Sunday, July 20, 2014

Be the Dad She Needs You to Be: The Indelible Imprint a Father leaves on His Daughter’s Life. by K. Leman

Dr. Leman writes a primer for every father who desires to be the best dad for his daughter.  Dr. Leman’s audience, however, also includes daughters and their mothers, which is a creative way to include more people in his message.  The book’s message, therefore, is geared toward love.  How do we as fathers love our daughters beyond our own broken, stubborn instincts and abilities?  Although indirectly, the author implies that fathers must tap into humility, service, love, and self-sacrifice.  Every illustration and example throughout the book points toward loving our daughters more than ourselves, advice all dads need to emulate, myself included.
Be the Dad She Needs You to Be presents an engaging voice and real-life point-of-view. In a conversational, straightforward manner, the author relates what life is like for many dads who struggle with fatherhood, especially with daughters. Dr. Leman’s tone is conversational and his illustrations are drawn from his own family examples, for he extensively draws on experiences of being a father of four daughters with a wide age range. Dr. Leman’s illustrations work and are so clear that you actually get to know his daughters in the context of the book.   Additionally, the author draws on a wealth of outside examples of people he knows through his years as a psychologist. Throughout the book, however, he relies on the concept of birth order as related to individual personality, which may not apply in some family situations.
Disappointingly, there are not many references to the author’s faith life or topics that engage the reader's faith.  In chapter five on explaining sex, Dr. Leman explains the necessary approach to overcoming father’s unease.  He delves, moreover, into the importance of faith in explaining the purpose of sex and gives a reference to the Book of Genesis and the one-flesh relationship of marriage. This is one of the few sections of the book where Leman discusses that he “is a man of faith.”  Since this book is published by a Thomas Nelson publishing, I would have appreciated a more prominent discussion of faith weaved throughout.  The book falls short in this area, however.
Leman's book is well structured and organized with each chapter focusing on how fathers can grow in a specific parental area.  The chapters begin with an introduction of each concept such as being a peacemaker among fighting females, talking about "the birds and the bees," and encouraging your daughter to do her best in life.  After the author introduces the idea, he fills out the rest of the chapter with personal stories and anecdotes both from his family and clients.  The chapters end with a synopsis of ideas gleaned from the chapter; they remind the reader of key takeaways and are usually humorously worded.
Dr. Leman weaves humor through his book.  This not only adds to the personal tone of the writing but keeps the reader engaged and laughing at key times throughout. Laughter always brings me back for more, and I would recommend this book to any father who loves his daughter and wants to be better for her.  Although some illustrations throughout the book are repetitive, there are many fatherly lessons, some more obvious than others, found throughout this book.

* The publisher provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.