Last Saturday, my 18-month old daughter was the flower girl in her cousin’s wedding. Daniela just learned to walk a month ago, so we questioned whether she would make it down the lengthy, red-carpeted aisle.
|Daniela on the red carpet|
Sure enough, about a quarter of the way down the aisle, Daniela stopped and froze in place. The ring bearer did his best to gently tug at her arm, but she wouldn’t budge. When the bride’s mother urged me to intervene, I jogged down the aisle to my daughter, bent down, and said, “Come on, Daniela, let’s go.”
I was afraid she would resist, forcing me to pick her up and carry her. But when she saw me, she smiled, took my hand, and we began slowly walking down the aisle together as the guests and wedding party chuckled.
As we walked hand-in-hand towards the altar, it hit me – there I was, walking my daughter down the aisle. My heart ached a bit as I realized that the next time we took these steps at a wedding, it would be her wedding.
Her little hand in mine took on a whole new meaning as we neared the end of the aisle, where there stood a beaming young groom, waiting for his bride. He’s a gentleman who is kind, self-controlled, well-raised, and deeply respected by those who know him best – the type of man I hope my daughter will marry one day.
Later in the day, it occurred to me that, by the time she is old enough to marry, I will have little control over the man she chooses. She will be too old for me to pick her up and take her in the right direction, so the process of leading her to a good man is something that starts now, while the altar is still far away.
To get her moving in the right direction, I’ve already begun affirming her daily through words and affection. It’s my hope that, in receiving that kind of attention from me, she will be less likely to sacrifice her body and soul to get it from a flattering, halfway-interested man-boy.
More importantly, I’m becoming more and more conscious of the way I speak to her mother. I’m Daniela’s primary example of how a man should treat a woman, and if her mom has to live with a guy whose comfortable regularly being a jerk, then Daniela may assume she deserves to live with the same kind of man one day.
Finally, I’m focusing more on my role as a spiritual leader in our home. I sing Christian kids’ songs to my daughter, talk to her about God’s love, and pray blessings over her before I lay her down to sleep. I’m hoping that, in doing so, I will help her understand the central role our faith plays in a serious love relationship.
As a dad, these are some of the ways I’m meeting my daughter early in her trip down the aisle, stooping down, and saying, “Come on, Daniela, let’s go.” And I hope that, when the time comes, the way I raised her will lead her into the arms of a man who loves her even more than I do.
I have a daughter, too, so I can relate to the idea of it being hard to fathom that one day, I'll give her away to some guy I don't even know yet. Reminds me of this: http://middletree.blogspot.com/2011/06/fathers-day-songs.html
Josh These are great insights on treating her now how you would like some man in the future to treat her. I did this with my now married daughter when she was young and it paid great dividends (at least I like to think so!) As she gets older….around 8 or so…take her on dad/daughter dates. Pull out the chair for her at the table, open the car door for her, etc. I guarantee she'll remember that years down the road. As she moves into her teens she may begin to think it odd to keep doing those dad/daughter dates….but you definitely have several years where she will be soaking it up.
What a beautiful relationship you are developing with your family! It is also awesome how God has given you the foresight to see how you treat your wife and daughter will impact your kids forever. Wish more men had that insight. Great post! Thanks for sharing 🙂
James – amen.Anonymous, I like your idea a lot, because it includes a lot of practical ways to reinforce the need for her to marry a gentleman.And humphriestc, thanks for the encouragement.
Joshua, this is a good word and good reminder. I saw that Wall Street Journal commentary floating around FB confirming what we know intuitively about the relationship between father and daughter. It's so important, and good to start the encouragement and teaching young.
Joshua,Great article! I really liked this one a lot. I'm not even close to being a dad, but still even at the age of 23, I can begin to shape my life to be a God like example for others to see. :)Joshua
I agree, Joshua. 1 Tim. 4:12
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