We went away on a road-trip last week to go to a 30th birthday party in Bourke in outback NSW. It was a big party and it was held in a big old empty pub, so there was plenty of space, and there was even a DJ and a disco room with a mirror ball and flashing lights and the whole works. We wouldn’t normally have taken Birdy to a party like that, but we didn’t have anyone to babysit in Bourke so she just had to tag along.
But as it turned out Birdy had a great time. And because she was the only child there, everybody would come up and say, “Hello darling, aren’t you beautiful?” and she would do a little twirl in her party dress. Then she discovered the disco room, and well… it was all on then. She took Daddy’s hand and twirled and kicked her legs and danced her little heart out, while Daddy looked on admiringly. Do your little girls twirl? When they put on a pretty dress, do they twirl for you? Why do little girls do that?
There’s a book by John and Stasi Elderidge called Captivating that talks a lot about the way that women and little girls need to feel that they are beautiful and captivating. I had a lot of resistance to this message. I’m not someone who focuses on appearances. I know that women and girls should be valued as being more than just a pretty face. But seeing the way Birdy puts on a pretty dress and twirls, I’ve realized that not only does she want to hear that she’s beautiful, but she wants to hear it from her father. She wants her father’s attention, she wants his full undivided attention.
On the way back from Bourke, Birdy kept saying she didn’t want to go home. And we couldn’t figure out why. Then we remembered I’d said we had to get back so Daddy could go to work. Sure enough, when Birdy woke up on our first day home, and saw that Daddy had already gone to work, she started crying and asking for Daddy. She was missing Daddy’s time and attention. And when I think about the way that Birdy was dancing at the party, it says to me that little girls really do come alive when they’ve got their Daddy’s undivided attention. Obviously boys need their father’s attention too, but little girls really need to know that their father thinks they are beautiful and special. So much of their self-worth depends on it.
Do you have little girls? Do they twirl? Do you agree that little girls look to their Dads for affirmation? If you’re a Dad, do your little girls get enough of your time and attention? What can Dads do to make their girls feel special? If your daughter doesn’t have a father, or has an ‘absent father’, how can you make up for it in their life?