Me and my daughter, Dove, got a chance to spend the whole day together as my wife attended a women’s conference this past weekend. Daddy/daughter days usually always consists of bottles, baths, books, strolls through the neighborhood, shared nap-time, singing, and dancing. After reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar (a favorite from the womb), and her impersonation of The Boss Baby where she demanded food and protested naps, we finally coasted into the evening with John Mayer’s “Where the Light Is.” I had to stop to fully take in the joy of her beady eyes staring at me, jumping in her bouncer rhythmically to to the string of the guitar,  and as the music and my daughter played in unison, some of the lyrics hit me differently and spoke to my heart as a father.

“She’s a good girl. Loves her (parents). Loves Jesus. And America too.”

Of course she’s only 7 months old, but that’s how we want to raise our daughter. This won’t be some covert operation or hidden parental agenda either – in fact, we gave her the name Honor as a proclamation over her life. We want her to live a life that is honorable, honor her parents, honor the Lord her God, and embrace the honor of living in a country where she is free to do these and many other things.

“Daughters will love like you do.”

As much as we both want her to live a life of honor, we aren’t naive enough to think it’ll happen naturally. We know she’ll be influenced by the way she spends her time and by the deepest relationships in her life. As her parents, we will have to own the privilege of being her primary influences and not pass it off to television, social media, or pop culture. We get to model her first glimpse of godliness by how we love God. We get to re-present the love of the Father by how well we love on her. She will see the love of the Son by how we treat our neighbors and how we invest into our community. And in these volatile times, we will have to model what family, marriage, love, and truth look like for her. I want her to be proud of the way her parents love; and I want to be able to look at our love through the mirror that is our daughter and be pleased with what we’ve passed on.

“Just keep me where the light is”

For many guys, the idea of having a daughter and having her love like her father is terrifying. But take heart fellas, because the savagery that was our teenage, college, and young adult years was the furthest thing from love. Let us rejoice in the fact that He is a God of grace not karma. And if you are in Christ, the old man is no more and the new has come. With that transformation, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness and into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9). And that’s where I want to lead my family from – where the light is. Instead of fearing that boys will view my daughter as I once viewed girls, I am going to be intentional about teaching my daughter how to view herself as her Father does. I’m going to guide her to the light, and not allow her to be corrupted by lies or darkness. And I may be zealous for praying with her each night, and reading scripture to her, and literally clothing her in righteousness, but I know our God to be jealous for his prized possessions. Us.

So on behalf of every man, looking out for every girl, show her your God and not the ways of world.