“Daddy, how do I look?”

This is a common refrain of any little girl. She’ll say this after dressing up in her favorite princess dress, putting as many bows in her hair as possible, and all of the costume jewelry she can find. After having completed her adornment she’ll traipse up to you and sweetly but inquisitively ask this question.

You’ll experience a whole cycle of princess dresses from Snow White to Elsa. Those early times of inquisition you’ll be delighted, attentive, affirming.

“Oh my, what a beautiful princess!”

You’ll hem and haw over her. You’ll fill that much needed tank of approval. She’ll squeal with delight and go back off to her room for another wardrobe change, just to play it all over again for you.

Over time, over the years, the scenario begins to play out even more. But both of you will see it differently. It’s possible that she’ll notice you’ve become less enthusiastic, less attentive. You didn’t mean for it to be this way. You’re not any less affirming then you’ve always been. You’re simply distracted.

You’ll probably be sitting at the kitchen table some morning, scarfing down a quick bowl of cereal and burning your throat as you chug down a hot cup of coffee.

You’ll likely be thinking, “I need to get out this door and get to work. I’ve got a long day ahead.”

And then here she comes. But now she’s not in a princess dress. She’s in a blouse with a cardigan, a very cute and ruffly color-coordinated skirt, a pair of tights, her most recent size of winter boots, all accented with an infinity scarf. She’s dressed both smart and modest, sophisticated and stylish.

She might be 5, 5th grade, or fifteen. Regardless, what you say and how you give her attention in this moment matters. If you’re fortunate, in the moment of your distracted breakfast when all this takes place, you’ll have an equally loving wife in the background to remind you:

“Honey, always remember, always remember, how you respond to her when she asks that is crucial.”

And it is crucial! Your daughter craves your approval. Not because that’s where she gets her significance, but because it is a storehouse for honor. She brings honor to you and your family when she models modesty and beauty in tandem. She reflects your family’s values. She reflects her desire to honor her King.

You dad, are given these opportunities, not just to approve your daughter, but to approve and applaud God for the beauty found in one of his precious creatures.

She’s not a distraction; she’s an attraction.

And if you, dad, have emphasized noble character, including modesty and beauty, internal and external, then she will not attract to herself. She’ll attract others to God.

Approve and applaud loudly, enthusiastically, and with gusto every day of your life. She’ll keep returning to this well for water and will not seek after another.

This post first appeared at Joey’s blog and is posted here with his permission.