They say the pen is mightier than the sword. In this case, it’s the dry erase marker. Thanks to my friend Dr. Michelle Watson, I’d like to share with you a very simple, yet profoundly powerful tool that fathers can use redefine the word “beauty” in their daughters’ lives; thus instilling the way God intended our girls to view themselves, and not according to the ever-changing definition of the world.
It’s simple really: Using the dry erase marker, write words of beauty on your daughter’s mirror or whiteboard (or you can use a pen and sticky note). Tell her WHY she is beautiful and be specific (i.e. “Your smile lights up a room”, “You put others before yourself and that makes a difference”, or “I love the way you braid your hair”.) The point is, Dad, you are one of the most influential voices in your daughter’s head, especially when it comes to her perception of self. When a daughter is told on a regular basis by her father that she is loved, admired, and beautiful, she is far less likely to fall for lines from others who do not have her heart or best interest in mind.
Here are a few statistics on teen self-image from Dr. Watson’s book Dad, Here’s What I Really Need From You that every father should have a strong grasp of:
- In 1995, 34% of high school girls thought they were overweight. Today, 90% of U.S. teens are concerned about body shape.
- The #1 wish of girls ages 11-17 in the U.S. is to be thinner.
- Nearly 2/3 of teenage girls admit to thinking about improving their body in some way every day.
So where does that leave us dads? In my opinion, an alarm has been sounded and we need to take action! God created us to be the leaders, protectors, and providers of our families. That goes for the way we invest into our children too. Lead your daughter in what God says about her beauty; walk her through the scriptures if necessary. Protect her heart, for it is delicate and easily swayed away from truth if not guarded. Provide her with words of affirmation that will last. Write the messages on the mirror. Take her out on dates. Let her know she is loved through your words and actions; create memories that are yours and hers to hold on to forever. Be the reflective mirror of Christ that she needs. When you are, Dad, the words of the world will be erased away and His Word will be the foundation she can build her life upon.
And our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace.
Dads, will you begin to write the “messages on a mirror” to your daughter?
By Matt Haviland
Husband to Christy, Dad of one daughter
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder of A Father’s Walk
Author of A Father’s Walk: A Christian-Based Resource for Single Fathers,
Co-author of The Daddy Gap