Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Letting Go

"Nothin' makes a dad happier than seeing his daughter with a smile on her face and her boyfriend with fear in his eyes."
Willie Robertson

Job 42:15
Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.

I have recently gotten hooked on the TV show "Duck Dynasty". It follows a self proclaimed redneck family that have created a multi-million dollar business selling duck calls (and merchandising now that the show is so popular). Beyond the great (and clean) humor is a clear devotion to family and God. It is so nice to watch a TV show where I'm not having to beware of something edgy or profane being shown or said. There's also that refreshing feeling of observing the humor of every day family life: sibling rivalry, raising children, balancing business and leisure, and having that crazy uncle that you sometimes aren't really sure of.

Recently I caught two episodes that I could fully relate to. The lead character Willie Robertson is your typical businessman (if you ignore the camouflage and beard) and the father of four and notably the father of a teen aged daughter named Sadie. The first episode that hit me is "Duck Be A Lady" where Willie goes dress shopping with her daughter for the homecoming dance. To be honest, I never got that involved in shopping with either of my daughters but the struggle of finding a properly modest dress for your daughter can be quite a minefield. You want you daughter to look as beautiful as you see her, but not "too" beautiful. Oh the dilemmas of being the dad of a teen aged girl! Willie of course goes way overboard hoping to find a dress that was in style some time during the Reformation. "No" seems to be the only answer that he can muster. Finally, with the help of the crazy uncle, Si, he recognizes his true fear. His daughter is growing up and she's closer to being a woman than a little girl. The humorous part is that he ends up saying "Yes" to the first dress she put on. I have to admit, when it comes to your teen aged daughter, logic falls right out the window. It's great to have another man (even your crazy uncle) to help you stay grounded in reality.

Me escorting Amanda during her homecoming

The second episode was title "Daddy's Got A Gun". This one hit right where dads are when their daughters are teenagers. Willie finds out the Sadie is dating a boy. Now if you haven't lived this out, you won't know the feelings that dads go through. You can take the most level headed man you know and have his daughter start dating and he will turn into a stark raving lunatic. I have talked to many men about this and it is pretty much confirmed that it is the one thing that I will guarantee will drive you insane. Most describe it as anger couple with deep stress. I remember at one point during this time when I was watching the TV show "Heroes". The cheerleader sneaks off with her boyfriend and they have a romantic and innocent time together. My wife said something to the effect of how sweet that was. My response was pure rage with me wishing I was the dad with his Desert Eagle waiting to blow the boy's head off. My wife then asked if I needed to see a doctor or a psychiatrist. I think in some way she was spot on. My friend Garland's wife asked the same question of him when his daughter first started dating. The condition is clearly universal. As for Willie, he does the redneck thing and takes the boy hunting. In tow is Willie's brother Jase who has no greater joy than needling him into a deeper rage. As for the boy, he shows himself to be the nice Christian kid with good grades and a high level of respect (he also hunts which should put him in good graces with Willie). This of course is more frustrating to Willie since he would love to find any good reason to see the boy disappear from his daughter's life (or cause him bodily harm). Willie even blows up during the hunt and decides a water snake not only should be shot, but requires a full clip of ammunition shot into it to sooth his burning rage inside. Personally, I'm right there with him on that. Again Willie, like me, has to come to grips with his daughter growing up. My favorite moment in the episode is when Willie hands the boy a duck call before they head out on a date. It's a sign of acceptance. But also Willie warns, "This is the only thing that I've created that you are allowed to put your lips on." Dad may come to acceptance, but he still always commands respect and fear.

Amanda gave me this T-Shirt

For dads we will always want to protect our daughters, love them and be there for them but also we need to let them go. For me, that process is mostly complete whether I do or don't accept it. I see that God put daughters on this earth to teach men the deep truths of the Father's love. We love them so much; want to protect them; want to destroy anything that will hurt them; and in the end we must let them find their way. We have to let them discover things and learn. Through it we have to trust that all of what we have poured into them will flourish. Again, that can only happen if we let go. Isn't that so much of what God wants for us?

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

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