According to my four-year-old granddaughter, Lexie, today is National Picnic Day. This means that the cook at her pre-school gets to enjoy a mini break, at least for lunch service. Lexie proudly showed me the brown lunch bag her daddy, an artist, had decorated for her, which included a brightly illustrated kitty, flowers, leaves and balloons, the kind of lunch bag that would delight a little girl, the kind of simple act that causes a little girl to proclaim “You are the best daddy in the world!”
On the other side of the bag, written in bold black lettering, were the words “Daddy loves you!” It only takes a moment to write a simple sentence, but words are powerful. They can be used to hurt or heal, and they can last a lifetime.
My son-in-law, Kevin, tells me he is sometimes nervous when he thinks of raising a female child. He doesn’t want some shiftless man to come along and hurt her, but as I reflected on the personalized lunch bag, I knew that he doesn’t have to worry about that. Girls with daddy hunger are usually the ones that fall prey to bad boy charms. Girls who have not been affirmed by their fathers are often willing to trade their bodies for a compliment, a hug or a loving word, even if it is counterfit and dripping deceit . Lexie is secure in the love of he daddy every day. She is an obedient, compliant child, but she’s not afraid to speak her mind or ask questions. She has a strong sense of who she is, which is, as we all know, “the cat’s pajamas.”
I didn’t get that from my father, and I’m far from alone. There is a huge difference in those whose daddy’s eyes lit up when they see them and the ones with daddies who turned their gaze away. I am so grateful for the light in Kevin’s eyes when he looks at his daughter. I think it will be very hard for a man to come along and convince her that she is anything less than amazing or deserves poor treatment. Lexie is well aware how fabulous she is, a truth that has been planted, watered and lovingly nurtured on a daily basis.
Every day is an opportunity to withhold or show love. Today a little girl went to school with a lunch bag that proclaimed her father’s love….a humble brown bag that is more valuable than a priceless container full of jewels, a bag that shines like purest gold, because love transforms everything it touches.