Episode 278 Transcript (Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield)

Episode 278 (Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield)

Podcast Intro: [00:00:01] Being a great father takes a massive amount of courage. Instead of being an amazing leader and a decent dad, I want to be an amazing dad and a decent leader. The oldest dad in the world gave you this assignment, which means you must be ready for it. As a dad, I get on my knees and I fight for my kids. Let us be those dads who stop the generational pass down of trauma. I want encounters with God where He teaches me what to do with my kids. I know I’m going to be an awesome dad because I’m gonna give it my all.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:00:39] Gentlemen, welcome back to dadAWESOME. Today, Episode 278, is the third installment of Mom Month. So we’ve done this a couple of times in the past where I interview women, moms and I say, What can you tell us? How can we learn and have our perspective shifted in a great way? And actually, last week’s conversation, episode 277, was part was the first half of the conversation with Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield and this is the second half of that conversation. So hit pause, now, if you missed episode 277, jump back and listen to last week’s. We’re going to jump right into the conversation on the topic of one on one’s dad daughter dates. We’re talking specifically about dads and daughters for this part, but it applies to dads with sons as well. It’s the one on one time. It’s the specific notes and writing specific things of affirmation and going after topics that are maybe not the easy natural topics, but it’s so important for dads to take leadership here. So let’s jump right back in. This is about 25 more minutes of my conversation with Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:01:51] Dad’s, it’s different one on one then even two daughters at a time. Make sure you have one on one time. Because so many dads say, Oh my goodness, the teenage years, I’m dreading those. You know, and I think about the more you build a foundation earlier, then you’re drawing on that deposit when it gets harder for her or she wants more peer relationships. And I think about a friend of mine, Alan Smith, that was a 25 year, you know, young life leader, and he’s driving one weekend to a retreat and he has a whole van of senior in high school girls. His daughter was four at the time and he heard them talking about their dads and he’s like, this is horrible. So he literally uses them as his, you know, posse of wisdom and says, okay, you guys, what can you tell me? Because I don’t want my daughter talking about me like you’re talking about your dad’s when she’s your age. What do I need to know? He said, collectively, this is what they said.. Do you want to hear?

Jeff Zaugg: [00:02:50] Yeah, please.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:02:52] They said when we push our dads away, we wish he wouldn’t leave. So, Dad, if you’re in a hard place with your daughter where every message she’s giving you is, Get out of my life, get away. I would say put your love in writing because she may not be able to handle close to close, close face to face, intimate or there’s dynamics in where you live in different places and she’s busy or sometimes she’s getting messages from another source that aren’t so positive about you that hurts your underbelly. I’ve always found men are much softer on their underbelly than they’d ever admit, but you can get to me. Yeah, we’ll whisper about that. But really, at the end of the day, if you’re a dad who’s in a really tough place with your daughter, take the wisdom of those girls to heart. Even if your daughter is pushing you away. I mean, think about in sports, she doesn’t want you to leave, because in sports you’ve got to work, I mean, aren’t you for the game, in the gym, lifting weights, going I’ve got to get stronger to push resistance so that I build muscle.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:03:58] Yeah.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:03:59] Why wouldn’t that same principle apply to relationships? Of course it does. So, Dad, thinking strategically that way is, Oh, she’s building muscles as she pushes against me. So if I just leave there’s no more working that out and finding another way in. Here’s another practical way that if you’re a dad who’s estranged from your daughter and you’re listening to say, here’s my idea for you. Get a notebook of some sort, I mean, it could be a three way spiral, but a better way is I want you to go to Amazon or to some search engine or to Barnes Noble, you know, there are very many bookstores anymore where you can go actually. Hold a journal in your hands that looks like your daughter. Color, design and begin to write things in there and date them. Wishes, prayers, memories, things you wish you could tell her right now that you saw or experienced, a trip you took as if she was right there in the room with you. And you begin to write this out, in your handwriting, not typed, written out, draw funny pictures, put take a photo, put it in there. Because what that will do is keep your heart, we’re talking heart connection, you’ll keep your heart open to her and I believe it will keep you ready for the day, when, hopefully not if, God opens the door again and you get to prove to her, in real time, in case you ever were told or believed, I had no thought of you during these years where I didn’t have contact with you or you were being told other things. Here’s my gift to you. It’s like a time capsule that you wanted to give your daughter for later on. And I believe right now I really sense in my spirit some men listening need to hear that exact idea to put it into action right now.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:05:52] I’m even, like, envisioning a walled city in like like it’s closed off, you can’t get in, right. But are we the kind of dads who are like, eh we’ll check this angle, we’ll check this angle, hey, we’ll check your… With, with gentleness, with whispering, not with forcefulness, right. Like you’re in your your creative ideas, like basically full on it’s a retreat with your presence because you can’t be in proximity but you’re you’re still daily or weekly journaling and and then when you come back, you got all this like, love capsuled up.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:06:22] Yeah. And most men have said to me, even my counseling clients, like, I’m not really all that into the journaling or writing. But that’s my point, men, it will stand out among the norm. Your daughter will know that you put extra effort, extra energy into that for her. And even on a more practical level, if you’re a dad that is saying, I’m not estranged from my daughter, like, I’m in her life. Dad, go get sticky notes and a dry erase marker and put notes on her mirror because the older she gets that mirror will become her enemy. It will point out every flaw, whereas men walk by going, mmhmm looking pretty good today, get to look my best. And we’re like hearing every negative message as we look in the mirror. So the power of your written word on her mirror, on the sticky note, or even just writing her little card. Your handwritten messages, in this time of technology, are things that that will not only last the test of time, but I can think of one dad with his 13 year old daughter, Olivia, where he’s like, okay, because month four in The Abba Project, I have them write cards to their daughters. And even on my website and the resources, I have ideas of what you can write in the letter. One of them being look at the meaning of her name and tell her how she embodies the meaning of her name.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:07:48] That’s so good.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:07:48] Write it down. Tell her what it was like the day she was born and you first looked at her. Run off a picture from when she was a certain age that melted your heart. Write on the actual picture a love message, put it in a room. But these are practical ways, Dad, that she’ll have something tangible to hold. And I can tell you, I have my cards from my dad that I’ve had for many years. He was a graphics guy in San Francisco before he became a pastor and so he just buys these programs like hallmark.com or something, I don’t even know what they are, where you can just plug in pictures and make a card that you print out that already has the words there. Put in the pictures and then she has a handmade card and it makes you the hero.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:08:33] Yeah.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:08:33] And I still save all of mine from my dad. If my if my house was ever on fire, I would grab them. They’re that special to me.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:08:41] Yes. Yes. 

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:08:42] I love them as much now as when he started doing them. So is this practical enough? Do you think, Jeff, can you tell that’s how I roll.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:08:49] Yes.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:08:49] We’re not talking theory, this is action. [00:08:52][2.9]

Jeff Zaugg: [00:08:53] Yes.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:08:55] Build your confidence. Build your confidence. This is how you become a hero.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:08:58] Yes. This is amazingly practical. I’m thinking through the lens of my four little girls right now. Just so solely thinking of my own girls and my my second oldest is just like, it feels like there’s less warmth right now or less desire to sit and spend time with me. And I guess I’d love to ask what, what would you suggest to get her to open up a little bit more or to get her to feel my love in there and know that my heart’s turning towards her? How would you, how would you coach me?

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:09:29] I love it. I love these curveballs. I love Q and A right in there with you because, you know, other dads are in the same place you are. Okay. We all know Gary Chapman’s work. In fact, I just had him on the Dad Whisperer podcast. Right. They came with the five love languages. So let me ask with your daughter, which of these five would you say is her primary love language? Words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, touch or gifts?

Jeff Zaugg: [00:09:56] Touch.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:09:58] Okay. What’s her secondary?

Jeff Zaugg: [00:10:02] I think quality time is her secondary.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:10:05] Okay. So that’s where you start. And second point is you ask Momma.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:10:12] Yeah. Yeah get…

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:10:14] Get clues, ideas of what she needs, because I find the better you can connect with her mom, and I found some men, if you don’t mind my being so bold, sometimes they’re a bit prideful or arrogant saying, I don’t need some woman telling me how to be a dad to my daughter. Like, I got I got this. If you can look at this is she’s actually helping cue, set you up to cue you to hit that ball out of the park. And she’s not, and I get that, I’m not saying all women have the right tone or the approach, but at the end of the day, if you ask her, tell me what I could do to be a better dad to number two, she’ll probably have some ideas. And if you’re not married, ask your sister, ask grandma, ask an aunt. Somebody in in the, you know, somehow in your living space for an idea. But anyway, back to your daughter. So touch and quality time. So sometimes depending on your daughter’s age, touch, you know you try different things you say, how does she do with holding hands while we pray? How does she do with a foot massage before bed? How does she do with, Hey, I’m gonna sit you on my lap or read your book, that’s quality time and touch. And if it is a phase or whatever, sometimes I wonder, if even if gifts aren’t her love language, is having something in between you that connects you. So is it you know that you do have a one on one dad daughter date and buy a doll or a stuffed animal that becomes something for her to to kind of have a representation of you and that you’re you’re touching that doll or that stuffed animal and handing it to her or we pray together, and it’s putting an image in her mind that this is connected to daddy. But I don’t know, you talk to me. What do, what do you finding reaches her heart?

Jeff Zaugg: [00:11:56] Yeah. I think I feel like she can kind of feel lost in the RV like crazy of all the and she’s not the loudest one to express her needs. So like I think she she just feels like she slips away or is less like open to connecting and or even her heart just feels a little bit like she’s less coming fully alive like the other three girls are. And and that’s where that makes me want to pursue her more, spend time with her, but I do think she still says yes to the daddy daughter dates. So I’m very grateful for that. At times I’m like, maybe I made the wrong choice to go do this activity with her or go, it feels like, well, afterwards, did we grow closer or not? And maybe it’s just looking for short term results and it’s just a sticking with it.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:12:49] What if you asked her, I mean, I love 0 to 10 questions because, like, someone could say, How are you? Fine. Well, their fine might be if ten is great, zero is, I’m empty, their version of fine might be a two. Men will go like, great, you’re fine, awesome, thinking it’s an eight.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:13:09] Yeah.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:13:09] Sometimes asking the question of how is this dad daughter date for or how are you really doing 0 to 10? And that’ll give you more insight. But here’s another way to ask it, is that and let me just even say before that, Jeff, I love that you’re tuned in like this to her because at a young age that I’m just seeing the fact that she even has a dad that is tuned into her, among the rest, what a gift she has in you as a dad. I really mean that.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:13:39] Thanks.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:13:39] And so, back to this thing of, you know, I know of two studies that were done around the same time of what, this number of years ago, completely separate organizations. And I write about this in my first book where they ask dads, how many dads, how how many of you feel close to your daughters? And 75% said, we’re close. Interestingly, at the same or around the same time, this other organization asked daughters, how many of you feel close to your dad? You can talk about sex, you could talk about, you know, relationships at school, those kinds of things. 75% of girls said we don’t feel close. Barna, Barna Group, you probably heard of them. They did a few years ago and by and large, it was about 2,500 people were interviewed, about 500 were teenagers and teenagers said, I go to mom for emotional support and I go to mom for spiritual support. I go to dad for logistical help and money. But when it comes to that heart stuff, sadly, It’s not always dad that enters in there and that’s what I love watching and the way I coach dads and do The Abba Project because I watched these dads develop their emotional selves and who are damn proud of themselves. So here’s a way, Dad, get back to this idea of close. I know you thought I forgot, see this is my brain, right. They say, women’s brains are like spaghetti, men’s are waffles. But back to the main road with this idea of close is ask your daughter, not with the other ones there, just you and her. On a scale of 0 to 10, how close do you feel, not think, do you feel we are? She’ll give you a number and then say, Is that as close as you’d like us to be?

Jeff Zaugg: [00:15:22] Yes. That’s good.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:15:23] Number three, what could I do to be a better dad to you so we could be closer?

Jeff Zaugg: [00:15:32] So good.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:15:34] You take that, I think I’m hoping, I’m I’m assuming. Why not just ask? Why don’t you say, 0 to 10, what number? How close are we? Are we as close as you like us to be? What could I do to be a better dad to you? Again, teachable and humility being modeled right in front of her like a humble dad. You know, again, humbling yourself under the mighty hand of God and He’ll exalt you in due time. And when my pastor used to say, you better humble yourself because you don’t want God doing it for you.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:16:04] It’s preferable not to have that.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:16:07] You’re modeling those qualities. She’s going to look for a man like you because that’s that’s just going to be home cooking for her.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:16:14] Yeah. Michelle, this whole conversation has caused me to be thankful for this role that I get to be a dad. This whole conversation has made me like, Oh, like I can do it. You’ve been so encouraging. I would love to ask, is there any, when you think of tools that you’ve collected over these 13 plus years and these books you’ve written in us countless episodes of your podcast, like tools that you’re like, Oh, here’s maybe at one or two additional tools to kind of imparting that you’d want to pass along? Obviously, you might not be to unpack everything about them, but like just some tools for the tool belt of the dad life in, in being dadAWESOME. Any anything else you’d want to add?

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:16:52] Oh yeah, because I love seeing awesome dads. Because you can tell when a daughter has deposited that love into her heart. She has more confidence. There’s studies on that.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:17:03] Yeah.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:17:03] Closing the dream gap rate that daughters as young as six and seven already start thinking boys are smarter. I mean, the stuff goes if you’re if you’re a dad of a young daughter and think, well she doesn’t quite hit some of that stuff yet. I’m like, that’s not what the research says, you know and that’s why I write every other week blogs for dads. And I’ve been doing it for nine years already because I just want to break it down into smaller bite sized pieces so it’s not so overwhelming. You just feel like, I don’t really like doing audiobooks or books, but let me put a couple of tools into your fathering toolbox, Dad, to just add to the tools we’ve already put there today. So the first one would be, put the two words “I’m wondering” in front of questions that you ask your daughter, because she will hear you asking her a question where you really want an answer because you’re curious, you’re inquiring rather than interrogating. Whereas, I mean, whereas if it just comes out, you think you’re sounding a certain way, but she hears you maybe more as a drill sergeant. And I think of like years ago, a dad in The Abba Project had three sons, then his youngest was a 17 year old girl, he didn’t speak Venusian. And he’s like, I asked her, like, why didn’t you go to school today? And he goes, Either the claws come out and she bites my head off, or the wall goes up and she doesn’t talk to me. And I don’t know how to ask that any different. I’m a dad. I care about her educational process here. I said, Try asking the exact same question and put the two words “I’m wondering” in front of it and come back. Next month at The Abba Project, tell me how it goes. You know what happened? He goes, Hey, Megan, I’m wondering, why didn’t you go to school today? She’s like, Oh, we’ve got the day off and my friends had an early release and so we all did… And he’s like, What just happened?

Jeff Zaugg: [00:18:55] Game changer.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:18:57] What’d you say?

Jeff Zaugg: [00:18:58] Game changer. I mean, I think even in my marriage, like, my wife would love it for me to say “I’m wondering,” first.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:19:04] Because she’s a daughter.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:19:05] Yep.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:19:06] Every one of us this works. Women at work, family members because I said to this dad, I said into your tone change, I have no doubt that instead of, Why didn’t you go to school today, and she feels like you’re a drill sergeant. You’re saying, Hey, I’m wondering why I didn’t go to school, and she’s like, Oh, he wants to actually know instead of just come down hard on me that I didn’t follow the rules or do it his way. So there’s one practical tool, Dad.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:19:31] Yeah.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:19:31] Is I’m wondering. Second one, I talked about this earlier, but I call it messages on mirrors. If you heard what was in your daughter’s head, the older she gets when she looks in the mirror, you would not sit there, idly, without taking action because it’s brutal. I know. I’ve had an eating disorder. I’ve lived through this. It is so unkind and mean and vicious, and I believe it has a root in the pit of hell with the enemy. And that’s a whole other talk for another day that I think ties to Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, that, you know, Satan was an archangel and in heaven where Lucifer was where he was a beautiful angel and some people believe he was the head of the choir And oh my goodness, Genesis 3:13 says, I would put enmity straight between his seed and her seed. There is something direct against women that literally is so vicious about our beauty. That’s what it says there in Ezekiel 28, perfect in beauty and wisdom. We don’t think we’re smart enough and don’t think we’re pretty enough, we don’t think we’re enough. So, Dad, when you proactively…

Jeff Zaugg: [00:20:41] Yes.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:20:42] Begin to put positive messages on that same mirror that the enemy is using to tear down your daughter’s confidence and dignity and worth and core strength and value, you get to proactively strategize and go, Daddy, going to put positive messages on that mirror. Daddy, that mirror, is not on my watch, going to be a neutral zone, that is a fighting zone and an idea I have for you dads that travel, I got this from a friend, He said I got an away game and he pulled the dry erase marker out of his back pocket that I’d given at a conference, men’s conference. And he goes, Now when I’m at a hotel, I write on the mirror there, take a screenshot, and I send her that picture in real time. And I’m like, That’s brilliant. So, Dad, messages on mirrors. I’m wondering messages on mirrors. I got one more.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:21:36] Okay, one more.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:21:38] And it’s, drop your anger. I know that’s easier said than done, but, Dad, your anger will do more to shut down the core of who she is, to mar her spirit, to defeat her confidence, tear her down. Your anger has more destructive power than you’ll ever know. So make a commitment. Tell your mouth If I’m ready to just blow, I got to do my time out, come back or write out my discipline. It calms you down. You streamline what you’re going to say. So I know that may be ending on a negative note. But I found, I mean, one time, Jeff, I watched a Nightline show, I think it was. Where they showed men that went on like a boot camp for a week. They paid money, good money, took time off work to come and get yelled out, screamed at, beat up, cut up, muddy and on this interview the person you know for ABC News goes, Hey, can I ask why are you guys doing this? And puts the mic in their face, do you know what I remember hearing? I wrote it immediately down to prove that we can. That’s why we’re doing this. To prove we can do this. It’s the same dad with your daughter. To be the action hero, that superhero, to prove you can do it. It’s got to be something that’s hard. Like writing the messages on the mirror, you’re like, Okay, that doesn’t really cost me much, just a little time. To do something that is against your core instinct, out of love for your daughter and love for your God. How often does God as a dad shout and scream and belittle us?

Jeff Zaugg: [00:23:15] That’s good.

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:23:17] And shame us? Never. In fact. Luke 15:20, The prodigal son, says the Father, Jesus is saying, I want you to know my dad says, He’s one verse five things stands there, he’s looking, filled with compassion. He runs toward, embraces and then kisses. I just picture a dog just licking and kissing all over. Like that, Dad, is your strategy to represent God as a Father in a way to actively do that is to make a commitment. God, I am going to drop the anger out of love for you because I can’t do this apart from you. And I want to be a dad that models to my girls what you as a dad are like to me. And that’s how you can be the best dad in the world because you’re helping build that bridge to God as your Father.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:24:03] Michelle, thank you. Thank you. We will link all of your podcasts, your books, all those free resources to the resource tab, your email, biweekly email. All out to the guys. They’ll get to all have that in the show notes. Would you say a short prayer for all of us?

Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield: [00:24:21] Oh, thank you. I would love, I would love to. Abba Father, God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, we come into your presence boldly where we can find mercy and grace in our time of need. Thank you that we have access immediately, Father into your presence as your kids because of what Jesus did on the cross. I pray right now, Father God, Abba Father God, that you would give every man listening a deposit through the Holy Spirit that he or she, who is listening is a son of the most high God. You are wanted. And the more you represent the true father in heaven who created you in his image, who is allowing you to represent him on Earth, even in your humanity and your frailty. I thank you, God, that every man is under your wing, that you have defined who he is because of whose He is. And regardless of his story on earth, he is chosen and is equipped and called to be a dad because you are his dad. And I ask that in a miraculous way that you would in this season, in this year, deposit that core truth in the depths of who he is to know he is loved, he is chosen, and he is guided by the best father in the world to teach him how to be the dad that you want him to be and can help him to be. I don’t know how I can pray this God in a way that will actually make an impact so, Holy Spirit, what I’m going to say next that you’re bringing to my heart has got to come from you. But those dads that have deep wounds, deep scars, deep hurts of their own that they’ve never looked at, and it’s out of that place that hurting people, hurt people, that they hurt their kids in ways that don’t line up with their values or their heart. Would you guide them to someone who can walk with them through their story and their pain so that they model to their kids that it’s okay to look under the hood of a car at the wiring and get healing for their own stuff. So I don’t know how you can make that actually happen, but I want to pray that over those men stay so that they can find healing and be the dad they want to be and need to be. So God, would you bless them and keep them? Would you make your face to shine upon them and be gracious to them? Would you let every man know that your countenance is turned upon them and that you will give them your peace and I pray Holy Spirit and Jesus and Father, that you will wrap all these things together with your embrace around every one of them. And in the mighty name of Jesus, we pray these things together. Amen.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:27:13] Thank you so much for joining us this week for episode 278, the second half of the conversation with Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield. The conversation notes, the links to her books and all these free resources, these conversations starters and even other cohorts and coaching that she’s doing are all going to be at dadawesome.org/278. Guys, thank you for being a part of this month’s specific topic around Mom Month, just deciding to be dads who lean in and seek encouragement, wisdom, practical ideas. This month is especially laced with practical, man, I can put this into action this week. So praying for you guys. Cheering for you guys. Thank you for being dadAWESOME.