Purposeful Gazes

Column Post by Lakin Easterling

Fathers are a powerful force in the lives of their daughters. Not that they aren’t the same for their sons, but I’m a daughter with a father, so I can speak a little more personally from that perspective.

From her father, a little girl is left with the impression of the mettle that makes a man. She finds out how a man should treat a woman when she watches him embrace her mother. She learns what it is to be adored and cherished through how he plays with her and tucks her into bed. She learns the strength of a man by watching her father go to work every day, tend to the yard and car, chop down trees, and shine up his motorcycle.

A daughter also learns the strength of a man by the tenderness he shows when carrying a stray kitten into the garage after she found it under the front porch, or when he scoops her up after a fall and bandages her cuts and scrapes.

This is so much responsibility for a father, these watchful little eyes, and no one prepares either for the weight this relationship carries, or how often and how badly things will go wrong. Because I promise, things will go wrong. Not from a fault of her own, or the fault of her father. Not even of a mother, a friend, an aunt, an uncle, or grandparents. Things go wrong because people are fallible. 

We have been born into an imperfect world that is imperfectly telling us what perfection is, and how to attain it perfectly. We are given images and movies and songs and books—all written and devised by people who dream in broken pieces and are only trying to fix things the best way they know how.

We are ever being told by those as broken as ourselves how to be perfect.

Fathers will strive, daughters will observe, and a mold will be fashioned. I want to know what would happen, though, if we put aside all the things that told us who to be and how to act and look and what to say, and fathers were just fathers and daughters were just daughters, and we saw each other as we truly are. 

I know there are times in life where we all need a little extra direction, an extra voice of experience or guidance. But I think it’s a dangerous road if we allow all these wonderful voices to speak for us, instead of using them as support for our own experience.

No one will ever be in your exact shoes—though some will come closer than others, and will be a tremendous encouragement. However, we need to learn to pay attention to each other. The responsibility of parents in the development of their children is the biggest and most easily distorted.

And why wouldn’t it be? We could fill a library with all the books on parenting, how a baby is supposed to grow, what you’re supposed to do when they get sick or act out or come of potty training age.

We have books on how to handle terrible two’s and angsty teens, and even books for our angsty teens to read so they can help themselves. We have phones and computers and battery-operated toys to distract our kids while we distract ourselves with phones and computers and the drama of adult life.

Here is a secret: no book will ever prepare a father for the priceless look of adoration a daughter will first bestow upon him, nor for the crushing blow when she realizes that yes, even Dad can fail.

Wake up, wake up, O sleeper from the dead, wake up! Heaven’s found inside us all, so turn and come alive again—wake up!” –Michael Gungor

When we look at one another through the wakeful lens of purpose, we see a father who is fallible and a daughter made just the same, held together by the design of a Creator’s love—which is a better binding than any piece of advice or how-to book could ever be.


P.S. We’d love to know your thoughts; be sure to share in the comments section below. This month we will draw TEN winners from our commenters and the winners will receive one of these two  books, Hope for a Hurting Heart or To Let You Know I Care by our featured author this month, Cheryl Karpen

Lakin Easterling is a wife, mother, writer, and avid reader. She spends her days chasing her toddler, Belle, and conversing with the elderly who are afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia. She loves surprise coffee dates with her husband Luke, texting novels to her best friend, Laura Hyers, and being a college student. She dreams about being brave enough to get a tattoo, and believes in the healing power of a good cup of coffee. Her favorite nail polish is Sail Away by Milani. She blogs at http://threadingsymphonies.wordpress.com.

Read more encouraging stories from brave-hearted women here. Be sure to grab your free copy of inspirational quotes and writing prompts while you’re there. (Look over on the right hand side!)


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