Meg Meeker MD’s “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters” is an A-list book for both fathers and mothers…and for daughters. There is something in this book for everyone.
Meeker is a practicing pediatrician and Clincial Assistant Professor at Michigan State University. She has written five other books on the raising of children – “Strong Mother, Strong Sons”, “Your Kids at Risk: How Teen Sex Threatens Our Sons and Daughters”, “Boys Should be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons”, and “The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming Our Passion, Purpose, and Sanity”. She writes from an unabashedly Catholic perspective. Her books draw from her 20+ years of experience as a pediatrician and a counselor to young girls. She has seen the impact of absent parents, promiscuity, drugs and alcohol, and unhealthy friendships on children, their development, and subsequent happiness.
In “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters”, author Meeker outlines the importance of the father’s role in a daughter’s development and ultimate happiness; and she provides ten key “secrets” to guide fathers in navigating the path they must take for success.
Secret #1 - “You (the father) are the most important man in her (your daughter’s) life” – is the overarching theme throughout the book. What you do and don’t do has big, big impact on your daughter’s development, overall well-being, and her eventual happiness. When she is 25, she will mentally size her boyfriend her husband up against you; when she is 35 the number of children she has will be impacted by the life she had with you.” Fathers are critical to a daughter’s self-worth and growth - physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.
Nine other secrets every father should know follow. They are:
1. She needs a hero – Heroes save families. They meet the deepest needs of the human heart. They teach undiluted commitment and faithfulness.
2. You are her first love - Your daughter yearns to secure your love, and throughout her life she’ll need you to prove it. Every man who enters her life will be compared to you.
3. Teach her humility – Genuine humility is the starting point for every other virtue. Humility means having a proper perspective on ourselves, of seeing ourselves as we really are. It also means knowing that every person has equal worth.
4. Protect her, defend her (and use a shotgun if necessary) – Boundaries are a sign of love. The father is a far more effective protector of his daughter than anyone else in life. Teens are getting mixed messages from their schools, churches, and civic groups.
5. Pragmatism and grit: two of your greatest assets – Teach her to appreciate grit as nothing makes a heart melt like a man with courage and resolve. We admire men who are willing to risk their lives to help good triumph over evil and have the moral wit to distinguish between the two.
6. Be the man you want her to marry – Like physicians, see it, do it, teach it. She needs to see what a good man looks like, she has to know one: a model of masculinity; a man of integrity; a man who inspires trust and respect; a leader; committed to family; willing to sacrifice for them.
7. Teach her who God is - Your daughter needs God. You should be glad that she wants to believe in something larger, because you know all too well that many times you will fail her. And the evidence (provided by Meeker) says: religion is protective for kids.
8. Teach her how to fight – Reason, experience, and our moral compass help us decide what to do. It is your job to provide your daughter with a moral compass, to be the voice of reason when she talks about feelings, and to show her the power of will that allows you to live with the outcome of moral reasoning.
9. Keep her connected - Stay connected with your daughter and make her part of your everyday life. Have her help you with chores, or take her out to a theater, or go on a mission trip with her, but whatever you do, focus on her.
Meeker goes into great depth on each of the 10 secrets, providing supporting data and ample real life examples of prodigal daughters that are sure to resonate.
I was a single-parent, raising a son and daughter from ages 13 and 10 respectively. I wish this book was around when I took on the responsibility of being the sole parent of two wonderful children. I was not a perfect father but I did do a number of things right. I quit work to be available to both as we adjusted to a life without a mom. I spent time with both and also individually as we shared special events like a football game, a concert, the symphony, and special summer trips to Big Fork, Montana. My children are now doing the same for their children (my son has two and my daughter has five). They grew as did I.
Key take-aways of this book include the essential virtues of strong fathers; how a father’s modeling contributes or denigrates a daughter’s self-esteem; the importance of boundaries and how to enforce them; the biggest mistake a dad can make; the importance of faith; and how girls depend on their dad’s guidance well into adulthood.
We all know women whose father’s failed them. What will your daughter’s life say about you?
- Paperback: 267 pages
- Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (1 August 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345499395
- ISBN-13: 978-0345499394
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.5 x 20.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 181 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 114,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)