A movie called Where Hope Grows is about a former major league baseball player and struggling alcoholic named Calvin. He is a single father of a teenage daughter. His daughter, Katie, is consistently disappointed with him because he is more concerned with drinking with his buddies than being there for her. This causes her to turn to her boyfriend for the support she is missing in her dad. Even in his negligence, Calvin sees that the boy his daughter is dating is bad news. When he tries to warn her, even forbid her from seeing him, his words fall on deaf ears. It was a great reminder that if I am not lovingly consistent, faithful, and present, my words to my daughter will suffer the same fate.
Several weeks ago, my wife sent me a video text of my daughter. She was wearing a wedding veil and bouquet. She said, “Hello Daddy, welcome to my future.” After I got over the initial heart attack, I thought about her relationships with boys. I want to prepare her the best I can. The greater I model the right things to her, the deeper my words will sink into her heart. I want her to be in relationships with boys that treat her well. She needs to be prepared on how to spot the character qualities of these types of boys. With that said, here are my words of wisdom to my daughter about boys.
Watch how he treats his siblings.
Sibling relationships bring out a person’s true colors. They are forced to relate to one another and the different personalities. They’ve been with one another long enough to grow tired of one another. How does he treat them? Is he kind to them overall? You will be able to see clearly his level of patience, grace, and how he handles conflict. The manner in which someone treats their siblings can be a good indicator of how they treat long-term relationships.
Pay attention to his company.
The people we surround ourselves with influence our attitudes. When we spend time with positive people, we are more positive. If we are around negativity, we are more negative. Does he spend time with boys that treat girls with honor or respect? Are they the types of friends that will help make him sharper and more decent? Will they challenge him when he is in the wrong or making bad decisions? If not, move on.
Listen to how he speaks about others, particularly those in authority.
Whatever is most true about a person eventually comes to the surface, mainly through our words. Is he respectful with his words? Does he talk down to people or behind their back? How does he speak about those in authority? You can get an idea if he is humble or arrogant, thoughtful or brash. When he spends time dismissing the authorities in his life, it could be a sign that he is closed off to the advice of others. This will inhibit his growth. If his words have a sting to them, there is probably bitterness and anger that hasn’t been dealt with. All are signs of potential relational difficulty.
Listen to how others speak of him.
Reputations are normally built from the consistent actions of one’s past. They don’t always convey the true story and a person can certainly change. However, if a boy has a negative reputation, proceed with caution. Be on the lookout for those things. The reverse is also true. A person with a good community standing may have earned it or could be just putting on a good face. The good words of others is a piece of the puzzle to help you get an accurate picture. Don’t let it replace your own judgment.
Observe his self-discipline.
A person that shows up on time, completes his work with excellence, and is willing to delay gratification is a person with faithfulness and integrity. Does he take care of his responsibilities? How often does he follow-through on his word? This shows his inner strength and whether or not he can be counted on. When difficulty shows its face, you want someone steadfast next to you, not a straw man.
These may be high expectations, particularly for developing boys and young men. However, I’m talking about my daughter and I will always set a high standard to be met for the boys that want to be with her. If I do my job in preparing her well, my hope is that she will too.
What boy advice will you pass down to your daughter?