That was my instant reaction upon spotting in my garage the largest female black widow I’d ever seen, perhaps two inches long from tip to tip. At the time, my wife and I were loading up our girls into our Honda Civic, while the spider rested on a web that hung between the car bumper and some boxes along the wall.
IT’S UP TO ME TO KILL HER.
The unmistakable red hourglass on her underbelly confirmed that, as a father, I now had a mission, should I choose to accept it – to protect my family from this poisonous critter and the hundreds of spiderlings she could produce. For a moment, though, I hesitated. Even though I’m the designated bugwhacker in our family, I still feel squeamish about squishing bugs. (I actually prefer catch-and-release, as in catch inside and release outside.) But the thought of one of my girls getting bitten by a black widow while retrieving a trike or ball greatly clarified my situation…
IT’S UP TO ME TO DO IT … BECAUSE I’M THEIR DAD.
This is one of the things I signed up for when I became a dad – to ensure as much as possible my kids’ safety. In short order, armed with one of the aforementioned boxes, I completed my mission, evicting the spider from our home with deadly force.
This same protective instinct adds fuel to my drive to be as present for – and actively involved with – my girls as I can. There are many crappy things in the world that they’ll be exposed to as they grow up, including something we often discuss on this website, the cultural pressures to look or act a certain way. Let’s call these crappy things life’s metaphorical black widows. For my part, I’m determined to help my daughters develop, by God’s grace, a healthy emotional and spiritual core so they’ll be better equipped to deal with them.
LIFE’S BLACK WIDOWS…
Dads have a special opportunity to help their daughters deal with not just the icky-creepy bugs that drop in uninvited, but also with life’s black widows. It’s widely accepted in the professional community that dads play a unique, powerful role in developing a girl’s self-image as she grows up. His attentive care for her physical, emotional, and spiritual needs helps to prepare her for a lifetime of dealing with life’s crappy things in a wiser, healthier way. Conversely, his lack of nurture for her leaves her more vulnerable. My co-blogger here at Fb, Dr. Michelle Watson, beautifully articulates this when she talks about her work through The Abba Project:
“I want to assist dads to more effectively, intentionally, consistently, emotionally, and verbally connect with their daughters just like they connected with them on the day they were born! I believe this can be a solution that could decrease teen pregnancy … alcohol and drug use … eating disorders … all because girls are getting the need met deep inside herself that longs for unconditional love because she is being nurtured and validated by her dad.”
God gives us fathers a mission – to take advantage of the awesome opportunity we uniquely have as dads to prep our daughters for life’s black widows. Is it one that you accept?