Fall 2018 / by Matthew McDill
What is happening in your daughter’s life? I think this is a particularly good question for fathers. Stop and think about that question for a moment. How would you answer? Do you feel like you know? Now, think of all the texts, video chats, social media, and hours spent with friends. Are you sure you know? This is a good question for both fathers and mothers for both sons and daughters. But I’d like to focus on fathers and daughters. The father-daughter relationship is the context of a great Bible story that provides a wonderful lesson for dads.
In the book of Esther, we learn that as a child Esther lost both her mother and father. Mordecai (who was her cousin) adopted her as his own daughter and raised her. The nature of this father-daughter relationship manifests itself as Esther becomes a young adult and is taken by the king to be considered as a wife.
And every day
Mordecai walked in front of the court of the harem
to learn how Esther was
and what was happening to her.
I doubt Mordecai’s interest and involvement in Esther’s life was a new development. This was his fatherly way. Every day. What a wonderful example for us as dads. Express daily interest and involvement in your daughter’s life. Find out what she is thinking and feeling. Ask about what she loves and about her conversations. Inquire about her relationship with God.
I am not sharing this lesson with you because I have done such a great job with my own family. In fact, I can see ways that I have failed to be interested and involved in my daughters’ lives.
Another aspect of the relationship between Mordecai and Esther is her obedience to him.
Esther obeyed Mordecai
just as when she was brought up by him.
Again, Mordecai’s influence in Esther’s life, and her response to him, was not a new development. The nature of their relationship had developed over time. The story does not make a direct connection between the ongoing influential role of a father in a daughter’s life and his ongoing interest and involvement in her life. But it sure does make sense.
It is certainly possible for a daughter in faith to follow the leadership of her father, no matter what her relationship to him is. But it is a natural outflow of the relational investment that has been made when the father has chosen to be interested and involved in her life. He has her heart. He has earned her trust.
I plan to follow the example of Mordecai’s fatherly ways. I want to connect daily with my daughters, discovering how they are and what is happening in their lives. And I pray that they will receive godly, fatherly guidance as they grow into young ladies.