A Father’s Prayer

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"He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers"Malachi 4:6

                                              Butterfly Kisses

It seems no matter what part of the United States you grew up that, you could attend many weddings and hear a song by Bob Carlisle named "Butterfly Kisses." It is a great song that will cause most dads to drop a few teardrops and reflect on their little girl growing up. He sings about watching his little girl grow up to the day she gets married when a new man enters her life.  It is a great and emotional song that will tear at most dads' hearts.

I am a dad with boys, and you may wonder why I am writing about little girls and their fathers growing up.  It was not until recently that I read a new book by Michelle Watson-Canfield called "Let's Talk, Conversation Starters for Dads and Daughters." You can go to this link on Amazon for the book: https://amzn.to/3fDAh. 

 Michelle has another book called "Dad, Here's What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter's Heart." Here are some highlights in her book:

·        learning to speak your daughter's love language
·        walking in God's vision for fatherhood
·        understanding your daughter's needs, wants, longings, and passions
·        bridging resistance and distance that emerges between dads and daughters
·        honing tools to mend a broken home or heart and heal the past

 OK, where is this headed? Where are you going with this?  I am going to take a twist on these books as a man married to that little girl who is now a woman, wife, and mother. The books profoundly affected me reading about how fathers can have a better relationship with their daughter, connect, accept, and love her. I am the man married to that little girl who grew up. Let me take Michelle's key points in her book, "Dad, Here's What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter's Heart." What if I interchanged words in that title as the man who is now married to that little girl?

As a husband:

How do I speak my wife's love language?
How do I guide us in God's vision for our marriage?
How do I understand her needs, wants, longing and passions?
How do I bridge the resistance and distance that emerges between her and me?
How do I hone tools to mend a broken home or heart and heal the past?

 I am that young man standing in the middle of the dance floor on that wedding day, promising her the moon…and desperately wanting to give it to her.  You see, we forget the little girls and boys grow up, and they are suddenly in a relationship trying to figure out new ways of communicating, loving, sharing, and living in the tough and rough times life can bring in this arrangement called marriage. Michelle does an incredible job of helping fathers learn to become intimate, loving, accepting, and understanding. The books actually become our primer as fathers and husbands to use in our marriages. 

 I am going to twist off on you because you may have thought I am writing about fathers and daughters.  I am actually going to make a "two-step" dance move on you and talk about "Loving Your Child's Mother." You see, that little girl will most likely grow up to be the mother of your children.  If you don't master the love language, understanding God's vision for your marriage and understand her needs, wants and longing, and passions, plus know how to mend a broken home and heal the past, then you may be in a higher statistic for a divorce or an extra-marital affair.  Or you could just have a miserable and unhappy home and family.  Well, I missed a lot of these important truths for my marriage and having a healthy family. If Michelle's book was about little boys and their fathers, I flunked.  In fact, only after attending a course at the National Center for Fathering did I learn about "The Seven Secrets of Effective Fathers" by Ken Canfield, Michelle's husband. One of the "secrets" is called "Loving Your Child's Mother." Michelle's teachings about how we talk and communicate with that little girl carry on to that woman I am dancing with on that wedding day.

 Can I be real for a minute?  I was a father and husband who had every desire of wanting to be a loving and caring man and sit on a beautiful beach with a beautiful sunset with the love of my life.  I eventually got to that beach but not after years of pain, conflict, and disappointments. Let me put it this way, "I killed every butterfly in her life" through harsh words, inconsistent behavior, and fear of failure." I had a teenage son who left a home of strife and conflict. My behavior ripped the life out of our family. Later, I learned my wife became disconnected and abandoned me emotionally, and loving me.  I was out of control, and for the life of me, I couldn't find my way to changing destructive patterns in my life.   I had to open painful doors of bad behaviors with counseling, attending courses like "The Seven Secrets of Effective Fathers," and learning to forgive myself and love myself as God loves me. Wow, did I have a new desire to love that little girl and help collect new butterflies for her life? As sentimental (and romantic) as this may sound, we both had to learn how to run and catch butterflies together. There are a lot of correlations to her books.

 As painful as it was for me to attend many weddings during the hard times in our marriage and hear the song "Butterfly Kisses," I found myself years later in Lahore, Pakistan, on our 45th Wedding Anniversary training men to be effective fathers. A key Secret is to Love Your Child's Mother.  You see, we must love our little girls unconditionally, talk with them and hear their dreams and fears, and learn communication skills made just for dads and kids. Here is the funny of the story, I found myself in a packed class surprising my wife with a dance demonstrating to fathers and husbands how to "love their child's mother." It all starts with the little girl and understanding her heart.
(The faces of the class members in the picture are worth a million dollars).