A few years ago, a publisher sent AFA a new book titled Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Meg Meeker, M.D. Dr. Meeker is now co-host on Dr. Jim Dobson’s Family Talk, a daily radio program. Her book title intrigued me because the “normal” line of thought about parent-child relationships has always seemed to focus on father-son and mother-daughter connections. However, over recent decades, psychologists and scholars have explored the nature of crucial cross-gender relationships of parents and children. I was blessed with a mom and a dad who both invested a lot in my life on every level, even into my adulthood.
Now, on Father’s Day, I’m always a little sad that I can’t go see Dad anymore. But his death will separate us only for a short time. So my sadness pales in the light of eternity and the rich Christian heritage he passed on to me. I know I’ll see him again in heaven.
I often tell the story of Dad taking his family of six to church on a snowy Christmas Sunday morning more than 50 years ago. The weather was so bad, we Murphrees were the only ones who showed up. It’s one of my earliest childhood memories, and as the years speed by, I realize what a treasure it is.
Those of us who are blessed with godly fathers too often take them for granted. Unfortunately, the godly father is more rare today than he was just a generation ago. In fact, there are people in contemporary culture who insist that fatherhood is a dinosaur, a useless relic of an unsophisticated era.
I opened Dr. Meeker’s book with a great deal of interest. She cautions dads: “Your daughter takes cues from you, her father, on everything from drug use, drinking, delinquency, smoking and having sex, to self-esteem, moodiness and seeking attention from teen boys.”
Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know delivers some serious challenges along with practical principles showing a father how to strengthen or rebuild the relationship with his daughter. It is not by definition a Christian book, but Dr. Meeker’s principles and many of her case studies and anecdotes reflect clear Christian principles.
Among the startling truths pointed out in the book are:
- Toddlers securely attached to fathers are better at solving problems.
- Girls with doting fathers are more assertive.
- A daughter’s self-esteem is best predicted by her father’s physical affection.
- Fathers help daughters become more competent, achievement-oriented and successful.
- 76% of teen girls said their fathers influenced (for good or bad) their decisions on whether to become sexually active.
- Girls with involved fathers are less likely to flaunt themselves to seek male attention.
And those few facts just scratch the surface. Dr. Meeker has 25 years experience practicing pediatric and adolescent medicine and counseling teens and parents. She defends traditional moral values and disdains the feminist fallacies and politically correct propaganda that undermine the role of fatherhood.
After reminding dads of the pressures girls face in today’s culture, she tells them, “Protecting her and teaching her about God, sex and humility doesn’t require a degree in psychology. It just means being a dad.”
You want to know Dr. Meeker’s 10 secrets? Well, among them are “Protect Her, Defend Her (use a shotgun if necessary)” and “You Are the Most Important Man in Her Life.” You’ll have to read the book for the other eight. Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters (Regnery, 2006) can be an invaluable resource for every dad who takes its message to heart.
Godly dads are more desperately needed in our culture today than ever before.