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Dad, Here's What I Really Need From You by Michelle Watson, PhD

Dad, Here’s What I Really Need From You by Michelle Watson, PhD

This special post is by Michelle Watson, PhD, LPC, author of “Dad, Here’s What I Really Need From You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart”.

I had the good fortune of receiving an advance copy of this outstanding book. Please share it with every Dad of daughters. I know it will bless them.

You can get your copy here: Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart


Are you old enough to remember the craze in the 60’s and 70’s where really cool prizes (a.k.a. “cheap gimmicks”) were tucked inside cereal boxes? I can still see my sister and I begging my mom to buy the kind with the most alluring prizes, regardless of whether we even liked the cereal (whichI’m sure set a foundation that continues to be in place today because I’m still a sucker for a deal!).

One of my favorite prizes was a decoder ring that instantaneously transformed me into Sherlock Holmes as I had the cryptic tool to solve the mystery on the back of the box. The thing that sticks in my mind about decoder rings is that they instantly provide the link between the problem and the solution. Without the magic ring the problem is left unsolved and unanswered.

If you’re a dad to a daughter, the question I pose to you is this:

Do you ever wish you had a decoder ring to better translate, understand, and relate to her?

Especially if she’s hit that age (a.k.a. puberty) you most likely have wondered what tool you need in your toolbox to actually decode her. Maybe she used to be easy to relate to while now you’re feeling left high and dry in the resource department. Maybe she used to love you singing songs to her when tucking her in bed but now she’s too cool for all that.

Dr. James Dobson, in his book Bringing Up Girls calls this stage “juvenile puberty,” a time where high levels of estrogen in the female brain lead to changes in mood (greater anxiety, anger, irritability), behavior (self-absorption that is often viewed as selfishness), and thinking patterns (inflexibility, obsessive focuses—boys, clothes, body, etc.).

The reason I’m telling you this is to place in your hand one kind of “decoder ring” to give you greater understanding of what’s happening in your daughter as she is growing and maturing.

The truth is that we girls don’t have control over what’s happening in our brain at this adolescent stage (and sometimes a bit past adolescence). We don’t make this happen and we don’t know what is actually going on inside of us. All of a sudden everything changes. This also means we don’t know how to explain it to you either, Dad.

If you’re anything like the dads of daughters I lead in The Abba Project, you are often left scratching your head and wondering where daddy’s little girl went. Your confusion might easily lead you to make a reactive decision, which is to back away and turn to mom and say, “here, you’re a girl; you go in.”

Dobson continues by asking the question: What does a girl need from her parents when everything has gone topsy-turvy? The answer, he says, is more attachment, not less.

To further underscore the point he adds, “even when she is most unlovable, she needs love and connectedness from her mother, but also from her father.” Dad, I implore you to bring yourself to your daughter. She needs your male energy, even if she doesn’t know she does.

It is here where things can get a little more complex. Sometimes when your daughter starts being more unpredictable and moody, it sets off something in you that you may not like about yourself or that makes you feel like you don’t have control. Here is how my dad said it to me awhile back:

“Michelle, I guess the reason we clash a lot is because we are so much alike. I see in you so much of me.” It’s my intensity and perfectionism that activate something in my dad (and me) that often causes us to bonk heads, and these are things that he doesn’t necessarily like in himself either.

So what do you need to do to be a dialed-in dad who is sensitive to your ever-
changing daughter even with all the up’s and down’s for each of you?

Let’s go to Scripture and read about an incredible dad who did get it right with his daughter. In fact, he will give you six words to make you a better dad today.

Caleb is one of the spies who, along with his friend Joshua, went into the Promised Land when there were giants inhabiting it. But instead of being intimidated, these two guys saw with eyes of faith and believed that God would keep His promise to give them their land regardless of all the overwhelming odds.

Fast forward to the time where Caleb is living out his role as a dad to his daughter. Her name was Achsah and she was a woman of faith and courage, a woman with a voice who wasn’t afraid to ask for what she wanted. It’s obvious that her dad had modeled to her what it meant to be bold and forthright.

Let’s pick up the story in Joshua 15, verse 18:

“One day when Achsah came to her husband, she urged him to ask her father for a field. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What can I do for you?”

I LOVE that question from dad to daughter! It’s so simple yet so profound. These are six words that every dad should memorize and use regularly. I believe they literally will change the way your daughter interacts with you if you put these into practice.

Caleb brings himself to his daughter’s problem. He is willing to invest his own time and resources to help her. (And it’s worth noting that he was still a dialed-in dad even after his daughter was married).

Notice the freedom of honest clarity that flows from Achsah’s mouth as she responds to her dad’s question. She replied,

“Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water.”

She boldly asks him for something that is important to her. She obviously knew that she had the foundation of relationship with her dad to ask him for a “special favor.” There was no fear there. She knew he would listen. She trusted that he would respond.

And the amazing thing is that he does it for her. We read that,

“Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.” (v. 19)

  • Do you notice how easily she responded to her dad’s question without holding back?
  • Do you notice how Caleb gives his daughter more than she asked for?
  • Do you notice that he offers himself as the solution to her request?

Dad, I encourage you to begin making these six words a regular part of your interactions with your daughter. I promise that they will be a life-changer in the way your daughter responds to you!

Thanks Caleb for being a fantastic role model of a dialed-in dad. Would that there be more dads in the 21st century who follow in your footsteps.


Dr. Michelle Watson

Dr. Michelle Watson

Dr. Michelle Watson approaches life and relationships with one ear turned upwards, listening to her Abba Father’s voice, and another turned horizontally towards His kids.  Whether in her counseling office or speaking to teens, women, or dads, she seeks to keep it real while pointing to her Healer.  Her first book will be released on September 1, 2014 as a resource to help dads with daughters entitled Dad, Here’s What I Really Need From You:  A Guide to Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart.  You can read more about The Abba Project and her ministry to dads at


I opened up our local newspaper and an article immediately grabbed my attention.

You Are What You Decide by Sean Brady

You Are What You Decide by Sean Brady

Three revelations, one after the other, rushed to my mind.

  1. “Hey, someone local wrote a book!” (I’m slowly writing a book too.)
  2. “Hey, that book is about a topic I’m interested in!” (Decision Making)
  3. “Hey, I know that guy!”

It turns out that Sean Brady, my one-time teacher, has made a career out of helping people make decisions. Since he taught the Middle School “Apex” program, he has acquired a wealth of life experience and specialized training that makes this unique profession viable.

The Company

Now “Mr. Brady” (he no longer lets me call him that) leads Prism Decision Solutions. Their mission is to “Provide dynamic group processes and state-of-the-art systems to accelerate group decision making.” In short, if your organization has a high-stakes, complex decision to make, Prism can lead you through to the solution.

The Book

Sean (I still want to call him “Mr. Brady”) has now consolidated years worth of decision-making research and development into an accessible resource. “You Are What You Decide” provides “8 Keys to Better Decision Making” that will help you navigate simple and complex situations in your personal and professional life.

But the book here:  You Are What You Decide: Eight Keys to Better Decision-making

Sean Brady - Author of "You Are What You Decide"

Sean Brady – Author of “You Are What You Decide”

Why buy it? In Mr. Brady’s words:

This book is about how to improve deliberate, high-stakes decision-making.

Who doesn’t need help making decisions?

Here’s my “Quick Hits”:

  • The book was a quick read. You could knock it off in an afternoon.
  • The “8 Keys” are easy to understand and apply.
  • It is an entry-level book on decision-making, but extremely useful.
  • This book is serving as a launchpad for my continued study of the art of decision making.

It’s short. It’s simple. But it’s helpful.

I found myself quoting the concepts in meetings at work the week after I read it. And maybe more importantly, the concepts continue to resurface in my mind as I navigate personal and professional decisions.

Pick up a copy for yourself. Heck, I recommend picking up a copy for each of your teammates at work.

If we make better decisions, our lives will be enriched. After all, “You are what you decide.”


3 Books I'm Reading Now - Joe Wickman

3 Books I’m Reading Now – Joe Wickman

I love to read books. I love to buy books. I love to share books.

I’m constantly grabbing the next resource I can apply to my life, and then recommending them to people I love. But it never occurred to me to share what I’m reading until just the other day.

Here’s 3 books I’ve got my thumb in now. Hope you enjoy.

My Bible

ESV Single Column Journaling Bible (Black)

Merry Christmas to me! This thoughtful gift from my wife marks a new setup for my personal daily devotions. For years I have used my favorite Bible App for my daily reading. This year I’m switching it up. Instead of doing a Bible-in-a-year plan, I’m taking my time to read and study slowly through less Scripture more intensely.

The wide, lined margins are perfect for note-taking. The single column of text allows you to annotate easily. It also lays open nicely, and just feels good in the hand. It’s the first book I look at in the morning. It’s a great tool, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

Buy it if:  You’d really like to jot notes in the margins of your Bible as you study and pray your way through God’s Word.


My Book About the Bible

The Gospel of John: Introduction, Exposition, Notes

The Gospel of John is my favorite book of the Bible. And F.F. Bruce’s explanation of it is absolutely illuminating. He draws on his deep and thorough understanding of the original language to open up understanding of the English translations in a way that causes me to lean in daily for fresh “aha” moments. Written in plain english, an everyday student of The Word, such as myself, can understand it without having studied Greek. That said, I am daily looking up words. It’s worth it.

Bruce’s exposition of the text is changing my life, opening up the meaning of John’s gospel in ways I never understood.

Buy it if:  You’d like to go beyond simply reading the Gospel of John and dive in head-first.

Give it to:  The serious Bible student or pastor.


My Book About Jesus, Religion and Real Christianity

Jesus > Religion: Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough

I’ve been looking forward to diving into this book since I first heard of Jefferson Bethke.

This YouTube video was his debut to the world. Approaching 27,000,000 views, people around the world have shared it.


The book did not disappoint. Up front he admits he’s not a pastor or an academic. He doesn’t intend Jesus > Religion to be a scholarly work. Instead, it’s a gritty, no-nonsense look at the difference between sterile religion and real, life-giving relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Buy it if:  You’d like to let go of “trying harder, doing more and being good enough” and grab ahold of what God intended for you, grace.

Give it to:  Skeptics, non-believers, new believers, and anyone who wants fresh air to blow out the dusty remnants of religion from their hearts.


If you click through one of these links to Amazon and buy a book, I’ll get a few cents. Thanks!

I would never recommend something I wouldn’t pick up and use myself.

"A Praying Life" by Paul E. Miller

“A Praying Life” by Paul E. Miller

I just started reading, “A Praying Life” by Paul E. Miller.

It was recommended by a trusted mentor, so I’ve been looking forward to diving in. If the introduction and the first two chapters are any indication, I’m going to be recommending this book to a lot of friends.

Here’s a quote from chapter two that blew me away:

We keep forgetting God is a person. We don’t learn to love someone without it changing us. That is just the nature of love that reflects the heart of God. Because God’s love is unchanging, the second person of the Trinity, Jesus of Nazareth, now has a scarred body. The Trinity is different because of love.


“God is a person.”

Not a human, like me and you. But He is a being. He is not an idea. He is not a concept. He is a person. You can’t have a relationship with an idea. But a person you can know, and you can be known by them.

“The Trinity is different because of love.”

Are you kidding me?

This profound thought penetrated my heart and mind in an instant. If there’s anything I think of when I think of God it is, “unchanging”. The theological term for it is “immutability”. Yet this God, whose character is unchanging, subjected Himself to physical change on the behalf of those he loved.

God. Changed. His love drove Him to take on the punishment that was due to me. He opened Himself up, took the blows, died and was raised. For me.

Nice opening salvo, Mr. Miller. I look forward to tracking through the rest of the book.

Want to read along? Drop the $10 and grab a copy of the book yourself. Buy it here. (I do not get a cut.)

Read Quotes from Paul Miller’s “A Praying Life”, and other great prayer resources, here:

I just asked my 10 year-old, “Who was Saint Patrick?”

Saint Patrick's Cross

Saint Patrick’s Cross

Her reply? “Umm…” Shuffling awkwardly, eyes darting for an answer.

“Ok,” I followed up, “why do we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day?”

“Umm… because… he was the first Irish man to come to America??”


Most people have no idea why Patrick’s life was worth celebrating. For the record, he wasn’t the Lucky Charms leprechaun. He was a passionate priest who revolutionized the spiritual landscape of a pagan land.

Did you know…?

  • Saint Patrick wasn’t Irish. He was a Briton from an aristocratic family in NE England.
  • He was was abducted and enslaved in Ireland by the Celts, a brutal tribal people.
  • After 6 years of enslavement he was able to make a daring escape aboard a boat sailing back to England.
  • At age 48, God called him back to Ireland to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the pagan tribes who had enslaved him.
  • Patrick and his band of missionaries set up Christian communities that welcomed pagans, loved them, included them.
  • They spoke the same Gospel they always had, but transformed their methods to open the eyes of a pagan culture.
  • Under his ministry, 700 churches were planted, 1,000 priests were ordained, and 30-40 of Ireland’s 150 pagan tribes became substantially Christian.
  • He also became the first public person to speak out against slavery, which effectively ended in Ireland in his lifetime.

The Roman church considered the Celts barbarians, impossible to evangelize. Patrick’s knowledge of their culture, gained by his years in slavery, told him otherwise. The pain of slavery and separation from home, family and life as he knew it was the one thing that God ended up using to turn the world upside down.

Saint Patrick’s life wasn’t about green beer, shamrocks or driving snakes out of Ireland. It was about bringing the hope of Jesus Christ to others by living out Christianity among them. This is the kind of true story that changes the world. This is the kind of story I want to live. This is worth celebrating.

You can read all about Saint Patrick, his heart and his life in George Hunter’s “The Celtic Way of Evangelism“. It’s a fantastic read.

I’ll allow this prayer of Saint Patrick summarize the focus of His life:

…Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ in breadth, Christ in length, Christ in height, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.