After 35 years of ministry to young girls, Psychologist Dr. Michelle Watson has summarized her experiences in a new book and is putting those experiences with young girls in to action.
“I often say to dads that ‘every hero has to take action ,’” Watson stated during her recent visit to Austin Hill In The Morning. “Your daughter needs you to be a hero in her life, and that means that you have to take action.”
Watson is the author of a new book, “Dad, Here’s What I Really Need From You” (Harvest House: 2014). She also leads The Abba Project, a men’s movement wherein fathers gather to learn about the needs of their daughters.
“I started this project because I believe in the transforming power of a dad’s love and attention to his daughter’s life” Watson states on her website. “I am committed to helping equip dads like you to relate in greater ways with your daughters.”
While Watson’s very biblical ideas about the importance fathers is out of step with contemporary feminist thought (as well as other current-day ideologies), she says that scriptural ideas that she articulates are nonetheless consistent with the findings of psychological research.
“There is overwhelming research demonstrating that when a Dad speaks words in to his daughter’s heart, she internalizes it” she stated. “What is she hearing about her body image, about God, about her mom? Dad’s need to be proactive at speaking words of truth to their daughters, because when they do this it makes a tremendous and positive impact.”
Watson says that the Abba Project (the word “abba” comes from the Aramaic language and is used by Jesus and the Apostle Paul in the New Testament to describe God as a “father”) has flourished in her hometown region of Portland, Oregon, simply on a word-of-mouth basis.
“We’ve done no marketing or advertising for the groups” she says. “Dads invite other dads, and the groups continue to grow. I tell dads, if you can think of ways to build up your daughter five times a day, you’ll see her begin to open up like a flower, and you will transform your relationship with her. I have had some dads tell me that, because of the tools they have picked up in our groups, they have become better fathers to their sons, better husbands to their wives, and a better leader workers in their workplaces.”