fully present

Today I was sitting at the kitchen table finishing my post on women in ministry while Emma was eating some lunch. I guess I was so into what I was writing I didn’t even notice Emma talking to me. A second later I noticed Emma throwing her food across the table. I started to reprimand her when my wife stopped me and said, “she’s been trying to get your attention for a while now.”

It was one of those moments when it just all clicked. I’ve worked with students for years and give me one minute with someone and I can size up their daddy issues. I’ve worked with so many teenage girls that are desperately seeking their father’s attention. Now my daughter is throwing food, just so I would pay attention to her. The crazy thing is that I shut my laptop and started to pay attention to her and she started eating her lunch again. She probably didn’t realize the significance of what she was doing but it made a huge impact on me.

If you’re a dad to girls, they are desperately seeking your attention. They want your affirmation, they crave your approval, and they want to feel loved. If you are a father to boys your absence in their life will bring anger, resentment and dis-attachment in every area in their life. Your prescience in your kids life is so much larger than you can imagine. Your presence in your kids lives even teaches them what God is like.

Sometimes kids get in trouble, sometimes they get bad grades and sometimes they appear perfectly good on the outside but are screaming internally. They don’t do this for their own good, they do this because they want your recognition. Think about it in terms of a mathematical equation, the more attention and love you give your daughter, the less she will look for it somewhere else.

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