It all started about five years ago during an interview on a nationally syndicated radio program that heralds out of Chicago called Chris Fabry Live. I had just written my first book, Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart, and Chris was the perfect host to lead a conversation about dads and daughters in large part due to the fact that he’s a father to NINE children!
During the interview he said something that caught me by surprise, while simultaneously touching my heart, which was simply this: “Michelle, you should be called ‘the dad whisperer.” I was immediately moved to hear him affirm my deep desire to positively support fathers. Even more, the name has stuck and now become the title of my radio program and podcast that I’ve hosted for three years.
(If you’ve never listened to the show, all past shows are available on my website at www.drmichellewatson.com, iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play Music.)
Ever since Mr. Fabry suggested that I be called ‘the dad whisperer,” I have cherished that name. And I continue to be overwhelmingly amazed that men write me and call me asking for input about their relationships with their daughters. I’m beyond thankful that they know I’m their ally and am supporting their cause to be a better dad.
A few months ago I was telling a male colleague about being called the dad whisperer and he boldly said,
In keeping with this theme, I’m imagining that you and I are sitting across from each other while I’m sharing these five truths with you.
If I could whisper to you as a dad, I’d want you to know…
I am your champion. For real. No hidden agenda. I promise! I don’t honestly have a desire to control or manipulate you as men. But I really, really, really believe that if the hearts of fathers turn towards their children then our whole nation will improve for the better. Girls will stop looking for love in all the wrong places (cue music) and boys will stop pursuing physical power as evidence that they are strong and masculine enough and will instead believe in who they are apart from performance. Hmmm…I guess that goes for girls too!
How much you matter. Despite anything that you may have been told by our culture, the media, your family, or even your girls (especially during adolescence when most everything is upside down and backwards), your influence and impact makes all the difference in a daughter as she grows to become strong and healthy, confident and vibrant. Truth: daughters (and sons) internalize their dad’s view of them. That’s one big reason that dads matter.
You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be present. In other words, there has to be the investment of quantity time, not just quality time (which runs counter to what we often hear.) But the truth is that time is key to deepening relationships. When you’re home, your family needs time with you where you are available---listening, asking questions, playing games, eating meals, laughing, wrestling, throwing the ball, helping with homework, watching a favorite tv show together, etc.
Your affirmation goes deep and sticks. I don’t know what it is about a dad’s words that pack such a punch, but they do. The research confirms this as well. Conversely, words that are contrary also stick. And since my goal here is to come alongside and support you in your desire to do fathering right, I want to remind you of the power of your positive words to motivate, inspire, lead, and breathe life into the core of your kids.
Apples don’t fall far from trees. What I mean by this is that your kids are a reflection of your positive and negative traits. And more often than not, your child who has a knack for pushing your buttons is probably the one who is most like you. So rather than focusing on what your daughter or son is doing wrong, leading you to give constant correction, try looking within yourself and make changes there first. Then your little apples will be healthier and sweeter since the tree is standing tall with deep roots.
There you have it. Five ‘whisperings’ from my heart to yours, dad.
As I continue to invest in bringing relevant topics to you as fathers, feel free to send me questions that you’d like me to address on the air (or in blogs) or “hypothetical scenarios” that might have you confused or lost or stuck as a dad to a daughter (how’s that for a good way to say that your stories will always stay confidential!). You can write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.