Be A Bridge-Builder

kristyfox —  January 18, 2017 — Leave a comment

bridge

I met with a young woman in her early 20s this month. Her words have stuck in my head. She said “I had a pretty strained relationship with my dad – because of that I am needing to learn what it looks like to have an actual relationship with my Heavenly Father . I never learned to be real, honest, vulnerable and open with my own father – because of that it is tough for me to learn what that looks like with God and others.”

Your daughter is watching you more than you may know. Your words and your actions speak volumes to her.

This is not meant to make you feel guilty, or pressured, like a failure, or like the job ahead of you as a dad is impossible. To the contrary, I would love to encourage you that it is not too late to try. What was so very interesting to hear as she continued to speak was the desire within her to reconnect with her dad, to renew that relationship, to engage and not just ignore it or walk the other way. She was very willing not just to forgive her father for some of the lapses in his parenting but also to be the one to want to help build the bridge to reconnection. If it seems like you have missed it in parenting – it’s not too late. Help build that bridge!

Kristy

Today is the day to start habits for the New Year! What about starting a habit with your daughter this year that will could be fun, engaging, and maybe help start some good conversations?

Women tend to feel like they really know someone if they themselves feel “known” in that relationship. I saw this several years ago as I supervised some college gals for a month at a Young Life camp. I would spend time with them where they worked, play games with them, hang out with them and I thought I was doing a pretty good job building relationships. I also had a couple of one-on-one times to talk about life and really try and hear from them. Well, at the end of the month I received the evaluations they had filled out on their experience. Many of the girls had said that I didn’t spend time getting to know them and wished I had done that more. My initial reaction was… are you kidding me! I was with you all of the time – what do they mean they didn’t have enough time with me? And then it hit me…. I think many girls don’t see it as time spent with them if they are in a crowd, busy doing things, or not having intentional conversations. Honestly, I needed some help on this, because that is not necessarily how I am wired. So, I became good at asking questions. I ask girls lots of questions!

talk bubbles

Many years ago with my small group of high school girls, I began asking them to share their “pows”(low point) and “wows” (best thing) for the week. This simple statement “let’s do pows and wows” has been huge. It helps girls have a way to dive in to conversation together, a way to be heard, and a glimpse into their heart.

We have done it also as a family for years at dinner time or in the car. We just say “pows and wows” and the kids know exactly what we mean. Try it. It opens up lots of conversation. It may be awkward at first for your older daughter, but you don’t want to be like me… thinking you had done a good job and then hearing your daughter’s “evaluation” that you were nice and fun, but never really got to know her.

Blessings on your journey,

Kristy Fox

New Year’s Resolution

Alan Smyth —  January 2, 2017 — 4 Comments

If you are like me, you are considering some kind of New Year’s resolution right about now. Even though the stats are against us on those who follow through, I can’t help but think about how I want my 2017 to be different. For me, I’d like to lose a few pounds, read a little more, be more focused on a few things and in general, just get better. It is healthy to look back to evaluate and then look forward to improve.

new-years-17

As you are considering your New Year’s resolutions, I want to pass along some very important information I gleaned from the many interviews I conducted regarding this Father/Daughter project (website/blog/seminar/book)

I contacted dozens of great young women (post teen age) who seemed to turn out awesome and seem to have a great relationship with their Dads. I asked them “What did your dad do?” “What was good?” “What blessed you?” “What impacted you?” Below I am going to relay to you their top three answers.

The things that real girls (who turned out great) said more than anything else were:

  1. My Dad loved and respected my mom.
  2. My Dad had an authentic faith.
  3. My Dad took me on trips/adventures.

The power behind those three statements is that they came straight from the mouths of great girls who succeeded! They are flourishing out in the real world. They have chosen great husbands who love them well and they are strong independent women of faith & family. Who doesn’t want that for their daughters? I realize that this thing called parenting cannot be put into a formula and there is nothing about it that is predictable. At the end of the day, you can do everything “right” and things can still be tough. Your daughter will still have to make her own choices and likely some of those will differ from yours.

But…. And this is a BIG BUT….. Why would we not consider the successes from those who have gone before us on this important/complicated topic? Real girls have said that their dad loving their mom made a huge impact on them. Real girls said that their dad’s authentic faith made a huge impact on them. Real girls said that their dad taking them on trips made a huge impact on them.

This is like the first day of school when the teacher says, “Ok, here is what is going to be on the test. Study this and you will be ok.” My word to you dads out there for 2017 is “Study this, and you will be ok.” Put these three on top of your list for 2017. Stay tuned to this blog in 2017 as we will certainly unpack and address each of these items in greater detail.

Happy New Year!

Alan Smyth

PS: This content appears in much greater detail in Chapter 8 of the book “Prized Possession” entitled “Do This!” The book is available now. Hit the banner below to purchase.

 

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A Free Thanksgiving Gift!

kristyfox —  November 23, 2016 — Leave a comment

I have  been in multiple conversations with young women and have been struck by their need for affirmation to come from the male figures in their life. So many girls try hard to earn the affirmation of their fathers. And, many girls never feel like they can live up to their father’s expectations or feel like they can “get it right”. My husband is a coach and he heard a statistic – a kid needs 10 positives for every negative thing said. Not sure about you, but my ratio isn’t always that good.

I think we tend to assume people know we are thankful for them or that we appreciate things they do, but we need to actually tell them!

It got me thinking… I hold back words of affirmation and thanksgiving too often. I tend to be critical far more than I am thankful and affirming. I tend to assume people know I appreciate them but I often don’t say it. I should give life giving words far more freely. Dads, I implore you to do the same. You have life-giving words for your daughter within you that often go unspoken. Please know that she is craving those. It may be uncomfortable for you – that’s ok, please still try it – typically the best things we do are a bit uncomfortable at first!

In some of the girl’s groups I have been a part of we have passed around papers with someone’s name on it. We then pass these around and everyone writes words of thanks and affirmations on the paper for that person. Girls have shown me papers they have saved for years and that they treasure! How cool would that be for them to have something like that from their dad? Something that can remind them of the love you have for them, something they can treasure and pull out when they need it, something that can remind them of how they should be treated by a future spouse or boyfriend.

It’s possible that the best gifts we have for one another don’t cost us anything!

Here’s the idea:

– Write a list of 10 specific things you are thankful for about your daughter (if she is too little to read, write it anyway and put it in a box for her so she can read them when she’s older )and put the list somewhere she will see it on Thanksgiving – her mirror, her dinner plate, her door, etc!

Stop. Grab a piece of paper right now. And do it!

2 Minutes of your time could be a life-long treasure for your daughter!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Kristy Fox

As the Holidays are upon us, I wanted to suggest a few very practical things to do with your daughter. Typically, both you and your daughter will have a little down time coming up. Thanksgiving is this Thursday and you will likely have a long weekend. Then, Christmas vacay is right around the corner.

Thanksgiving

Here are a few suggestions to help take advantage of the extra time you will have with your daughter. Obviously depending on your daughter’s age, you will need to make adjustments.

*Take your daughter out to breakfast or lunch over the holidays. (Do it more than once)

*Sit down and watch one of your daughters TV shows WITH her. Take an interest, ask some questions.

*Sneak into your daughter’s bathroom at night and write a note on her mirror. Tell her something you are proud of her for.

*Take your daughter to a movie over vacation.

*Ask her “If you could do anything at all during your vacation, what would it be?” Then DO IT with her!

*Look at the “written resources” section of our website (www.myfatherdaughter.com) Find the section with the “Father Daughter Scriptures” and read her a new bible verse each day. Then discuss it by saying “what do you think that means?” and “What would change if we lived like we believed it was true?”

*In the “Video Resources” section of our website, show her the “Evolution” video and discuss how most of the beauty projected in the media is NOT real.

*Tell her you are going to start a new tradition called the “Father/Daughter Get away.” Discuss where the two of you are going to go on an overnight trip sometime this coming spring or summer.

This is just a start. Take any of these or make some up on your own. The important thing is that you engage with your daughter somehow, some way. The upcoming month can afford you more of an opportunity to do so.

As Nike said…. “Just Do It”

I’d love to hear about anything you did with your daughter. Share your success with us!

Have an awesome Thanksgiving Holiday with your family!

Press on

Alan Smyth

 

Now that the Holiday season is officially ON, don’t forget to peruse the My Father Daughter Store for some fun items for the Dad’s & Daughters in your life! Hit the banner below to take you to our store!

 

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Hey, I also have a Son

Alan Smyth —  November 14, 2016 — Leave a comment

Last week I heard some feeback from someone who read our book “Prized Possession.” He said that he loved the book and found it very helpful and encouraging. He relayed two questions to me through our mutual friend. He said:

1. The guy who wrote the book (ME) only has one daughter. I have two. How do I do all the trips and things with more than one daughter?

2. The guy who wrote the book (Again, ME) has a son. I’d like to know how he handled all the extra attention he gave his daughter concerning his son.

I will address the multiple daughter scenario in a later blog. This week, I will briefly speak on the dynamic of also having a son.

If you have taken the time to examine our website found at www.myfatherdaughter.com you may have stumbled across the “About” page where my bio is found along with a couple of family pictures. I have had the honor to raise one of each kind. My awesome daughter Brittany is now 28 and thriving in downtown Los Angeles. However, I do have a son as well. “Trevor” is 24 and and about to graduate from Azusa Pacific. The first half of his college career was spent as a student at the United States Naval Academy. He was recruited there to play football.

at football game

 

So here is how I handled my desire to give my daughter special and intentional attention as she grew up. Brittany is 4.5 years older than Trevor. So when we had the first FATHER/DAUGHTER GET AWAY, he was just a new born. He was oblivious to my special actions with my daughter for several years. However, the day came when he began to understand that Brittany and I were going away overnight and doing fun stuff together.

Mud pic

 

He started asking about his “get away.” At about 4 years old, he was wondering when he and I would go do fun stuff together. I couldn’t very well keep taking Brittany on fun outings and not do the same thing for him. So it began…. The “Father/Son Get Away.” The same principle’s continued. We brainstormed things to do that would be fun for HIM. It is not the specifics that matter that much. It is the principle of spending one-on-one time with your kids that is magical. We went to baseball games, camping, amusement parks and snow-boarding.

ESPYS

 

So the answer is pretty uncomplicated as it turns out. Your son needs intentional and concentrated time from you as well. It might look different than your daughter’s time, but it is every bit as important. I encourage you to pick up our book “Prized Possession.” In chapter 3, I go into the assault on our girls. The truth is that there is a full scale war being waged in the media and entertainment industry for the hearts and actions of our boys as well. They are targets and they MUST have a trusted older male in their lives to guide them to the path of authentic man hood. As strongly as I can urge you to love and protect your daughter, I want to urge you to guide and train your young boy in the ways of life, women and work. My son’s life verse which he got from a Father/Son group we did with two buddies is 2 Timothy 4:7-8. Look it up! Based on the verse, he tattooed “FIGHT, FAITH, FINISH” on his side.

Press on

Alan

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