Insight for Girl Dads: Help Her See Her True Value

Jay PayleitnerBy Jay Payleitner9 Minutes

Excerpt taken from Girl Dad: A Father-Daughter Duo Discuss Truths that Impact a Girl’s Heart, Mind, and Spirit by Jay Payleitner & Rae Anne Payleitner


Your daughter doesn’t know how wonderful she is. As stated above, your words have the power to make her feel a little more confident, a little more cherished. But even a wellspoken father delivering all the wisdom of the world cannot convey the true value of a girl, her life, and her very soul.

You see, the true value of a person has no price tag. The true value of your daughter cannot be found on this planet. She is worth far more than all the gold, diamonds, and rubies in the world. Clearly stated, your daughter is worth Jesus.

If that idea comes as a surprise, allow me to explain. To describe what Jesus did on the cross, theologians sometimes use the phrase “substitutionary atonement.” Those two words summarize the heart of the Gospel: We’ve all sinned, and the punishment for those sins is our responsibility, but with His death on the cross, Jesus paid that price for each of us as individuals. Including your daughter.

Three passages from the Bible make it clear.

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4–5)

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)

This is critical for your daughter to understand. Jesus loved us so much that He took on the separation from God and eternal death that we deserve. Another term painting a picture of what happened on the cross is “The Great Exchange.” For each of us as individuals, our inferior self is replaced by a new righteousness. The “old me” was nailed up on that cross and exchanged for a “new person.”

Perhaps your most important job as her father is to help your daughter understand and accept that free gift of grace. To see that she is worth Jesus. For her to look in the mirror and see the resurrected Christ—beautiful and worthy.

Insight for Girl Dads: Help Her Find Greatness

I pretty much hate the term “self-esteem” because of the many middle school courses that propose to teach kids that everything they think or do is the most wonderful thing ever thought or done. In those silly classes with the silly names, young teens are taught to “be true to yourself.” And to “search your heart and just do what you think is best.”

How does that sound to you? Do you want to live in a world in which teens follow their own undisciplined whims and wishes? That would be chaos. Young people need to know that absolute truth exists beyond their own opinions, their own desires, and their own little world. They need to know there is a moral certainty.

Self-esteem cannot come from within. But self-esteem can come from putting God first. Scripture is filled with confirmation that life is not about finding yourself. It’s about finding God’s plan for your life, identifying your gifts, and committing to use those gifts to give glory back to Him.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. (Proverbs 16:3)

Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:24–25)

Earlier chapters—about your daughter’s hopes and dreams, extracurricular activities, and relationships—laid the groundwork for this all-important revelation. It’s not about her. It’s not about you. Greatness comes when we realize that “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30 NASB). That’s how and when a young girl will appropriately feel confident, brilliant, and beautiful.

Rae Anne’s Reality Check

Just as I made my father write the chapter on brokenness, he insisted on including this chapter concerning self-image over my initial concerns. Originally it was going to focus solely on body image, and we compromised to include the idea that self-image is also tied to self-confidence, finding your purpose, and seeing your value as a follower of Christ.

My inclination to avoid the topic of self-image was in no way because I believe that body image is not a crucial part of a young woman’s identity, quite the contrary. I simply did not believe that there is anything a father can do. But as I quarreled with my own dad about this chapter, I realized there are things a father shouldn’t do, which are maybe just as important. You, as her father, have more influence in this area than you can possibly understand. She will take your every word and every tone and store them away in her heart and mind. Your amazing power can be used for destruction or empowerment.

You know how a romantic partner will take an innocent or inadvertent word as an insult, leaving you in the proverbial doghouse? Increase that impact exponentially, and you will barely begin to understand the weight of your words in your young daughter’s ears. Evaluate everything you say before you say it. It does not matter what you intended to say; it only matters how it is received.

There are so many voices speaking hateful and judgmental words into your daughter’s life, including the media, her classmates, and most powerfully her own inner voice. She knows every one of her flaws, ones you cannot even begin to guess. What she desperately needs you to be is silent on the matter. Silent—not positive. If your daughter is not beautiful, she knows she is not beautiful, so don’t lie to her. If your daughter is not smart, she knows she is not smart, so don’t lie to her. Instead speak truths. Compliment her actual traits, make her feel strong in the things she is good at and the strengths she has. Physical beauty is only one aspect of a woman. It is your job to give things like intelligence, kindness, humor, faith, and honesty equal footing in her mind. You cannot empower her with falsehoods that she knows are lies. But you can empower her with honest compliments that instill confidence in her whole sense of self.

Order your copy of Girl Dad: A Father-Daughter Due Discuss Truths that Impact a Girl’s Heart, Mind, and Spirit by Jay Payleitner & Rae Anne Payleitner