Jim Daly Christian Blog and Commentary

A Daughter Shares Her Father’s Influence

  • Jim Daly Jim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
  • 2013 Aug 12

Television often portrays dads as blubbering simpletons or even optional accessories to a family. Yet, we all know that dads matter, for good or bad. To lift up this truth, I want to share a story today from a daughter on how her dad positively influenced her.

A father’s influence on his daughter’s life can mean the difference between her entering a good marriage or a bad one. Here’s how Glenn Stanton, one of our family experts, summarizes the research:

Girls with involved fathers, therefore, are more likely to select for themselves good suitors and husbands because they have a proper standard by which to judge all candidates. Fathers themselves also help weed out bad candidates.

It’s one thing to read about a father’s influence in his daughter’s life from an academic perspective. It’s an entirely different thing, however, to read a daughter’s account of how Glenn’s research proved true in her own life.

They say the most important decision you’ll ever make is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and the second most important is deciding who you’ll marry. I’m glad my dad was around for both.

I have a great father. He isn’t perfect, but he loves Jesus. It was a huge influence on me to see him studying his Bible and humbly living out his faith. I was sitting next to Dad the night a pastor gave an altar call. I whispered to Dad that I felt I should respond. He offered to walk with me, and respected it when his 9-year-old girl solemnly answered, “I should do it alone.”

After college, it was my dad who encouraged my thoughts of pursuing a master’s degree. Dad saw something in me that I never saw in myself. He’s a quiet guy, but when we talked, there was always a complete confidence in his voice when he declared, “If this is what God wants for you, you can do this.”

After graduate school, I met a guy. In many ways, this young man was perfect for me – except he was agnostic. In my naiveté, I thought I could share my faith with him and things would turn out fine. Instead, he stayed resolute in his rejection of Jesus, and I fell hopelessly in love. After some months of dating, we were talking marriage.

Mom has always been my best friend, but her pleading with me didn’t move me as much as it did when my dad decided to have a serious conversation with me. He told me that as much as he wanted to, he didn’t approve of what I was doing. He didn’t forbid anything, he didn’t scream and he didn’t carry on. But he was dead serious and very clear: If I continued down the path I was on, I’d be unevenly yoked.

Dad’s words shook me. As I’d drive to work, I’d think about what it would do to my dad to walk me down the aisle to a man who didn’t love Jesus. I thought about how immense Dad’s spiritual influence was on me, and how tough it would be to raise my kids to have a thriving Christian faith if the father I chose for them didn’t share those beliefs.

I was a wreck.

My boyfriend had noticed that I was becoming increasingly apprehensive. Finally, he asked, “If I never change and become religious, can you accept me as I am?”

And that’s when I ended the relationship. It wasn’t pretty. I was devastated. I remember the time I called my dad during my lunch hour sobbing, asking him to stay on the phone with me lest I cave and call my ex-boyfriend. Poor Dad has never been good with crying, but he stayed on the line for the hour, talking with me and praying with me.

I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that without my dad I would be married to someone who didn’t know Christ.

It was a good day, six years later, when my dad walked me down the aisle to a gentleman who loves the Lord. Now when I see my husband with our kids, I thank God for giving me a dad whose influence made it possible for my children to carry on the legacy of faith.

Stories like these should inspire us to live out our roles as parents more intentionally. Day in and day out, what we do as dads matter. The little things our kids notice, the small tidbits of advice we give – it’s all part of investing in our children. And, as this daughter pointed out, it’s also part of investing in our children’s children.

If you want to learn more about how dads influence their daughters, you might want to listen to a broadcast we recently aired featuring Dr. Kevin Leman. You can listen to “A Father’s Influence in His Daughter’s Life,” part one and part two, on our online media center.

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