I’ve been wondering how I, as a man, can raise a heroic Christian daughter. This question came to my mind recently for two reasons. First, it’s women’s history month and I’ve been reading about a lot of amazingly heroic women. Second, I just found out my wife and I are expecting a baby girl!
Perfect timing, right?
I know when most men hear they are going to have a daughter, they instantly focus on protecting her. And rightly so. There are many things in this world to protect your daughter from – spiders, wolves, snakes – all appropriate names for those sneaky vermin known as… BOYS!
But for me, I don’t want to focus on what I can do to protect my daughter. Instead, I want to focus on raising her so that she has the knowledge and wisdom to protect herself. Because, let’s face it, I won’t be with her for the majority of her life. After 18 she’ll be out of the house (hopefully) and in college or pursuing a career. God willing, I’ll still be around to give her advice and guidance, but for the most part, it will be up to her to make the right decisions in her life.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
As she grows up, I want her to obey me, but I don’t want her to obey me just “because I said so.” We all heard something like that growing up, and we’ve all said it ourselves as parents. But do we really just want blind obedience? No, we should want our daughters to understand the reasons behind our rules and to trust them.
I want my daughter to understand the consequences of disobeying – not just my discipline but the real-world consequences she will face. If she only obeys me to avoid discipline, then as soon as I’m not around, she’ll disobey as she explores the limits of her newfound freedom. I mean, how many kids do you know who went crazy as soon as they got to college? How many of us did the same thing? So, as I raise my daughter, my focus isn’t on shielding her from the evils of this world, but rather equipping her to overcome the evils that she will undoubtedly face.
But why “heroic?” Why do I think that is the defining characteristic I should instill in my daughter?
A hero is strong, confident, and brave, but more importantly, a hero is selfless. The world needs more strong, confident women, but only if they use that strength and confidence for the good of others. The world definitely does not need more strong, confident people focused solely on themselves.
With that in mind, these are the guidelines I want to give my daughter:
HOLD ON TO GOD’S TRUTH
“And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 11:19
As a father, I need to live by example and make God’s Word an everyday part my life and my daughter’s life. If she believes God’s Word, then when the world is falling apart and she doesn’t know the next step to take, she will know who she can trust. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
DEFINE YOURSELF BY CHRIST
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3).
Her identity needs to be in Christ, not her career, talents, looks, or the fads of our culture. I have experienced firsthand the dangers of putting one’s identity into a talent or career. I want my daughter to know that first and foremost, above all else, her life should be about Christ. Others will fail us. We’ll fail ourselves. Christ does not fail.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6Click to tweet
GUARD YOUR EYES, GUARD YOUR MIND
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
It’s true what they say, “You are what you eat,” but that doesn’t just apply to physical food. What we feed our mind through our eyes and ears becomes part of who we are. There are things you will see that you can never un-see. They will be part of your memory and influence you in subtle and even blatant ways. This, of course, applies to the media we consume – books, movies, games, music. It also applies equally, if not more so, to the people we interact with and the friends we choose.
BE SLOW TO ANGER, QUICK TO FORGIVE
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
So many problems come from bitterness. When we are wronged or feel wronged, it’s natural to hold it against the one who wronged us and seek retribution. However, bitterness quickly becomes anger, which, unchecked, leads to vengeance, pain, and destruction. All relationships, whether family, friends, or romantic, can be destroyed by one person holding on to bitterness. Which is why Romans 12:17-18 warns us, “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”
Brother, you may look at the above guidelines and say, “Well those apply to everyone. They aren’t specific to raising a girl at all.” That’s a very good point, and one I’m purposefully trying to make!
When it comes to the basic truths that mold a life, they are the same for all our children whether male or female. They are the same for us. Yes, they will all apply differently to every individual life. Some people may be prone to anger and violence, some may lean toward backstabbing and gossip, and others may wallow in self-loathing or be filled with pride and self-destruction. However, the truths that keep us from these things, that save us from ourselves, are all the same. They are all found in the Word of God.
That being said, I do have one guideline for my daughter that’s specifically to her as a woman. It’s something I hope to explain to her, and something you should explain to your daughter too. So, Brother, give me a moment, while I speak to my little girl directly.
RESPECT AND SUBMIT TO YOUR OWN HUSBAND
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” Ephesians 5:22
Little Girl, I want you to notice something about that verse. A lot of women don’t like that verse. And a lot of men might try to hold it over you, but look at it again. That verse does not tell you to submit to all men. It only says to submit to your OWN husband. You don’t owe men a single thing outside of what the Bible teaches all Christians – honor your father, respect authority, work hard for your boss, etc. Guess what? Those apply to your brother too.
But, Little Girl, you do have one rule that doesn’t apply to your brother. You must respect and submit to your husband. You see, a Christian marriage is a team made up of God, the husband, and the wife. God takes the lead at all times, and then the husband and wife are supposed to work together. However, whenever there is an impasse, whenever you and your husband disagree and come to a stalemate, he is supposed to make the final decision. And he is held responsible to God for that decision. God is a God of order, and this is the way He planned it.
Which is why it’s so important for you to pick the right man to marry. Pick a man worthy of your submission. Pick a man who’s heroic enough to have a hero like you submit to him. Pick a man who will love you “as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:22). Imagine that! Imagine a man that loves you so much that he’ll give up what he wants for your good. That’s the kind of man you want as a husband.
Remember, a hero is strong, confident, and brave, but most importantly a hero is selfless. Which is why Christ is your ultimate hero. No man will live up to this standard, but when you find a man who strives to live like Christ, who will strive to love you sacrificially, then he’ll be a man worthy of your submission… worthy of my heroic little girl. When you find that guy, let me know. I can’t wait to meet him.
See you soon, Little Girl. – Daddy
Brother, raise all your children to be heroic, not as the world defines it but by how Christ lived it.
Family Radio Staff