All About the Feet: Entering Your Daughter’s World

by Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield

We’ve heard it said that good things happen when you’re in the right place at the right time. On one day recently, I was definitely in the right place at the right time to witness an inaugural event for one brave dad!

There I was in a room full of women, seated with my hands positioned on the counter as my stylist was polishing my fingernails for a manicure. That’s when a man came walking through the front door and made this announcement:

“This is my first time … and I’m scared!”

It was hilarious to hear him admit his legitimate terror of the great unknown that lay ahead of him that day. But, to his credit, he was there.

I was instantly intrigued that a guy would openly admit his fear, so I just had to eavesdrop on his conversation throughout the process, convinced there was more to the story. I found myself thinking that he probably had faced much bigger and much scarier obstacles than this, but gave him props for facing his fears head on today.

As I got up to leave, I felt compelled to walk over and applaud him for his heroism. I asked if the girl with him was his daughter, which led to hearing Brian explain that he was there with his daughter Kennedy to celebrate her 13th birthday.

After praising him for showing up in a big way that she’ll likely never forget, I asked to take their picture while sharing that I wish there were more dads like him who would enter their daughter’s world at any cost to themselves. I’m sure the last thing he expected was to have his entrance into a nail salon result in being commended for his feat of strength and courageous commitment to his daughter!

I told him that I wanted to blog about their story and send him my book so they could do dad-daughter dates with more intention to kick off Kennedy’s teenage years. We became instant friends.

As I drove away, I thought about the powerful impact this dad had made in his daughter’s life that day simply by exposing his fears … and his feet.

For the majority of men, it takes a lot to reveal real emotionas well as their toes—in public.

There’s just one word for this kind of love in action: vulnerability.

On the way home I considered how someone else expressed vulnerability. And wouldn’t you know it, it too was all about the feet.

When Jesus washed each of his twelve disciple’s feet, he modeled humility by serving them that day. Brian did something similar to express his love to Kennedy by humbling himself as his feet were washed by a stranger, all as an act of love and service to his daughter.

Dad, how can you enter your daughter’s world today by doing something that may be uncomfortable, requiring humility and vulnerability?

Trust me, if you’re willing to walk a mile in your daughter’s shoes, the path just might lead you into a nail salon!

Read more of Michelle’s articles here.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield is a licensed professional counselor in Portland, Oregon, founder of The Abba Project, a 9-month group forum for dads of daughters (ages 13 to 30), and author of Let’s Talk: Conversation Starters for Dads and Daughters and Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart (both available on Amazon and Audible). She also hosts a weekly radio program in Portland called “The Dad Whisperer,” which you can access as a podcast on her website and on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play Music. Visit for more information and to sign up for her weekly Dad-Daughter Friday blogs. You can also follow or send feedback on Facebook and Twitter.

Action Points & Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  • How have you stretched or tried something new (and possibly uncomfortable) to enter your daughter’s world?
  • What about your son? Have you adjusted your approach in some ways to better relate to him?
  • Do something unexpected and special to show your daughter what she means to you. (And it’s OK to ask her what she wants to do.)
  • What would “courageous commitment” look like in your situation as a dad right now?
  • When you see dads doing things right with their kids, affirm them in some way.

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There may be no more important work than turning the hearts of fathers to their children, and that’s what this is all about. We’re seeking to repair, rebuild and restore effective fathering for the benefit of children and families everywhere.