It is a widely known truth that the vast majority of men and women communicate differently. The same is true for dads and daughters.
Dads, your daughter cares about the details and she wants you to care about them as well. Asking about her day is a great place to start. If she responds with a “good,” “fine,” “great,” “okay,” or any other infamous one-word answer, don’t just settle for it. Ask about the details—specific classes, friends, projects she’s been working on, tests she’s been preparing for.
The other day, I was talking with a teen girl who shared about her dad asking her about details of her day. It meant the world to her. He didn’t just ask, “How was your day?” He asked about the Spanish test she had been nervous about. In her words, “That totally made my day.” Details and follow-up matter.
Start committing specific things she shares to memory. Then in the next conversation, ask about it. Do some follow-up. This communicates how much you value her words and her life experiences. Remembering and following up lays groundwork for her to share deeper thoughts, experiences, dreams, fears, goals, and doubts she will walk through in the days ahead.
You can show her that you are trustworthy and able to handle all of her stuff—the good, the bad, the ugly, and the crazy—by not forgetting or just blowing her off. As crazy or insignificant as some details might seem to you, they might just mean the world to her in that moment. Don’t miss out on them. Don’t discount them.
Hear her heart and respond with compassion. Forgetting does not show compassion. Making light of them does not show compassion. Being gentle, kind, and thoughtful shows compassion.
Dads, you have a lot going on. Your role to lead, love, and provide for your family requires tons of time and energy. Hearing the details of your daughter’s life and following up is a worthwhile thing to save a little mental capacity for. It might just have a huge impact on your relationship with your daughter.
Keep in mind that the small things lead to bigger things. If your relationship does not include mundane details of the everyday, there is a far less possibility that it will include the monumental. The everyday details matter. They allow space for you to lead her in navigating daily life as a believer. They also set the groundwork for the major life-changing experiences that might be looming around Commit to listening. Follow-up on the details. Care about the things she cares about, however small they might seem.