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She needs a hero

strong-fathers-strong-daughters-150The Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters Group Blogging Project continues.  Chapter 2 – She needs a hero – is brought to you by fellow tyndale-seminary alumni, raising the village director, and good friend, Alan Liu.





I’ll admit my experience is limited – my daughter is barely three months old. But anyone with a blog has an opinion. And I know the co-ordinator here, I ain’t afraid to ask to be in on it. So here goes.

Chapter 2 establishes how to be a hero to our daughters. Show leadership and authority in protecting her. Persevering and staying on course when times, and wives, and daughters, are tough.

One of the key takeaways for me was when Meeker cautions, “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?… Make sure she knows the answer is yes.” Am I worth the fight? It’s a question humanity asked Jesus and that cost him his life. It seems it’s a question that will be asked of us. And I so want to say yes, yes, yes.

But my daughter is just three months old. My marriage is just over two years. Sure, it’s been good, but not nearly long enough to be a model. We say to have faith, trust your instincts, but stats don’t lie. We are failing.

Meeker finishes the chapter with this bit about being a real man. Being a heroic father. Having courage, perseverance and integrity. And I agree!

But integrity is a double-edged sword, and for every rallying cry the standard of integrity causes, there is a cry of submission. Some of us will read this chapter and not be inspired. Some of us will read this chapter and feel this heavy rock fall squarely on our shoulders.

And that would be unfortunate, because I don’t think Meeker is trying to do that. On the whole, she is trying to help fathers and I think she would agree that it’s not just having the integrity to do the right thing. It is in fact the willingness to try. And to genuinely admit when you are wrong. And to try again. Perseverance is not a shotgun or a hammer where the more you bang, the better you get. It is a finely honed chisel that requires thought, reflection and an openness that lets our daughters see who we really are: Men of hope, and ultimately, children of Grace.

Let me be clear, integrity is a virtue. But it isn’t human to achieve it. We will make mistakes and when we do, integrity shatters. If we were to ask Meeker, I’m sure she would say a father being genuine is assumed. I am saying that it is not. We try too hard to do what’s right, and hide what’s wrong and my firm belief is that as sure as Jesus knows, so do our daughters.

{ 16 comments… add one }

  • lon November 18, 2009, 5:42 pm

    I love your last paragraph Alan – I think Meeker's trying to call out the innate desire to be heroic in all men – and sometimes we forget, and we need to be intentional about it… but it definitely makes me pause to realize that our daughters see/sense/know who we are at the core, without us even saying a word.

  • chrismarsden November 19, 2009, 1:30 pm

    Whenever I think about needing/being a hero, I think about Sam and Frodo towards the end of their journey to Mordor. It has been a while since I read it, but Sam says something about wishing there was a "real hero" from one of the old songs to come and do what needed doing and Frodo replies that maybe they felt the same way. That the fact that they stuck out the mission and did what needed to be done made them a hero, not that they were already heros.

    It is pretending in a way. It is asking ourselves what would a real Hero do, and doing it instead of what we maybe would want. The key, I think, is consistency (Meeker mentions this). We need to "play" the Hero, not for a stage of their life, but consistently through their life. It is easy to be the Hero and clean up blood or vomit, even if it is against our nature or impulse. It is harder to hold a hand when "none of my friends like me". And when boys come into the picture in my little girls' lives, I can't even imagine the how hard it is going to be.

    But unlike most war stories, where if the Hero dies, someone else just picks up the gun and keeps fighting (and becomes the hero), we are the one shot our girls have. We have been charged with the mission of being the Hero in our little girls lives. And in order to complete the task, we have to stick with the journey until the very end.

  • chrismarsden November 19, 2009, 1:30 pm

    Whenever I think about needing/being a hero, I think about Sam and Frodo towards the end of their journey to Mordor. It has been a while since I read it, but Sam says something about wishing there was a "real hero" from one of the old songs to come and do what needed doing and Frodo replies that maybe they felt the same way. That the fact that they stuck out the mission and did what needed to be done made them a hero, not that they were already heros.

    It is pretending in a way. It is asking ourselves what would a real Hero do, and doing it instead of what we maybe would want. The key, I think, is consistency (Meeker mentions this). We need to "play" the Hero, not for a stage of their life, but consistently through their life. It is easy to be the Hero and clean up blood or vomit, even if it is against our nature or impulse. It is harder to hold a hand when "none of my friends like me". And when boys come into the picture in my little girls' lives, I can't even imagine the how hard it is going to be.

    But unlike most war stories, where if the Hero dies, someone else just picks up the gun and keeps fighting (and becomes the hero), we are the one shot our girls have. We have been charged with the mission of being the Hero in our little girls lives. And in order to complete the task, we have to stick with the journey until the very end.

  • Alan Liu November 19, 2009, 6:59 pm

    Good illustration and story, Chris and Lon! It's funny, I do have a hero complex. I could see myself answering my daughter that I never cry. 😛 Anyway, one thing I know about all the people I've looked up to as heroes as a young boy, was when I got older I found out things that crushed me. The youth leader who seemed so great was just normal kind of story, but the let down from the pedestal I put him on was huge.

    And while I am certainly learning something from Meeker, I'm just a little worried…

    A book that informs my parenting is Karen Hanson's Not So Nuclear Family. Her point is less important are the roles of mom and dad, but rather mom and/or dad's network of care – who you add to help you raise your kids to make up for the things where you are weak. In my own experience living with just my mom, it is the consistency of love over all my failings, and hers, that makes the difference. It was a breakthrough perspective that validated the great job my mom did in spite of being a 'broken' family.

  • lon November 19, 2009, 5:32 pm

    Great point Chris – it's a weird balance between 'playing' the hero and just being a genuine human being. Meeker comes right out and says our daughters need a hero and not an equal – which is what I (and probably a lot of other guys in our culture these days) tend towards.

    Maybe it's out of a longing for a better friendship with my folks growing up – but I can see how father's can abandon their unique rolls when we don't hold ourselves to being the fathers our daughters ought to have…

    my girl asked me the other day if daddy ever cries – and i told her yes, when things hurt. I don't think she needs me to be an impervious pillar of strength – but we're probably suppose to play both hero and plain old frodo at the right times, and teach our daughters to do the same.

  • lon November 20, 2009, 4:39 am

    Hey Beau, I'm testing too… odd your comments aren't duplicating… i did recently update to the latest super-cache plugin – not sure if that had to do with it – or if you've updated something.

  • Alan Liu November 20, 2009, 7:05 am

    Interesting article from the Toronto Star today (Thursday) from the 'liberal' side of children's sex ed, and healthy parenting.

    http://www.parentcentral.ca/parent/newsfeatures/a

    Notable quotes: "hooking up is the microwaveable burrito of sex",
    "book for parents and teachers… springboard for critical discussions.",
    "opportunity to talk about (sexualality, especially the personal, emotional side",
    "sex is not a one-size-fits-all format, choose carefully and be confident and proud… whether they do nothing or everything",
    "even in easy-acces culture, teens aren't as sophisicated as adults may think. basic impulses, anxieties and risks are still the same"

  • Beau Lebens November 20, 2009, 4:14 am

    Just a test comment, but nice post.

  • Test Comment November 20, 2009, 4:33 am

    This is another test comment.

  • lon November 20, 2009, 4:39 am

    Hey Beau, I'm testing too… odd your comments aren't duplicating… i did recently update to the latest super-cache plugin – not sure if that had to do with it – or if you've updated something.

  • Alan Liu November 20, 2009, 7:05 am

    Interesting article from the Toronto Star today (Thursday) from the 'liberal' side of children's sex ed, and healthy parenting.

    http://www.parentcentral.ca/parent/newsfeatures/a

    Notable quotes: "hooking up is the microwaveable burrito of sex",
    "book for parents and teachers… springboard for critical discussions.",
    "opportunity to talk about (sexualality, especially the personal, emotional side",
    "sex is not a one-size-fits-all format, choose carefully and be confident and proud… whether they do nothing or everything",
    "even in easy-acces culture, teens aren't as sophisicated as adults may think. basic impulses, anxieties and risks are still the same"

  • Beau Lebens November 20, 2009, 6:19 pm

    Another test comment.

  • Beau Lebens November 20, 2009, 6:22 pm

    Hey lon, I'm testing too… odd my comments aren't duplicating… you did recently update to the latest super-cache plugin – not sure if that had to do with it. We've not updated anything, but just thought perhaps quote marks or something are jumpin' in and messin' with things.

  • lon November 20, 2009, 6:26 pm

    noticed the last few additional comments haven't duplicated… crossing fingers… i run like another 20 plugins – most of them are fairly standard though – am i the only one with these duplications?

  • lon November 20, 2009, 6:45 pm

    actually noticed your comment here did duplicate for once. i'll respond to your more detailed note as soon as i have a chance. thanks Beau

  • lon November 22, 2009, 10:38 pm

    testing comments again

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