What Does It Mean to Lead Your Daughter Spiritually?
Guest post by Dr. Michelle J. Watson.
Dads…I realize that I may be treading on sacred ground here as I provide you with suggestions about what it means to be a spiritual influence in your daughter’s life, so please understand that I am approaching this subject with the greatest of respect. I am not seeking to dictate or dominate because I realize that spiritual beliefs and practices are a very personal thing. But I would like to propose some ideas of what it means to spiritually lead your daughters, not only based on my experience but also from first hand information that I’ve received from girls who have stated what they would like more of from their dads.
I trust that you will take this information and glean from it in action and not just in head knowledge.
Here are some practical things that you can start doing today in order to engage your daughter spiritually:
- You all know the quote well by now that “more is caught than taught.” Let her see you engaging
in your own spiritual practices.
- Pray with her about things going on in her life, which means that you’re asking her questions about her life, boys, school, work, commitments, friends, activities, etc.
- Tell her what God is doing in your life. Talk about answers to your prayers.
- Write out a prayer for her in a note, through a text, or an email.
- Open up about what you’re learning from the Bible…or a book or study (not in a way that preaches at her or has hidden statements to convict her. This is about you sharing what you are personally gleaning spiritually in your own life. Be vulnerable and honest).
- Share how God is convicting you. This one may be harder to open up about and one where discretion obviously is warranted, but if you let your daughter know how God is speaking to you, followed with modeling the fact that you are listening and responding, this will go farther than any lecture you can ever give her.
- Reveal your own questions about spiritual things. Let her know you have questions about God, the Bible, theology, church practices, etc. while demonstrating that asking questions is normal and healthy. Find answers to her questions and make it fun to search for answers with her and on your own. Make it a creative process to find answers, then report back on what you find.
- Ask her what she believes. Listen, learn and no lectures. Ask questions to draw her out without necessarily sharing your beliefs at first because if this is new for you to dialogue about spiritual things, it may take awhile for her to open up honestly. Wisely choose your words without lecturing. Take an interest in her beliefs and look through her eyes. Seek to understand her.
- Go to a Christian/spiritual concert with her by one of her favorite artists.
- Attend her church with her or invite her to yours. Talk about the sermon afterwards.
- Sing worship songs with her and listen to the lyrics that touch her spirit.
- Ask her to share about a spiritually significant time in her life. Then share one of yours.
- Buy her a book on a spiritual theme. Read it with her. Share what you both learn.
Author bio: Michelle Watson has had a clinical counseling practice in Portland, Oregon for the past 17 years. She is founder of The Abba Project, a forum to equip dads with daughters ages 13 to 30 to dial in with more intention, and author of the recently released book Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart. Please visit www.drmichellewatson.com for more information.