I acknowledge that as a woman I am not an expert on men. But there are a few things I’ve observed about you guys over the years. My reason for writing this is to gain some credibility that might help you feel more inclined to read my book if you sense that I “get you.” Here are my thoughts in random order:
One thing I deeply appreciate about men is that information pretty much stays in the vault. As a general rule, men don’t spill the beans, are less reactive than women, and tend to stay calm under pressure----at least on the outside. I highly value this about you.
But there is also a downside to this dynamic. More often than not, men tend to hold things in and not talk about what is really going on inside (granted, this is a generalization so I realize that this doesn’t apply to all of you). I’ve also noticed that men are not inclined to ask for help even if you really could use it.
Oftentimes men tend to “go it alone” more than women do. Maybe it’s that men think it’s wimpy to talk about feelings or needs or struggles or failures, especially with other men. Regardless of the reasoning, there seems to be an underlying driving force that keeps men from opening up about the “hard stuff.”
I've also discovered that men would rather do nothing than do it wrong. But here's the bottom line: Doing nothing IS doing it wrong.
Now let’s transition to the topic of parenting, with a specific focus on fathering a daughter. When it comes to being a dad to your girl, you want to be her hero. You want her to look up to you and respect you. And even if you haven’t said it this way exactly, you can appreciate the fact that she needs you to be consistent and intentional.
Let me say it another way: As a dad you’re aware that you are either building a solid foundation or a wobbly one, and you know it's up to you to decide which it will be. And because you understand the cost-benefit ratios involved in the world of investing, you are committed to leaving a positive legacy in the daughter you helped to bring into the world.
I'm going to shoot straight with you: When it comes to being a great dad, I’m sure you’ve felt the heat from your wife or partner when you’ve blown it and not measured up. I believe you are as disappointed in yourself as she is in you.
Here’s how that breaks down for us women: Sometimes we see your inaction, men, as passivity, apathy, or neglect. This leads to my observation that a man's lack of action oftentimes comes from a place of honest appraisal of his own deficits. Then this cycles back into the “men would rather do nothing than do it wrong” dynamic, which leads to a negative outcome relationally (I’m sure you’ve all been here before, right?!)
My goal with The Abba Project and my book Dad, Here’s What I Really Need From You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart is to equip you with tools to navigate the challenging waters of fathering your daughter. I want to help dads decode their daughters so that their success rate in relating goes up! I want to see men move to action (out of passivity, apathy, or neglect) so they can hit the ball out of the park when it comes to fathering.
I want to help you be the hero that you want to be and the hero that your daughter needs to be.
I’ve worked with men long enough professionally to know that many of you struggle to “share your feelings.” I’m not naïve enough to think that dads will gather in groups with me and immediately pour out their deepest fears, failures, regrets, and thoughts. Yet I am hopeful enough to believe - like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams - if I build it, you will come. The Abba Project is my field of dreams and dads are coming.
Yet whether or not you join my group, the reality wherever you are is this: One dad at a time, if you commit to this process, you will see that there is real possibility to bring health, healing, and vitality to your daughter's life simply by pursuing her heart in proactive, constant, deliberate, loving ways.
What I’ve discovered about men is that you are happier and feel better about life when you know that you are being an invested dad. There’s no better time than the present to be the dad you know you need to be. Start by taking action today and you’ll get to be a part of the best miracle ever: growing a radiant, confident, healthy daughter!