This past weekend, I had the great fortune of taking my wonderful 11-year-old daughter to Orlando, Florida for the Fathers of Faith and Daughters of Excellence retreat led by a great father of two daughters, Frederic Gray. It was a great experience. We stayed at the Doubletree Castle hotel, kicking off the weekend with a daddy/daughter banquet, listening to several great presentations about the role of the Father in raising excellent Daughters and also the role of the Daughter in heeding the advice of the Father.
Tessa and I had a great time. After scheduled events were over on Friday evening, we continued our own little daddy/daughter date and played a game of miniature golf. Of course, I thought that was great because I stomped her socks off. Then we crossed the street to Friendly’s and had a really good but really expensive chocolate shake. I also learned that sometimes even 11-year-olds snore. That was amazing.
I got a lot of good things out of the weekend and I think Tessa did as well. But one concept really jumped out at me. Frederic commented on the modern lies of raising a princess. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying boycott Disney or that it is a sin to watch their movies. I’m simply saying we need to consider some of the messages with which we may be training our little girls and never even know it. Consider just a few. You can probably give some thought to it and think of some more. These lies are expressed below as they are told to our little girls in these movies.
I can defy my father’s advice and direction and follow the impulses of my emotions and in the end everything will work out alright. After all love should be my guide when pursuing prince charming.
Truth: Hey, I know dads can sometimes be mistaken. But lets get real. A 40 to 50 year-old father knows a lot more about the way the world works and a lot more about 18 to 25 year-old boys than daughters do. Further, Hollywood and Disney aside, the American landscape is littered with broken homes because daughters were guided by the emotional infatuation they confused with real love and married someone despite the good advice of their parents.
I can find my prince charming by one night of dancing with a stranger.
Truth: Real love is not an emotional fit when a man walks into the room or places his arms around you. Real love is knowing a person intimately, knowing his strengths, weaknesses, flaws, personality, past, goals, etc. and then devoting your life to complement his. Real love is not an emotion that is out of your control. Love is an action that is your choice. You can certainly find a man who will thrill your soul for a while just by looking into his eyes on the dance floor. But you can’t possibly find a man you are sure you want to commit yourself to unconditionally or even know that he is worthy of such commitment that way.
If I love a monster enough, he’ll eventually change into prince charming.
Truth: Once again, the American landscape is littered with broken homes because young ladies were certain that the guy they were dating who was rude, inconsiderate, irresponsible and sometimes even cruel would change over time as she just loved him enough. Don’t get me wrong, people can change. But, daughters, you can’t change them. They can only do that themselves. Pay attention to the way your “prince charming” treats his mother and his sisters. That is how he’ll treat you and you are not likely to change it. Pay attention to how he treats you while you’re dating. If he is cruel, sarcastic, degrading, objectifying and condescending now, it will probably only get worse when you’re married to him. If you are only an object with which to make out or try to have *** **** while you are dating, you will not suddenly become a person with hopes and dreams in his eyes once you are married. Pay attention to his work ethic and his discipline while you are dating. If he is a bum who is mooching off his parents while you’re dating, he won’t suddenly become Mr. Responsible once kids come on the scene. Look, I know people change. I have changed over the years. But don’t buy the lie that you can change someone.
The most important thing in life is true love’s kiss from prince charming.
Truth: Physical intimacy is a great part of a committed relationship. Sadly, most folks today think physical intimacy is the goal of every relationship. That just isn’t so. The goal of relationships is completeness, wholeness. The goal is to find someone who complements and therefore completes you. You can’t figure that out if you’re merely focusing on his lips. I don’t know how many married couples I’ve spoken with or tried to counsel who claim they married someone they didn’t really know because when they started dating, all they did was make-out. I’m not at the point where I’ll call it a sin to kiss someone to whom you aren’t married. I might get there, but I’m not there yet. However, to be honest, I wish I had never kissed anyone but my wife. All the physical intimacy I ever had with girls before I got married only served to mess up the joy of the physical intimacy I want with my wife. They all became obstacles I’ve had to overcome so “true love’s kiss” could actually be something special. In any event, get this in its proper order. Physical intimacy is not the goal of our relationships. Physical intimacy is the celebration of one very special relationship that is already in it is proper and committed place. Get the commitment, the union, the completion down and then let physical intimacy celebrate that. Then you’ll really have your prince charming and then true love’s kiss can be very special and exciting. But if you’re trying to find prince charming by seeing what kind of kisser he is, you’re only looking for trouble.
I’m sure you can think of more. I may bring up more in a later post. But Dads, I hope you’re getting the picture. Again, I’m not saying boycott princess movies by Disney. But be aware and use them as opportunities to talk about the difference between fantasy and reality. There is a reason those stories are called fairy tales.