“When the fish are not biting,
let them not bite, but keep fishing.”
– The Book of Fishing Wisdom-
Several years ago I had the dad of a sixteen-year-old daughter sitting in my office.
He was not a happy camper. His daughter had become very disinterested in spending time with him. He lamented and wailed about their good days together.
Back in the day, she had apparently been a certified “daddy’s girl.” No longer. This dad was mad and it showed. He was also hurt, because something really valuable had been lost in his relationship with his daughter. He shared that over the last several months he had extended a dozen invitations for her to join him at some event or activity. “One lousy yes,” he muttered under his breath, talking as much to himself as me. Like I said, he was not a happy camper.
This guy is a good dad. He loves his daughter and really wants to connect with her in a more consistent way. In the face of this young woman he can still see the face of his young daughter who laughed at all his jokes, fell asleep in his arms, and was amazed by his super-human strength and abilities. That little girl wanted to spend time with him. He had not changed, why had she?
This dad had tried everything and nothing was working. He was tired of feeling rejected. He was ready to throw in the towel and move on. That is when I pulled out The Book of Fishing Wisdom. “When the fish are not biting; let them not bite, but keep fishing.” Sometimes the fish don’t bite; sometimes our daughters show little interest in what we have to offer. Let them be disinterested, just don’t quit fishing.
Our daughters need us to stay interested in them, regardless of their current interest in us. As dads, we cannot depend on the response of our daughters to keep us in pursuit of their lives and hearts. Keep Fishing. Keep inviting. Keep showing up.
The dad in my office got quiet, as I talked about his willingness to “stay fishing” for his adolescent daughter. He was out of words and looking down at the ground away from me. Then, in the corner of his eye, I saw the tear that was forming and heard the words that were coming from deep in his heart, “I just miss her.”
Like I said, this was a good dad. Being a good dad does not keep you out of hard places. It keeps you going in hard places. Keep going with your daughter, she’s depending on it.
Grace and Peace
Dr. Don W.