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!

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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.

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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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In her book, Reviving Ophelia, Mary Pipher, Ph.D. writes, “Girls today are much more oppressed. They are coming of age in a more dangerous, sexualized, and media-saturated culture. They face incredible pressures to be beautiful and sophisticated.” Pipher goes on to say that, “America today limits girls’ development, truncates their wholeness, and leaves many of them traumatized.”

Much of the media, including popular music, has launched a full-scale war on our girls, although I’m sure they don’t view it as such. To the industry, it’s just good business. As a father with a daughter, my heart breaks for the culture in which she has grown up. I have spent much of my daughter’s life building her up, honoring her as God’s precious masterpiece, and treating her like a princess. The problem is, I’m outgunned! The multi-billion dollar entertainment industry has spent far more resources, time, and energy in tearing her down, objectifying her, and referring to her as garbage. Today, our girls are seen as sexual, disposable objects. From magazines and billboards to commercials, movies, and songs, women’s bodies are being exploited and sexualized. They are marketed to sell toothpaste, hamburgers, and everything in between.

The trends are alarming. In 2011, Abercrombie and Fitch introduced “push up bras” for 12 year olds. One study sites that 80% of 4th grade girls have been on a diet and one of the most popular YouTube videos of the year featured 8-9 year olds dancing suggestively to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.”

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Pictured above is a typical magazine cover that is displayed at every grocery store checkout stand. Featured here is Disney teen star Selena Gomez on the cover. Notice the headlines and messages all around her. What messages are our little girls getting every day?

Pipher continues, “Something new is happening. Adolescence has always been hard, but it’s harder now because of cultural changes in the last decade.”

A Dad’s Role

You have a huge role in this battle. Yours is a critical voice to balance out all the noise. Here are two things you can do on a regular basis. 

Interpret Media Messages: Don’t let these inappropriate messages go unchallenged. Sit with your daughter and process what is really going on and the false message that is being sold.

Talk about real worth: Let your daughter know who assigns her value and where it comes from. Ie. NOT the 5,000 media images a day she will take in, but rather the God who made her and the Dad who cherishes her.

We are in a battle Men. Don’t relax. Your daughter needs you to be fully engaged to help her navigate this tumultuous time in her life.

Press On

Alan Smyth

Chapter 3 of our book book Prized Possession goes into much more detail on this challenging topic.

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