It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
Jay Payleitner is one of the top freelance Christian radio producers in the United States. He has worked on Josh McDowell Radio, Today’s Father, Jesus Freaks Radio for The Voice of the Martyrs, Project Angel Tree with Chuck Colson, and many others. He’s also a popular speaker at men’s events and the author of the bestselling 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad, 52 Things Wives Need from a Husband, and One-Minute Devotions for Dads. He has also served as an AWANA director, a wrestling coach, and executive director of the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative. Jay and his wife, Rita, make their home in the Chicago area, where they’ve raised five great kids and loved on ten foster babies.
Visit the author’s website.
Jay guides dads into “girl land,” offering ways to do things with their daughters, not just for them; lecture less and listen more; be alert for “hero moments”; and give their daughters a positive view of the male sex. Dads will gain confidence in building lifelong positives into their girls.
List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (March 1, 2013)
AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:
Always Daddy’s Little Girl
Look back at the photo on the front cover of this book. What do you
think?(For the record, it’s not me and it’s not my daughter, Rae Anne. I don’t have that much hair. And Rae is 20.)
I lobbied my publisher hard for a cover photo featuring a father and his daughter right around 12 years old. Because dads fear that age. Don’t we?
For her entire life, our sweet little girl has been worshiping her daddy. Anything we say, she believes. Anyplace we go, she wants to tag along. Anytime she’s scared or hurting, all we have to do is show up and all the bad stuff melts away.
We like being the daddy of a little girl. It’s really pretty easy. And great fun. But we also know that magic won’t last.
Change is coming. And we don’t know what our relationship is going to look like on the other side. We’ve heard ominous stories of teenage girls raging against their fathers. We feel helpless when we consider the world she’s about to enter. We imagine the worst: sexual promiscuity, eating disorders, alcohol, drugs, depression, obsessing over looks, sleepless nights, parties she isn’t invited to, parties she is invited to, homework assignments we can’t begin to help with, and whether or not we matter anymore.
In the debate about what photo best paints the father–daughter picture, the editorial and design team at Harvest House Publishers made an excellent point. No matter what age she really is, we always see our daughter as our little girl.
I must say, I had to agree.
Rae Anne has four older brothers. All out of college. Three of them even married. But the dominant mental images I carry in my head of Alec, Randall, Max, and Isaac are of their coming-of-age season in middle school or high school.
Rae Anne is a beautiful, strong, dedicated, fierce, and fabulous young woman. But…sorry, Rae. You will always be my little girl.
Dad, fear not. Stop imagining the worst. You and your daughter will be fine. Better than fine. With a little prayer and preparation, your future will be filled with good conversation, lively debates, some tears, much laughter, quick hugs, longer hugs, a few sleepless nights, some grand celebrations, and memories that sweep you into the next stage of life for you and your family.
I must warn you that some of the chapters in this book do contain cautionary tales and warning signs to watch for. But anticipating what might be lurking around the next corner is part of what you signed up for as a dad.
Most important, I hope this book will help you realize you’re not alone in this adventure called “raising a daughter.” Every situation is different, but there are certainly quite a few friends and family members cheering you on. And, God himself gave you that little girl to love, protect, and provide for. His plan for you and your family is rock solid. Count on it.
“Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express.”
A Daughter Needs Her Dad…
To Be the Perfect Father
Your daughter needs a father she can count on 100 percent of the time. With 100 percent perfect advice. Infinite vision into the future. Providing for her every need. Available 24/7/365. This is what you might call an imperative. A must-have. An absolute life requirement.
To relieve any pressure you might now be feeling, let me say this: “Dad, that ain’t you. No one expects you to be a perfect father.”
For sure, you love your little girl 100 percent of the time. But that’s not enough. You are going to make mistakes. You are going to set expectations that are impossible to meet. You are going to get angry at things that are really not a big deal. You are going to give her things she does not need and cause her to miss opportunities she should have. You are going to open the wrong doors and close the wrong windows. You are going to be silent when she needs to hear you say, “I love you” or “I’m sorry.” You are not and cannot be the perfect father.
You probably already know where this is going.
Since you can’t be the perfect father, you’ll be glad to know that your daughter has a Father in heaven who is exactly that.
He does have a perfect plan for your daughter. “ ‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ ” ( Jeremiah 29:11).
He will never leave her stranded. “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
But wait. If God is all the father your daughter really needs, then what in blue blazes is your job? Are you an afterthought? Are you a fraud, an imitation? Are you superfluous? Redundant? Nonessential?
Of course not. You’re not God. But you are a dad. Just like Joseph filled the role of husband to Mary and father to Jesus, you’ve got a job to do. Like Abraham trusted God’s plan for Isaac (Genesis 22). Like Jairus wept for his dying daughter and sought out Jesus’ help (Mark 5). The Bible acknowledges and has all kinds of clear instructions for earthly fathers. Don’t exasperate your kids (Ephesians 6:4). Manage your household (1 Timothy 3:4). Discipline your children (Proverbs 19:18). Look for teachable moments with your kids (Deuteronomy 6:7). Love your wife (Ephesians 5:25).
So yes, Dad. You have a job to do. Even though you can’t be the perfect father she needs, you are the best she has right now. And can I say, Dad, you’re doing a pretty good job? The fact that you’re still plowing through this first chapter of a book with a title like this is a good indication of what’s in your heart and your deep desire to be the father your daughter needs.
There’s an oft-told story that might help you embrace your role.
A sweet little girl who looks a lot like your daughter is frightened by the crashes and flashes of a thunderstorm. From her bed she calls out to her daddy. He comes in with a gentle smile and sits down on the edge of her bed, assuring his daughter that she need not be afraid—she is safe and Jesus is always with her. The little girl thinks about that idea for a moment and then says, “I know that, Daddy. But right now, I need someone with skin on.”
You’re not God. But to your daughter, your physical presence—your words, actions, hugs, provision, and example—is part of God’s big design for raising a woman of virtue and achievement.
Years from now, you’ll look back and see that even during times when you didn’t know what to do or how to respond in a crisis, your presence was all that was really needed. You may have felt like you didn’t do enough. But to your daughter, you represented “God with skin on.”
Too many fathers beat themselves up or neglect their fathering duties because they don’t always know the right thing to do or the right words to say. It’s really okay. Join the club. Making mistakes is part of being a dad. In the meantime, make sure your little girl is growing in relationship with her perfect heavenly Father.
“If you…though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
—Jesus, in Matthew 7:11