by Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield

Since this is Thanksgiving week, I figured it was a fitting time to let you, dads, hear from my heart about what I really think about you!

Having walked alongside girls and young women now for the past 40+ years, I can undoubtedly say that a father is one of, if not the most important person in his daughter’s life. She sees herself in the reflection of her dad and she will internalize his view of her.

For a son it’s much the same. A father has the power to reinforce the core strength of his son by building his self-confidence throughout his lifespan. As we all know, we’re never too old to still need our dad’s validation.

Yes, moms are essential and necessary and important on more levels than I can count, but every mom I know will support me in saying that her dad was vital to her core sense of identity. He helped shape her self-esteem and self-worth, and the foundation that her dad laid (or didn’t lay) has impacted how she still views herself today.

Now back to you as dads.

I want you to know what I really think and believe about you. Plain and clear. Straight to the point. I promise to tell you my truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!

And if your daughter or son doesn’t quite know how to tell you the things she or he appreciates about you, I’m taking the liberty to do it for them.

Here are ten reasons why you, dad, really make a difference and why I’m really thankful for you today:

  1. You’re the one whose opinion matters most.
  2. Your attention communicates more per square inch than you can imagine.
  3. When you show up, it carries more relational points than almost anyone else.
  4. When you provide for their needs, they settle into knowing they’ll be okay.
  5. Your time spent with them shouts that they really do have value.
  6. Your smile tells them they’re loved and special.
  7. You make their day when you affirm them and respond positively.
  8. Your support makes them believe they can do anything as long as you’re there.
  9. When you’re proud of them, they thrive in doing anything to ensure that you are.
  10. When you’re around, they feel safe.

So just in case you ever think that your presence in your children’s life is insignificant or is less than essential, please trust me when I say that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

I am truly thankful for each of you and want to cheer you on today by declaring that you are literally changing the core of our culture from the ground up by being intentional and consistent in pursuit of your children’s hearts and lives!

To sum it up, I simply say, “Thanks dads.”


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 drmichellewatson.com 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.

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