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The Father’s Voice June 20, 2006

Posted by fajita in family, Family Science, Fathers, Parenting.

There is power in a father's voice. Power? Is that the right word? Maybe it is. Depth, meaning, richness, influence. I'm not sure where I am going with this, but I am using the word power to make my point.

I've been getting my daughter up in the mornings. A little back rub, soft tones and a little, "Hey sweetie, it's morning time. It's get up time."

Sierra turns, sometimes pulling her pillow over her head.

"Do you need one more minute or two minutes?"

Ah, the illusion of choice. She always chooses two minutes. She has been known to negotiate four minutes at times, but rarely.  

I come back ten minutes later and then she is ready to get up.

Well, one morning I was in a bit of a hurry and didn't give her the minutes and didn't rub her back and didn't use the soft tones.

"Sierra, time to get up, come on, it's morning and we need to get moving."

I was a bit abrupt, but not mean or mad or anything.

Well, she got up and went about her day and I went about mine. That night whe I was tucking her in and saying prayers, she says, "Dad, can I ask you a question?"

"Of course, punkin."

"Why did you use your stern voice this morning?"

"Well, I was in a hurry."

"I thought you were mad at me all day."

That is the point where my heart sank. My daughter thought I was mad at her for an entire day. I wasn't mad, not in the least. However, I had set up an expectation and then violated that expectation. It was my voice that she was responding to more than anything else.

I made sure she knew that I was not made at her, that she was not in trouble, and that she did nothing wrong. I apologized.

This exchange taught me the power of my voice in my daughter's life.  I broke it down like this:

Words: The actual vocabulary matters when talking to a child. It's not about not cussing; it is about affirming words.

Tone: Words are lost in tone. Kind words in a rough tone have little meaning. In fact, it's worse than saying nothing because the nice words with a rough tone is a mixed message? Does daddy like me or doesn't her?

Expectation: Words and tones consistently used to build expectation are powerful. When we did our routine every morning, she came to expect it and actually count on it. When we did the routine, she knew everything was OK between us. When we broke the routine, it shook her confidence.

Father's your voice matters. Mother's your voice matters, too, of course. But today was a message for fathers.   



1. Jeanna (Beaner) - June 21, 2006

The Father’s voice SPOKE & the world was formed. Yes, there IS power in the voice – God made it so! Jesus spoke healing, we are to speak our belief, and denounce the devil. The voice matters. Good reminder!

2. Steph - June 21, 2006

Thank you for this! As a young woman whose father meant well, but was of the “authortative/dictator” type of parent, but who would then get up and preach words of love to the church on Sundays, I can VERY much testify that you are DEAD ON with this.
I’m so thankful to hear that there are other young girls out there who are getting the affermation they so desperately need, may that save them from going down some of the destructive paths adn choices that I’ve been down. Thank you for the blessing that this blog is and your openness to being transparent to bless the lives of others!

3. fajita - June 21, 2006

Beaner & Step, thanks for the comments. As a therapist, I see lots of people, at all ages, who had terrible experiences with their fathers. It saddens me and do what I can for them. Some of them just can’t get their father’s voice out of their head -criticsm, decption, doulbe messeges, etc. It’s sad, mostly because a father’s voice was meant to stay in their heads. But it was supposed ot be something they wanted to be in hteir head.

4. JGS - July 13, 2006

Great post. I fully believe parents – but especially us fathers – don’t truly understand the Power of Parents. We have a lot more power and influence on our children than we really realize. This power can be both used for good and for evil, sadly. Obviously, you know how to use your power for good. Not only has this morning ritual worked for you (and her), but she felt comfortable enough with you to ask you about – the kind of open and inviting relationship many children don’t have with their fathers.

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