselberry
February 21, 2016
Your dad brought something! (have them pull out the baby picture of them)
Dad, take some time to tell your daughter what some of your first thoughts were when you saw her the first time.
I bet your Dad thought somewhat the same as mine did!
Wow! She’s so wonderful!
How am I going to take care of her? Can I do it well?
All muddled in those million thoughts was a sheer joy of the gift GOD had given them!
I can guess at your daddy’s thoughts because I’m also a mom… of 2 daughters. And I treasure what the daddy of my girls thought when they were born. We have some pretty epic emotional pictures of our first-born and her dad’s fierce protection of her! Holding her carefully and protectively!
And look at you girls! You are now young ladies! Along the way, your dad and you have hugged, played, sang, worked, helped mom, maybe welcomed other brothers and sisters. You’ve done sports, played instruments, sang, and vacationed together! Take a moment to look at the next picture your dad brought. It is of one of his favorite memories of something you have done together.
I love seeing your smiles!
Now, tell your Dad what picture you would have brought with you of a favorite memory.
Well, if it isn’t obvious enough, tonight we are celebrating you and your Dad. But I as a Mom would like to share a few things with both of you.
To the Dads.
First to you, the Dads…
I’m sure you do not need me to remind you because it can almost give you a frantic sense at times, but time to love your daughter, to be the example of the man that should cherish her in marriage or respect her in the workplace… is RUNNING OUT. Your daughter is the age that friends, young men, jealous and unkind peers surround her. And whether we like it or not, they exist, with their own agendas. You, with your experience, know better than anyone. AND, your careers are busy, demanding, simply time consuming. It demands some choices in communication and priorities of time, with that beautiful, wonderful gift sitting next to you here tonight. Don’t come to later life, thinking of this time with regrets.
I have a few suggestions:
- Where there is conflict, listen. (Answer fact with facts, feeling with feelings)
- Where there is need of “thought/action adjustment”, communicate in love, with communication of life skills and reason.
- Where there is hurt, hear and be there for her.
- Where there is joy, celebrate together.
- Where there is need, give of yourself.
- And, just sit and tuck her in your arm and watch a funky movie…
- Show her all along, how a man can love a woman, her mom, as Christ loves the church, not only because GOD commands it, but that in that living is expressed the desire for how you want a man to treat her in marriage, if indeed that is in His plan or calling.
- Instill in her the desire for nothing less than what she sees in you. Make it good, great!
- And, in a world where divorce has affected her up close or afar, help her understand there are men of faith and commitment worth waiting for, someone that will see her beauty and character as the great gift GOD has meant it to be. To aim high, with faith that she can have a life full as a single or married, whichever is GOD’s plan or calling to be embraced.
- Say your sorry, ask forgiveness.
I also want to propose that quality happens within quantity.
We had wonderful memories… loading my horses to take me to rodeos, trips with the family, his loving my hugs when I gave them to him after I decided to hug him regularly. I always knew he loved me, though I cannot remember ever hearing him say I was pretty or “I love you.” Please don’t get me wrong. He was a wonderful dad, but it was my husband that was used to correct my inferior thinking of myself. (Neither did I have input about men, their character, or how they should treat me, and looking back, my dad was the best example.)
Be the dad that covers all those bases, so your daughter doesn’t seek to fill these holes in her heart with an inferior love. Run the race of dad-hood in such a manner as to pass her a baton of life wisdom and love that will help her turn our world upside down. GOD’s kingdom work needs women that know their extreme value and beauty in GOD’s economy and the healing she can bring to the hurting world, wherever she is, whatever she is doing, married or single!
And young ladies…
My heart is for you. Not much changes for us! This is a rough, challenging, wonderful world. It was when I was your age, and it is now. And, can we be honest, woman to woman, how rough it really is? The competition! I would bet you have had many thoughts of falling short. We aren’t pretty enough, “too fluffy” (even the skinniest cheerleader in your halls thinks she needs to lose weight), “not smart enough.” There is the whole pressure of dating, being liked by everybody, your popularity. And, there is a subliminal expectation of us getting married! Yet, GOD gave us singleness, first to grow us, and marriage is another way He will grow us, as a calling in life. It is very natural and he created us for it… But singleness doesn’t mean we are inferior or broken! Quite the contrary! It is serving Him wherever we are, for which He created us. Indeed, purpose of our life here is living life fully, for Him, whatever that entails.
Here is my point! You are unique to this world, of great value and have been given great gifting’s. Life should be an adventure to see who you are created to be and what you are called to be. How to hear past all the voices that are trying to pull you away from that great, exciting plan, telling you lies about your inadequacies… is the challenge. Self-doubt and self-poverty are lies we tend to believe. DON’T!
I’m a transition coach… because we are always in transition! Transition is any point in life where changes are being made. Some are physiological in nature. The teenage years seem extreme and ridiculous at times… and it is the actual physical growth of your nervous system, the brain specifically, that confuses both you and your parents sometimes. But without those struggles, the synapses cannot make connection! The facts are, you are “fearfully and wonderfully made”… and GOD will accomplish everything to grow you for His kingdom.
Now, there is a tool for you to keep your balance against those false voices…confusion, as you literally grow your brain… it’s your Dad.
- Ask his opinion on things. His life experiences can save you heartache along the way.
- Listen when he voices concerns… and when he compliments you, really hear those compliments.
- Where you are hurt, by him or others, voice it… work it through.
- Where there is conflict, listen, and talk.
- Communicate in love, seeking his
- Take time with him, thinking about his example on how you should be treated by others. (A dose of reality here: There are situations where dads do not treat their daughters as they should… you have all probably seen those things already in your life. Express your sadness and concern to your dad… let him guide you as you see these hard things in life.)
- Know your dad is not perfect… or all knowing! But he does his best.
Dad and Daughter.
And, finally, to all of you, be thankful. You are both here together! Perhaps the better woman to speak to you tonight would be either of my daughters. Becky, my oldest, had a dad that was able to be very much a father to her until she turned 13, when a brain tumor started to affect her Dad. She could tell you the memories of father-daughter banquets, swim meets, tractor rides at granddads, and how her dad loved her mom!
Or my next daughter, Katie, who by the time she could remember such things well, Dad was less dad. When father-daughter banquets came around for her, her dad was gone. Though men here at GCC (Grace Community Church) were sensitive and offered to bring her, it was mostly too uncomfortable for her and she kindly declined. But, she knows her dad loved her and would have done differently if he could have. It just wasn’t his choice. And, she has beautifully accepted GOD’s plan in the pain of it all.
I just want you to understand, a father and daughter have a relationship that is oh so important. Some get to have that relationship and others do not. Be thankful you do. Understand that your being his daughter, pushes your Dad to love in a way he never knew possible, to feel overwhelmed with responsibilities of how to best care for you and love you, and that ultimately you drive him to his knees in prayer… because he feels so inadequate. And, that Dads, is where you function best!
Dads, you are the place that GOD gets to tell a young woman how much GOD loves them and cares for them… How relationships say I love you by saying I’m sorry, laughing and living together. Who, as she learns that in fact her dad makes mistakes, she learns humbleness of confession and joy of forgiveness and forgiving…starting again. She also learns the meaning of trust for a protection and a love for which she learns gratitude.
My last observation – it comes down to choices! There are choices you make, and then there are events in life that are not a choice. Look at each other. GOD made this choice for you… and I am so grateful for it, you choose to be grateful too, and tell each other how grateful you are! He saw this as good for your growth and His kingdom. If you understand that GOD has a plan and His plan is good, you are then looking at part of that good plan for you, in each other.
And the most important thing to remember is this: Struggles and all, blunders big and small, in this father/daughter relationship, there is one bigger. There is One who is perfect, and, when, like my daughters faced, Dad is gone, there is ONE who will never be missing. Or, when daddies drop daughters off at a college dorm for the first time, there is another who has her best interest in HIS heart. And thus, this is the choice we all must make – what you do with GOD.
- You are not part of GOD’s family because your family or friends are, or because you go to church…We are sinners…there is no changing that.
- You were created for relationships… in community, family and with GOD. You will be poor without them. And if the earthly ones are missing or lacking, He is present and provides.
- There is One relationship that can make up for them all. That One is with GOD.
It isn’t religious. It isn’t rules… it is a relationship. When mom, dad, sister, brother, friend let you down… He will not. And his guidelines protect you. They are not rules designed to kill your fun, or destroy opportunity in life, or popularity. It is in the living of them that gives you a beauty beyond imagination…validation as a wonderful woman, His daughter.
Do you seriously understand, that you are short of GOD’s standards, that you need and want Him as your father? Then ASK… and He will forgive you of all the wrong things you have done. Ask for a changed heart, actions and strength, and He will give it to you.
And if you have asked, don’t quit there. With great gratitude accept His gift. Live life according to Him, not the surrounding voices pulling you away with lies. THE GOD of the universe is your eternal Father – All day, in every way, wherever you are.
Tonight, we celebrate that part of His gift for you, is the one you are sitting next to at this Father-Daughter dinner! Enjoy each other, make memories, and learn life wisdom together. The adventure will be wonderful, and the work and trust it takes will make future years so very full. Do the hard work and don’t miss it. And give great thanks for each other.
You started out with a picture, and tonight you will be taking one home. It is my hope that you will put it up where you will see it every day; you will remember these things:
- Great thanks that you have a father that loves you so desperately.
- That each of you each are imperfect.
- That the deep love your father has for you is minuscule, just a drop in the ocean, compared to your Heavenly Father’s love and care for you, His beautiful, wonderful creation. You cannot imagine how immense it is.
Let us Pray.