Friday, August 9, 2019

Kruse's Keys: Read "Where the Crawdads Sing" To Be Transported Way Over Yonder

I read this beautiful lyrical book in two days--no exaggeration.

"Where the Crawdads Sing" is equal parts murder mystery, searing social indictment, love letter to naturalism, and soaring poetry.  It's amazing that this is author Delia Owens first work of fiction!  She writers with grace and beauty and crafts a narrative that immediately draws in the reader and keeps them turning the pages.

About the narrative--this is the story of a young girl (Kya) abandoned in the swampy wild marshes of North Carolina who not only survives, but thrives despite these dire circumstances.  Along the way she falls in love more than a few times and eventually finds herself facing a set of murder charges.  I'm hesitant to share much more than that as far as the story goes because it's just that good!

See our 20192018201720162015 and 2014 Reading Lists.

Key Quotes:

  • Just forget it. No god's gonna come to this garden. (70)
  • I don't know how to do life without grits. (74)
  • Go out as far as you can--way out yonder where the crawdads sing. (111)
  • She laughed for his sake, something she'd never done.  Giving away another piece of herself just to have someone else. (177)

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Kruse's Keys: Read "Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters" Every Year!

I first wrote read this book back in 2015 and wrote about it here in a post. It's so important to fathers out there that I put in my yearly re-reading list (although it took me four years to read it again)!
In my second reading of this book, it proved to be just as powerful, profound and insightful. The bottom line is that you can't underestimate the role of a father in his daughters' lives. You have to fight for her, engage with her, and continually draw her close to you throughout her life (particularly during those teen years). Don't worry about what other parents do--you worry about your daughter. I'm putting a calendar reminder this summer to give this book another read!
See our 20192018201720162015 and 2014 Reading Lists.

Key quotes:
His tone, his inflection, and his confidence had an amazing impact as well. Page: 3
He knew that we needed time to be together. In the same camp. In the same dining room. On the same hiking trails or in the same canoes. Page: 4
What you say in a sentence, communicate with a smile, or do with regard to family rules has infinite importance for your daughter. Page: 5
The epicenter of her tiny world is you. Friends, family members, teachers, professors, or coaches will influence her to varying degrees, but they won’t knead her character. You will. Because you are her dad. Page: 8
Daughters are never lukewarm in the presence of their fathers. Page: 8
You will influence her entire life because she gives you an authority she gives no other man. Page: 10
Shocking young children breaks their healthy sense of modesty. That modesty serves a protective function. Page: 11
Sex education curricula generally follow the guidelines of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. SIECUS is a nonprofit advocacy group that proposes to “assist children in understanding a positive view of sexuality, provide them with information and skills about taking care of their sexual health, and help them acquire skills to make decisions now and in the future.” Page: 14
Studies show that the amount of sexual content increased from 67 percent in 1998 to 77 percent in 2005.2 If you grew up in the 1960s or 1970s, the amount of sexual content was, comparatively, virtually nonexistent. Page: 17
Anna was having a tough time, but think about her poor dad. For the last two months, in her mind, he had been a sex-crazed, woman-abusing rapist. And he didn’t have a clue what was going on. Does television have an effect on your little girl? You bet it does. But you hold all the power. Page: 18
(A word of advice to make your life easier: don’t let your daughter have a TV, or a computer, in her room. Save TV time for family time when you or your wife can decide what to watch.) Page: 18
Even though she may not participate in ugly stuff, it’s all around her: sexual promiscuity, alcohol abuse, foul language, illegal drugs, and predatory boys and men who want only to take something from her. Page: 25
Your daughter will view this time spent with you vastly differently than you do. Over the years, in erratic bursts and in simple ordinary life together, she will absorb your influence. She will watch every move you make. She might not understand why you are happy or angry, dishonest or affectionate, but you will be the most important man in her life, forever. Page: 26
When she is twenty-five, she will mentally size her boyfriend or husband up against you. When she is thirty-five, the number of children she has will be affected by her life with you. The clothes she wears will reflect something about you. Even when she is seventy-five, how she faces her future will depend on some distant memory of time you spent together. Be it good or painful, the hours and years you spend with her—or don’t spend with her—change who she is. Page: 27
He wasn’t concerned with what family and friends would think. He didn’t worry about how the expulsion would change her future. He was worried about her. Page: 28
You have to—because, unfortunately, we have a popular culture that’s not healthy for girls and young women, and there is only one thing that stands between it and your daughter. You. Page: 29
And you should know that being a twenty-first-century hero is tough stuff. It requires emotional fortitude, mental self-control, and physical restraint. It means walking into embarrassing, uncomfortable, or even life-threatening situations in order to rescue your daughter. Page: 30
The only way you will alienate your daughter in the long term is by losing her respect, failing to lead, or failing to protect her. If you don’t provide for her needs, she will find someone else who will—and that’s when trouble starts. Don’t let that happen. Page: 31
Authority is not a threat to your relationship with your daughter—it is what will bring you closer to your daughter, and what will make her respect you more. Page: 31
Your natural instinct is to protect your daughter. Forget what pop culture and pop psychologists tell you. Do it. Page: 32
So remember that when she pushes hard against your rules, flailing, crying that you are mean or unfair, she is really asking you a question: Am I worth the fight, Dad? Are you strong enough to handle me? Make sure she knows the answer is yes. Page: 34
Your daughter needs your guideposts of right and wrong, of proper and improper behavior. When she hits third grade or high school or marriage—all new experiences for her—she needs to know what you think is best for her. You’ve been there before. She trusts your opinion. So let her know. Don’t be afraid. Page: 35
Do a gut check on your own beliefs, and think of what sort of woman you want your daughter to be. She’ll learn not only from what you say, but from what you do. Page: 36
One of the best things fathers can do is raise their daughters’ expectations of life. Page: 36
Fathers need to be strict, but they also need to be kind, accepting, and loving. It’s a matter of balance. The don’ts are easy. Don’t let your daughter think of you as the enemy. Page: 39
A sexual assault is possibly the most traumatic event a girl can experience. Now consider that many psychologists and psychiatrists say your response to your daughter’s assault is as important as the event itself to your daughter’s future emotional health. This makes sense, and here’s why. Page: 40
Dad, it’s not optional: your daughter needs you to be her hero. Page: 40
Perseverance Page: 40
Fathers get tired. Daughters can become defiant, manipulative, and wear their fathers down. This is where perseverance comes in. Page: 41
Sure, other kids are experimenting with sex and drugs and alcohol, but other kids aren’t your daughter. And your daughter will respect you more if you don’t give in. Page: 41
her boyfriend, and care more about her—and what’s right for her—than other people. Let me tell you a secret about daughters of all ages: they love to boast about how tough their dads are—not just physically, but how strict and demanding they are. Cn mPage: 42
If you only had to fight for her once, twice, or even ten times, the process wouldn’t be so tough. But you might have to fight for her two hundred times. You only have eighteen short years before she is on her own. If you don’t show her the high road now, she won’t find it later.  Page: 47
True masculinity is the moral exercise of authority. Page: 47
Here are a few pointers that all dads should have. Page: 47
Make a plan. Page: 47
Have courage under fire. Page: 47
Be the leader. Page: 48
4. Don’t cave, persevere.  Page: 48
Parents often say that kids are resilient in crises like divorce. But they’re not; kids just don’t have a choice. You do. Page: 49
The love you give her is her starting point. You have other loves in your life, but she doesn’t. Every man who enters her life will be compared to you; To be certain your daughter feels loved by you, here are some practical steps you can take. Page: 50
good rule of thumb is to use twice as many words as you normally would, even if it means just saying things twice. Daughters can be prone to self-doubt. Pay her compliments repeatedly, so she knows you’re sincere. Page: 51
In return, you need, first and foremost, to tell her you love her. Not just on special occasions, but regularly. That might be easy when she’s five, but she needs to hear it even more when she is fifteen. Page: 51
When a daughter hears “I love you” from her father, she feels complete. Page: 52
Keep your comments positive, keep them on these qualities, and you can’t lose. Page: 52
Instead of saying, “I love you because you’re so beautiful,” tell her that you love her because there is no one else in the world like her. Page: 52
Fences Page: 53
Tell your teenagers that the boundaries you’ve erected aren’t about trust, but are about keeping them safe and moving them in the right direction. We all have boundaries that we respect because life is safer that way. Page: 55
Fathers often overestimate their daughters’ maturity. We’re all taught that girls mature faster than boys, which is partly true. But researchers now know that some girls don’t develop adult cognitive skills until their early twenties. Page: 56
Many fathers fear that enforcing rules on their daughters will only make them rebel. Some daughters do rebel—but not because of rules. They rebel because the rules aren’t balanced by anything else. Rules can’t be the center of your relationship. That’s where love comes in.Page: 56
Many fathers complain that their teenage daughters won’t talk to them. They’re usually wrong. It’s just that these fathers have discouraged their daughters from talking to them. Daughters won’t talk if they know the result will be only constant reprimand and correction. Daughters want their fathers to listen while they unravel their own tangled feelings and beliefs. If a daughter can trust her dad to listen, she will come to him again and again to talk. Page: 57
So you have to take the initiative to spend time alone with her. Page: 57
All she wants is your attention. And she needs it on a regular basis. Page: 58
Keep one-on-one time simple. Avoid activities that put you in competition with your daughter. Always use this time for emotional balance, for relaxing and having fun. You can work out conflicts later. Page: 59
With overwhelming evidence, the study shows that kids who feel connected to their parents (and who spend more time with them) fare much better than kids who don’t. Parents keep kids out of trouble; parental influence can be more important than pressure; and specifically, daughters who spend more time with their fathers are less likely to drink, take drugs, have sex as teenagers, or have out-of-wedlock babies. Your time with her matters. Page: 59
How do you do that? Discipline. Grit. Will. If you need to distance yourself emotionally for a time, do it. If you need physical separation for a bit, okay. But always come back. Will, patience, calm, and persistence will pay off in your relationship with her. Nothing better expresses serious love than this combination of qualities. Let her know that nothing she can do, even running away, getting pregnant, tattooing her ankle, or piercing her tongue, can make you stop loving her. Say that if you need to. Page: 61
Most parents pull away from their teenage daughters, assuming they need more space and freedom. Actually, your teenage daughter needs you more than ever. So stick with her. If you don’t, she’ll wonder why you left her. Page: 63
You will always be your daughter’s first love. And what a great privilege—and opportunity to be a hero—that is. Page: 63
because according to all the best scientific research, no one has a more powerful effect in preventing and helping her recover from eating disorders than you do. Page: 64
Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are complicated illnesses. Researchers believe that eating disorders are hard to detect because most of them are subclinical.4 Girls hide their eating disorders so well. Even while they are in a mental and emotional cage, stuck with obsessive thoughts and behaviors, they try to hide. It’s especially hard for dads to understand that their daughters’ addiction to starving feels so good to them. Page: 70
Here are some practical things that you can do. Page: 70
Make Time Count Page: 71
So how do you form that strong attachment? First, when you are with her, pay attention to her. Don’t tune her out and think about something else while she’s talking, don’t ignore her when she’s sitting next to you at a baseball game, and don’t think she won’t notice if you don’t focus on her. Do activities that the two of you can enjoy together. Page: 71
you end up arguing about her boyfriend, that’s all right, because even arguing is a form of connection. Page: 72
Listen to Her Page: 72
Girls like to talk more than boys—including dads—do. It’s healthy for girls to talk a lot, but it can be a problem for you because men are experts at tuning people out. Page: 72
I can guarantee you one thing: if you listen to your daughter attentively for ten minutes every day, by the end of the month you’ll have a completely new relationship with her. Page: 73
If you stay with her, look at her, and listen to her, she’ll keep coming back for more. Her self-esteem will soar, her sense of loneliness will disappear, and she’ll become more comfortable expressing her feelings. Finally, because you, the most important man in her life, obviously like being with her, she will feel more attractive. She’ll think that boys who don’t want to be with her have a problem (because you’re smarter and more mature than they are). That’s a good attitude for her to have, and one that can protect her in the long run.Page: 73
Fence Her In Page: 73
Remember that whatever she says, the very fact that you thoughtfully and consistently enforce rules of behavior makes her feel loved and valued.Page: 74
The Importance of WordsPage: 74
Be calm, patient, and frank. Tell her that women in magazines aren’t the best role models, that people who judge everyone on their looks probably have terrible self-esteem issues.Page: 74
1. Don’t comment frequently on how she looks. 2. Don’t comment on your own need to diet. 3. Don’t make derogatory comments about her body. Many fathers think they are being cute when they tell their daughters they have cute butts, strong thighs, and so on. Page: 75
Don’t comment frequently about her clothes. Page: 75
5. Don’t constantly focus on the importance of exercise. Page: 75
6. Don’t make her feel she needs to do things to get your attention. Give it to her naturally, just as part of everyday life. Page: 75
The Importance of Will Page: 76
To love your daughter well, to draw her close to you, to strengthen the bond between the two of you, you must have a will of steel. There will be times when you’ll want to walk out. Don’t. Take a break instead. There will be times when you’ll want to scream. Don’t. Have a plan for when you think you’re going to lose it—and practice it. There will be times when you don’t feel like expressing your love for your daughter. But do it. It will make you both feel better. Page: 76
Love is really about self-sacrifice. Page: 77
Teach Her Humility Page: 77
Teaching humility will demand more of you as a father than that. Humility doesn’t make sense unless it is modeled. If you want your daughter to love reading, you must read. If you want her to be athletic, go for a run. The same is true with humility. If you live it, she will get it. Remember, she is a dry sponge following you around, waiting to see what you think, feel, and do. Page: 78
Humility Makes Her Feel Significant Page: 79
Humility is seeing ourselves honestly. It keeps us in the real world. Because we want our daughters to excel at everything they do, to be prettier, smarter, better than everyone else, we can confuse our priorities—and theirs. Page: 80
Humility brings with it deep joy and satisfaction because it keeps us from becoming manically self-absorbed. Page: 80
know that she’s valuable not only for what she does, but for who she is. Here is your chance to teach her one of life’s greatest lessons: people are valuable because they’re human, not because of what they do.Page: 81
Can a woman be both gorgeous and humble? Can your daughter be brilliant, in passionate pursuit of a successful career, but still appreciate that she alone is not wholly responsible for her success? Absolutely. Humility will make your daughter’s accomplishments shine all the more, and she will be more emotionally grounded, more satisfied, and happier than if she had tried to imitate Paris Hilton’s life.Page: 82
Humility levels the playing field. This can make the insecure bully feel frightened. But it is the truth. And truth keeps us living in reality. It keeps us from being absorbed by a life of spite and self-destruction Page: 82
No one can be happy in isolation. We were not made for isolation. Page: 83
The great theologian Oswald Chambers says, “It is not a question of our equipment but of our poverty, not of what we bring with us but what God puts into us.” God has filled your daughter with unimaginable gifts. Humility teaches her that these are in fact “gifts” for which she should be grateful, not proud.Page: 86
The problem with making happiness her goal is the lack of guardrails. A goal of happiness can become a justification for self-indulgence. It can encourage selfishness. It can be how children become “spoiled.” And, most important, it can actually lead to unhappiness, as there are no limits to a child’s—or an adult’s— “wants,” and these wants never ultimately satisfy a deeper need. So happiness remains out of reach. Page: 87
If you think about this, it makes perfect sense. Self-indulgence is easy and takes no strength of character. Page: 87
consider depression in teenage girls an STD, because it is almost always linked to underage sex.)Page: 89
By far and away the most destructive lesson popular culture imbeds in our little girls’ minds is that they deserve more. They have a right to things and your responsibility as a parent is to provide those things. That’s what good parents, she thinks, are supposed to do in the twenty-first century Page: 91
She fails to consider the needs of others. It is as simple as that. Since she was born, her intuition told her to take what she needed, hold onto it, and get more. Those were the desires that drove her behavior. And everything in her environment fed that drive. Stores fed it by supplying fresh new things. Schools fed it by not holding her to high standards of behavior. And her parents fed it by desperately wanting to be good parents and giving her everything they thought she needed or desired. Page: 91
Humility is tough and it takes a lifetime to learn, so get going. Remember that if you don’t, she will suffer more than anyone else. You need to set, as early in her life as you can, what the priorities for your family are. Do you want the center of the family’s life to be the children? Should it be you, or you and your wife, or God? If you don’t clearly establish your family’s priorities, your daughter and your other children will. They can get very, very vocal. Page: 92
She’s a kid. You’re the dad. You should decide. You should set the priorities. When you bring realism into her life, you bring her comfort because you bring limits. When you teach her always to think about other people, to put herself in their shoes, to know that everyone—her friends, neighbors, and sister and brother—is important, you’ll give her the gift of friendship and living to the fullest as a caring, social being. If you teach your daughter to be good rather than simply happy, she will become both. Teaching your daughter humility is a wonderful gift. And it can be taught only by example. Page: 94
Many parents don’t talk to their daughters because they feel guilty. I often hear, “How do I tell my daughter not to have sex in high school when I was sexually active in high school?” Face it: whatever you did then does not disqualify you from being a good father now. Your daughter is at risk. You need to protect her. And honestly, she doesn’t want to hear about your sex life. Page: 95
What she wants to know from you is what the rules are. When is it appropriate to have sex and why?  Page: 95
Reiterate to her that sex isn’t a simple bodily function—it is powerfully linked to her feelings, thoughts, and character. Tell her that a lot of what she hears and sees about sex is simply wrong. Keep it straightforward, loving, and respectable.Page: 96
Few dads realize how important hugging is to their daughters, but I’ve heard countless girls tell me they had sex with a boy (not even a boyfriend) simply for the physical contact, because their fathers never hugged them or showed them affection. Her body starves for you to hug her.Page: 97
It can be an uphill fight. Television commercials about ecstasy-inducing shampoo might not seem like a big deal to you, but you need to remember that your seven-year-old daughter is learning that being “sexy” is very important. Page: 98
Teenage girls tell me routinely that they think they have to have sex to be accepted, cool, desirable, and sophisticated. They don’t believe this because they’re teenagers—they believe it because they’ve been told it, with nauseating repetition, from magazines, movies, music, and television from the time they were little. I see this all the time in young girls. When they first try sex—not necessarily intercourse—they are curious and usually very disappointed. The disappointment makes them feel that something is wrong with them, because everyone else says it’s great. So they try it again and again. In very short order they become emotionally dulled. Their instincts tell them that intimacy with another person has occurred, but their mind senses that no love was exchanged, no commitment was made, no emotional depth was involved. They become confused about love because sex came before love. Page: 99
When battles do heat up, however, you have to kick into high gear. Don’t be mean, loud, or aggressive. Kindness and strength in your beliefs work better. When your sixteen-year-old bounces into the kitchen with a bikini barely covering her large breasts and pubic area, smile and tell her that it’s a gorgeous color, but the suit is too scant for her beautiful body. Tell her she needs to find a more modest suit that won’t make other girls feel jealous. When she is twenty-five, she’ll thank you. Standing guard over your daughter’s sexuality is tough. It is nothing short of war. But teaching her that modesty is a strength and not a commodity of the prudish will pay off with enormous dividends. Page: 104
Over time, I found an obvious correlation among my patients: if they were sexually active, they were at high risk for depression. Page: 105
Fathers can ensure that their daughters grow up with healthy ideas about sexuality. You can guide your daughter to make smart decisions about sex. You know that your teenage girl shouldn’t be popping birth control pills, applying condoms, and being treated for STDs. She deserves better than that. If you as a father saw what I see every week in my medical practice, you would know what to do. And you’d succeed.Page: 108
So, dad, you must help her, teach her to wait. Even Dr. Julie Gerberding, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says so. Recently she wrote a letter to Congress about preventing HPV infections in young women. Why? Because infections are out of control and women (particularly young women) bear the brunt of the problems incurred by these infections. I was privileged to testify at the congressional hearing and this is essentially what Dr. Gerberding said: She told Congress that HPV causes cervical cancer in women and that we need to curb the spread of the virus. The best way, she said, was to have women reduce the number of sexual partners to as few as possible and to delay the onset of sexual activity as long as possible. Also, women should avoid sexual contact with an infected person. (The problem, however, is that HPV doesn’t cause symptoms unless it is the strain that causes warts, and these strains don’t cause cancer. Moreover, only 1 percent of HPV infections cause warts.) Page: 111
Researchers have known for a long time that teenage sexual activity and depression are linked, but the question was which came first—the sex or the depression. Page: 111
The findings were so clear that the authors said that girls who are engaging in sexual activity should be screened for depression. The researchers’ findings confirm my own clinical experience. Page: 116
1. Teach self-respect early. Page: 116
2. When she dates, sweep the garage. Page: 117
If a boyfriend picks your daughter up at home, don’t let him wait in the car and honk the horn. Make him come in and see you. Before the two of them leave, ask your daughter what time she’ll be home.Page: 117
Over and over again nice girls tell me how they date boys they don’t like and have sex with boys only because they don’t want to hurt their feelings. That’s exactly why you need to protect your daughter from herself. Remind boys that you—not your daughter—will hold them accountable for their behavior.Page: 117
3. Plan with her. Teach your daughter that sex is for later. Let her know that her body isn’t ready—and neither are her emotions. Page: 118
Let her know that the longer she waits, the better. Page: 118
Even if a ring or necklace helps your daughter wait only a year or two longer, that’s a victory. Page: 119
4. Say something. Page: 121
Let me put it this way. If you don’t want your daughter to be sexually active in high school, you need to tell her, you need to teach her. Otherwise, she will be. Popular culture trains our daughters for a life of promiscuity. Page: 126
I think then it dawned on Leslie that even God, the perfect father, had children who misbehaved terribly. Page: 127
My point is that fathers are often the ones who bring pragmatism and solutions to family discussions. Men see problems differently than women do. Women analyze and want to understand; men want to solve—they want to do something. This often annoys wives and daughters, who can get swept up in thoughts and emotions, and conclude, as Leslie did, that you “just don’t get it, do you?” or even that you’re uncaring or heartless. But that’s only because you’re less interested in talking about a problem than in doing something about it. Page: 127
A girlfriend of mine quipped that there are two types of women in the world: princesses and pioneer women. Princesses believe they deserve a better life and expect others to serve them. Pioneer women expect that any improvement in their lives will come through their own hard work; they are in charge of their own happiness. Page: 128
But here’s where dad comes in. When your daughter daydreams about the sort of girl she wants to be and what she should expect from life, she takes her cues from you. If you teach your daughter—even inadvertently—that other people exist to serve her needs and desires, she will grow to expect that from others. If you teach her that life has limits and that not all her needs or desires can or should be met, she will learn to accept realism, and she will not live expecting—or waiting for—others to be servants to the princess. Page: 129
The damage comes when a loving father indulges a daughter to the point that she expects always to be on the receiving end, and that all her material, physical, or emotional needs are to be taken care of by someone else. What or how much you give her doesn’t matter as much as the way in which you give. I have seen many wealthy girls grow up unspoiled and many poor girls become demanding, selfish grown-ups. Page: 129
The trick is to teach her that gifts, love, and attention are wonderful, but that she is not the center of the world. You want to teach her to appreciate these things and be humbly thankful for them. You do not want her to feel entitled to and selfishly focused on them.Page: 129
As a dad, whenever your daughter is in a tough situation, all you have to do is ask her this simple question: “So what can you do about it?” And it’s worth asking that question in situations throughout her life. Page: 130
Action means that your daughter will know that she, not others, will determine her fate. Page: 133
Home is work too, because just as people need you to do things at work, your wife and your daughters need you to do things at home. Not just fixing things around the house, but being the man they need you to be. That can sometimes mean intervening in their disputes and helping them solve their problems. Page: 136
I am convinced that if fathers recruited even 20 percent of the intellectual, physical, mental, and even emotional energy they spend at work and applied it to their relationships at home, we would live in an entirely different country. I’m not referring to coming home and doing more chores around the house, the yard, or at your kids’ schools. I’m talking about truly engaging with your family as a husband and father. Much of what you can do for your daughter is simply to engage her in conversation and listen. Men often talk little, but they listen more. Your problem-solving brain can analyze what your daughter tells you, and you can help her think of ways to smooth over volatile situations  Page: 144
Divorce is really the central problem that has created a generation of young adults who are at higher risk for chaotic relationships, sexually transmitted diseases, and confusion about life’s purpose. But that’s where fathers who stay engaged with their families can make all the difference.Page: 149
In saving Ada and his marriage, did medicine, psychotherapy, faith, and friends help Alex? Yes, they all helped in part. But ultimately, Alex restored his family because he refused to relinquish his daughter. He determined how to help her and then he steeled his will to do it, because that’s what strong fathers do.Page: 152
Before your daughter marries, you need to be that man. You need to ask yourself: Do I live my life as a father with integrity? Am I honest? Do I work hard for her and my family? Am I loving and protective of my wife and daughter? These are very tough questions, but if you want a healthy marriage for your daughter, this is where it begins. A healthy marriage is based on respect. You want to have your daughter’s respect, and if you model integrity, you will—and you will teach her to expect it in her future husband. Choosing a spouse is the one of the most important of life’s decisions. Careers don’t bear children, fill you with exuberance, or bring you soup in bed. Spouses do. And you are the man who will teach your daughter about men.Page: 158
If you let your daughter and son know that pornography is a struggle for every man and boy, and show them that it can be dealt with and avoided, you will give them unmatched power to confront the hard thingsin life. Page: 158
Every father wants a son-in-law who has nothing to hide and whose relationship with his daughter will be founded on truth. All secrets hurt. So talk to your wife about this. Make an agreement to have no secrets between you. Practice this. Then watch what happens to your daughter. If you live a life without secrets, she probably will too. If you expect her to hide nothing, she is much more likely to come clean about drinking and other dangerous behavior. But if she finds out that you (or her mom) are living with serious secrets—and kids almost always find out—she will likely do the same. Page: 159
you hide things, so will her husband.Page: 164
People Come FirstPage: 164
His example will teach his daughter an important lesson about life’s priorities. But if you don’t reconcile your wants and desires with honesty, integrity, and humility, your daughter won’t either—and nor will the man she chooses to marry. Page: 166
You don’t have to worry about losing material things; your life won’t collapse without them. You can treat them as gifts and focus on the loving relationships that are really important, for they are the greatest gifts.Page: 166
Teach her that she is enough.Page: 166
She needs to know this so that when she chooses a husband, she will look for another man who considers her a gift, who considers her “enough.” Page: 167
As a father you have to live with this tension. You want to keep her safe but you want her to be independent. You want her to be bold, but not careless. You want her to love but not to be too needy. Page: 167
Courageous men take stock and do what is right. Integrity is not complete without humility. True humility comes from finding that balance between who you are and what the world is. And the great reward is that humble fathers are wonderful to be around. Page: 167
suffocating love. You will want to protect her. She needs you to fight for her and to care, to be there for her, to be strong. She wants the world to know that if you mess with her, you mess with her dad. Don’t let her down. Fathers who shrug their shoulders and turn away leave their daughters feeling crushed.Page: 168
Listen to your instincts and err on the side of protecting your daughter. It is a common mistake of fathers to back away from their daughters tooPage: 168
fast and too soon. Please, please don’t. You’re not being overprotective or overbearing if you keep her from learning the hard way that drinking too much is dangerous, even life-threatening. Protect her, but do so subtly and wisely. Be there. Be the man of integrity, with reason and with muscles, to keep her pointed in the right direction. Page: 175
If you want her to marry a man with integrity, a man who will try to love her well, a man who will exercise courage with his family, protect her, and embody manly humility rather than arrogant narcissism, then show her integrity. Teach her to love life more than she fears it. Show her the integrity that means you have nothing to hide. Show her the love that puts family before material possessions. Show her strength of character and she will incorporate it into her own persona. Page: 177
Teach Her Who God Is Page: 189
One more thing about hope. Girls make a lot of mistakes as they grow up, as we all do. Part of your job as her father is to teach her how to fail well. Page: 189
In order to grow stronger from her mistakes and move forward in an emotionally healthy manner, three things must take place. First, she’s got to admit the mistake.Page: 189
Second, she must say she’s sorry—to you, to whomever she hurt, even to herself. This last gesture is extremely important for teen girls who are sensitive. Page: 190
Third, she needs to begin her life again, to move forward with a fresh start. Repeatedly I have seen girls, patients of mine, who want to say they’re sorry and move forward, but they haven’t a clue how to do this; Page: 191
but, well, you see, every morning, my dad and I were the first ones up in our house. I got up after him. Anyway, when I would come downstairs, I always saw him sitting in his chair all alone in the living room. He would be praying. I knew because he had his eyes closed. Or sometimes he would be reading the Bible or a book about the Bible. I knew never to interrupt him. Page: 192
Anyway, every day I went off to school, I felt so good knowing that my dad had gone to his chair and, I’m sure, prayed for me that day. I can’t tell you how good that felt. Somehow, I know that helping poor people, particularly poor kids, would make him really happy. Page: 202
Women tend to want more intense relationships. Men tend to want peace and quiet away from work. And both often feel like they are being shortchanged. Page: 202
Your job, as a man, as her father, is to help her keep her emotions in check. Page: 203
So first you need to train her to assess her impulses: Are they good or are they bad? Are they encouraging her to be stronger or weaker? Then you must help her identify thoughts, emotions, and desires that should be weeded out, one at a time. Help her to clarify her thinking, help her keep it simple. And once you do that, teach her to fight. Let her know that you and she are on the same side. Let her know that you will defend her from a very toxic, woman-unfriendly culture. Page: 204
Help your daughter find the balance between feelings, reason, and will. Don’t just tell her; show her, in your own behavior, how that balance can be found.Page: 207
Be savvy in choosing your battles. In general, if her food choices, her hairstyle, or her taste in music annoy you, you can let these go (unless they are part of a larger problem—like an eating disorder or hanging out with a bad crowd). Save your energy for the bigger issues that you absolutely need to focus on: honesty, integrity, courage, and humility.Page: 208
Clarify Your Morals (without apology) Page: 208
She wants to see conviction and leadership in her father. She might discard your beliefs when she’s older, but at least she’ll know where you stand. Don’t throw her into a wasteland of equivocation by saying, “Well, that depends on how you feel, or how you look at things.” Give her something with which to agree or disagree.Page: 209
Your daughter needs to know your standards, because everyone else is trying to sell her theirs. Here are a few of the most common ones you’ll have to battle.Page: 210
“I Need to Be Beautiful”Page: 211
Your daughter’s desire to look beautiful is fine if you, as her father, help direct it.Page: 213
“I Need to Be Sexy”Page: 214
Don’t make her feel bad about her desire to be attractive. Just affirm that modesty is attractive too—and more self-respecting.Page: 215
“I Need to Be Independent”Page: 216
Your thirteen-year-old needs you even more than your six-year-old does. Be there for her.Page: 216
“I Need More”Page: 216
The problem is not in having things. The problem is thinking that “things” will make you happier.Page: 216
“I Can’t Say No” Page: 218
Finally, remember, nice girls die in car accidents. Nice girls get pregnant. Nice girls fall for bad boys. Teaching your daughter to say no could save her life. Page: 219
Chapter Ten Keep Her Connected Page: 220
Parent connectedness: mothers and fathers staying together, and mothers and fathers spending time with their kids. And no one is more important to a daughter than her father. You don’t need to read all the studies and psychology books to know what to do. Our cold little girls connected with their dad on that chilly June night. All your daughter needs is for you to spend time with her. Think of yourself as your daughter’s base camp. She needs a place to stop and settle, to reorient and remember who she is, where she started, and where she’s going. She needs a place to rest and get reenergized. You are that place.Page: 220
Work, Play, and Plan Page: 220
Fathers like to do things outside the house, so here’s a tip: take your daughter with you.Page: 222
You need to spend time together having fun.Page: 229
Can you connect with your daughter? Absolutely. Keep it simple. Make it part of your everyday life. Have her help you with chores, or take her out to the theater, or go on a mission trip with her, but whatever you do, focus on her. Tune in to her, listen to her, and don’t let work and its preoccupations distract you from your daughter. At the end of the day, she’s more important than anything else. Page: 230
You are her introduction to love; you are love itself. Page: 230
“Dad, are you there for me?” She needs to know that the answer is always yes.Page: 230
Open Your Eyes to Her World (it’s different from yours) Page: 230
Fight for Her Body Page: 230
Truthfully, I would prefer that my teen patients (and my own kids) smoke during their teen years rather than have sex. Think about it. If a sixteen-year-old girl smokes until she’s twenty and then stops, her lungs and her cardiovascular system will recover and she can be completely healthy for the rest of her life.Page: 230
Remember, setting rules has nothing to do with trust—particularly during the teen years. Page: 230
Fight for Her MindPage: 230
Never let popular culture steal your daughter from you. Teach her the centrality of family, the importance of humility, and the rewards of helping others. Teach her to look beyond herself. Page: 230
Fight for Her Soul Page: 230
Fight for Your Relationship with Her What your daughter wants most from you is your time. Page: 230
The bottom line is: she needs more time with you than she does with her friends. So be with her. Page: 230
One day, when she is grown, something between the two of you will shift. If you have done your job well, she will choose another good man to love her, fight for her, and be intimately connected to her. But he will never replace you in her heart, because you were there first. And that’s the ultimate reward for being a good dad.