Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters

bookOne of the books I read as I prepared for our current series at Revolution was Dr. Meg Meeker’s great book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know.

To me, this is such an empowering book for fathers. We often feel unsure, at a loss of how to relate to our daughters, how to treat them differently than a son, or how to feel like we are moving forward in a relationship with them.

This book is about what a daughter needs from a father that a mother cannot give.

Here are a few things I highlighted:

  • What you say in a sentence, communicate with a smile, or do with regard to family rules has infinite importance for your daughter.
  • Friends, family members, teachers, professors, or coaches will influence her to varying degrees, but they won’t knead her character. You will. Because you are her dad.
  • Loving your daughter better might seem complicated to you, but it’s very simple to her. Being a hero to your daughter sounds daunting, but actually it can be quite easy. Protecting her and teaching her about God, sex, and humility doesn’t require a degree in psychology. It just means being a dad.
  • Fathers, more than anyone else, set the course for a daughter’s life.
  • Boyfriends, brothers, even husbands can’t shape her character the way you do. You will influence her entire life because she gives you an authority she gives no other man.
  • Being a twenty-first-century hero is tough stuff. It requires emotional fortitude, mental self-control, and physical restraint. It means walking into embarrassing, uncomfortable, or even life-threatening situations in order to rescue your daughter.
  • Whatever outward impression she gives, her life is centered on discovering what you like in her, and what you want from her.
  • The only way you will alienate your daughter in the long term is by losing her respect, failing to lead, or failing to protect her. If you don’t provide for her needs, she will find someone else who will—and that’s when trouble starts. Don’t let that happen.
  • Authority is not a threat to your relationship with your daughter—it is what will bring you closer to your daughter, and what will make her respect you more.
  • Nothing feels better to a teen or young daughter than being protectively embraced by dad’s strong arms.
  • Do a gut check on your own beliefs, and think of what sort of woman you want your daughter to be. She’ll learn not only from what you say, but from what you do.
  • If you don’t accept the authority that is naturally yours, if you don’t set high standards, if you don’t act to protect your daughter, if you don’t live a life of moral principle, your daughter will suffer.
  • The minute you waffle on your convictions, you lose stature in your daughter’s eyes.
  • Let me tell you a secret about daughters of all ages: they love to boast about how tough their dads are—not just physically, but how strict and demanding they are.
  • When I talk to daughters about their fathers, the conversations are almost always emotionally charged. They adore their fathers or hate them—sometimes they do both simultaneously.
  • Your daughter yearns to secure your love, and throughout her life she’ll need you to prove it.
  • We talked about how difficult it is for parents to be realistic about their own children. Because we want them to make good decisions, we assume they will. We want to believe our kids are stronger, more mature, and better capable of handling situations than other kids. And that’s when mistakes happen.
  • Most parents pull away from their teenage daughters, assuming they need more space and freedom. Actually, your teenage daughter needs you more than ever. So stick with her. If you don’t, she’ll wonder why you left her.
  • Daughters who feel a stronger emotional connection with their fathers feel more attached to them. And the more attached she feels to you, the lower the likelihood that she will be depressed or have an eating disorder.
  • Girls hate feeling invisible.
  • When you show a genuine interest in being with her, she feels more attached to you.
  • If you listen to your daughter attentively for ten minutes every day, by the end of the month you’ll have a completely new relationship with her.
  • Boundaries and fences are a must for girls, particularly during the teen years.
  • Remember that whatever she says, the very fact that you thoughtfully and consistently enforce rules of behavior makes her feel loved and valued. She knows that these rules are proof that you care.
  • Your daughter needs to feel unique and important in your eyes.
  • When fathers don’t teach their daughters humility—that we are all created equal and are equally valuable—advertisers, magazines, and celebrities will teach them otherwise.
  • Girls who have the gift of humility are better placed to have deeper, longer-lasting friendships. With humility, your daughter is free to enjoy people for who they are; she’ll have no haughty desire to cut people out of her life.
  • Happiness is truly found only when it is routinely denied.
  • Protect her budding sexuality and defend her right to modesty. Reiterate to her that sex isn’t a simple bodily function—it is powerfully linked to her feelings, thoughts, and character.
  • Parents are the most important influence on their teenagers’ decisions about sex.
  • Think very seriously about her as a girl growing into a woman, a sexual being. When she is three years old, think about what you want for her when she is twenty. You must, because even when she’s three you give her messages about her body—whether it’s beautiful or chubby. And all these messages count.
  • Your daughter needs you to hug her often. If you are gentle, respectful, and loving, that’s what she will expect from boys. And she needs to know—all the time—that you love her.
  • All girls from eleven years old on feel fat. They feel ugly, pudgy, pimply, and unattractive. Watch how your young teen stands. Most girls slouch if they’re tall. If they’re short, they wear platform shoes. Girls almost inevitably lack confidence in their appearance. So move in and hug her. The effect can be profound.

Here’s the short: if you are a father of a daughter or will be, you need to read this book. As soon as possible. I was so challenged and encouraged by this book in how to interact and love my daughter to become who God created her to be.

To see other book notes, click here.

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Leadership as an Identity

bookOver the weekend I read Leadership as an Identity: The Four Traits of Those Who Wield Lasting Influence (kindle) by Crawford Loritts. To say I liked this book would be an understatement. I devoured this book. I found myself highlight almost something on every page.

If you are a Christian leader, pastor or business leader, you need to read this book. What set this book apart was that it had very little “here’s what a leader does” advice. This book is all about what influences and shapes a leader. Ultimately, what shapes a leader will eventually come out in their actions.

Here is some of what I highlighted:

  • We tend to ignore character flaws and even sin in the life of a leader because of his more worldly leadership skills.
  • Brokenness is a conscious, core awareness that you need God in all things. A broken person has come to realize that he is nothing and can do nothing apart from God’s presence and enabling power (John 15:5). A broken person has come to the end of himself—at least what he understands at that moment to be the end of himself.
  • The leader who is broken is a leader who can be used by God.
  • God delights in surrender. It is a foundational, fundamental principle of the Christian life. In fact, you can’t truly be a Christian without surrender.
  • Leaders fall when they stop following.
  • Humility is an intentional thing. It is a decision, a choice. When you fail to intentionally humble yourself, pride will overtake you. It’s just a matter of time.
  • A challenge not only for young leaders but for all leaders is that you are one decision away from losing the ability to lead.
  • God does not primarily delight in using what you bring to the table. Instead, He delights in using what you surrender to Him. His assignments will require you to operate outside of your areas of strength, out of your comfort zone. God will put you in situations where you have no choice but to rely on His miraculous power, strength, and intervention.
  • The truly great, effective leaders are not always the “best” leaders.
  • What we value the most will be the foundation upon which we build our leadership.
  • Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks.
  • God is using what He has given you to do to not only accomplish His assignments but to make you what He wants you to become.
  • Every person God will trust with influencing others will suffer.
  • It’s a dangerous thing to follow a leader who has never failed.
  • There can be no leadership apart from adversity and hard times. Your credibility to lead is in direct relationship to your ability to endure.
  • The challenges of leadership are meant to make you hungry for God.
  • God’s presence causes you to lead from rest.
  • Despite what is going on all around you, know that He not only has everything that you need, but He is also giving you all that you need to deal with whatever is before you.
  • Christian leadership is all about doing what God wants done.
  • There is a close relationship between your walk with God and the assignment He has given you.
  • We need to be careful that we are not using servant leadership language as a strategy—as a means to manipulate people to do what we want them to do.
  • Vision gives the leader the responsibility to see the big picture and determine where a ministry is going. The leader then mobilizes the people to get the job done.
  • I think one of the greatest challenges for a leader is to move people to places that many times they don’t want to go—but they are never the same once they have gone!
  • Both pride and humility have, for the most part, very little to do with your actions and choices, but they have everything to do with your motives and attitudes.
  • Humility is the intentional recognition that God is everything to you, and that you are nothing without Him. It is the acknowledgment that life is not about you, and that the needs of others are more important than your own.
  • Your approach to leadership can reveal whether it is a passion or just a diversion.
  • Biblical leadership is characterized not only by brokenness, uncommon communion, and servanthood but also by radical, immediate obedience.
  • There is no such thing as leadership apart from action.
  • God is about the business of doing through us what He wants done.
  • When God speaks, obedience is not something to be negotiated. There’s no such thing as partial obedience. We either completely do what God says or we disobey Him. God is to be taken seriously.
  • We tend to project our negative experiences with authority onto God. We either have problems trusting God, or we develop our own theology, making Him a “softer God” who demands very little of us.
  • God never calls you to do anything without also assuring you of His presence.

If you want to see some of the past books I’ve reviewed, go here.