Psalm 144:12b: That our daughters may be as pillars,
Sculptured in palace style
I am a blessed man. God has graced me with seven godly, beautiful, talented, and gifted daughters who embrace their femininity and seek to glorify Him in every way. I thank God for enriching our family with each of them—as well as with each of our sons.
Most of my readers are already aware of the fact that I take seriously my biblical responsibility to protect and support all my daughters until they are married. I know this practice rankles many a modern blogworm (as in bookworm, one whose nose can be found in a blog, rather than in a book). Some may decry that the McDonald home is no more than a gilded cage that bars its female members from the delights and experiences of society.
But, contraire, dear reader. If this be a gilded cage, it is one with the ornate doors flung wide open. Our daughters are not only secure and content in the life they have chosen under our roof, they have studied the principles in Scripture for themselves and rejoice in God’s protection and sovereign plan for their lives.
To be a “stay-at-home daughter” does not mean that she should lounge about the house waiting for Prince Charming to come along. Our daughters are to be productive and industrious keepers at home. Yes, I said “keepers at home.” While they are preparing to be keepers of their own homes one day, until our daughters are married, they should serve as keepers at home in the house of their father. They are to be helpers to their mother and blessings to our entire family, as well as to our local church and community. Our daughters are to be busy preparing themselves to be helpers to their own husbands by developing their skills, continuing their education, enhancing their talents, and glorifying God right here where He has them – at home.
Since I am the head of the home, many times the tasks and activities in which our daughters are engaged reflect the occupation that God has given to me. As I am a pastor, many times my daughters (as well as my young son) rise up with my wife in assisting me with pastoral duties (hospitality, prayer, visiting the sick, preparing meals, and other various needs and ministries of the church). The activities of a family will often reflect the calling that God has given a man. While the husband and wife are one, and the wife is the suitable helper—the completer of her husband, the entire household should be pointed in the direction of its leader—helping him to fulfill his mission.
My Polished Cornerstones
Christa, married last year at age twenty-two, is living in the Dallas area with her husband, Daniel. She is a beautiful and talented young woman who is gifted in crafts, calligraphy, and the flute. In her “adult daughter” years, she was my “go-to girl” for any challenging job set before her. She was not afraid of dirt, bugs, or hard work. One precious memory of Christa at home took place during those last few months before she was married. She worked alongside me, helping me to lay the floor in an attic space I was refinishing. The memories made while working side by side with her are irreplaceable and could never have happened if our family was split by independent lifestyles and aspirations. While Christa is sorely missed, we rejoice that she has entered a new season of life and is fulfilling her role as a helpmeet to her own husband, Daniel. In addition, this coming spring, they will bless Stacy and I with our first grandchild!
Tiffany is now the oldest daughter at home. At twenty-one, she has been a great helper to me over the years. When we were in publishing, Tiffany was my subscription and customer service manager. Today, she still assists me as my “administrative assistant,” answering the phone and my emails when I get behind. In addition, she is a helper to her mother, assisting with homeschooling the younger children; helping to organize and run the home; and enhancing the household with her unique, creative flair. Tiffany is an award-winning writer, an accomplished chef, a convention speaker, a budding seamstress, and a gifted pianist.
Nineteen-year-old Melissa is a wonderful asset to our family. She provides steady and loving support to anyone who needs a hand. Taking a cue from her mom, Melissa is very organized, which has proven to be a great asset in our larger than average family—especially on Sunday mornings! She is also patient with the little ones, and can often be found reading Ten Little Monkeys Jumpin’ on the Bed to a younger sibling, yet “one more time”. Melissa has an incredible memory. From Bible verses to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, Melissa is a memorization queen, and passes on that blessing to her younger siblings!
While Jessica is technically not yet an adult daughter, she is a delight to our home. She is an avid reader, devouring a stack of books in record time. Jessica is a gifted dramatist and vocalist, filling our home with sunshine and sounds of praise at any time, day or night. Often found late into the evening helping Tiffany with a new project, she is inquisitive and adventurous. In many ways, Jessica reminds me of…well, me!
I’ll save for another day the ways that my sons and younger daughters bring joy to this unworthy father – today my focus is my older daughters. Nonetheless, my life would indeed be lacking without any one of them.
Proverbs 23:26 “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.”
Did I mention that my children have my heart? And I have theirs. Malachi 4:6 and Luke 1:17 have come alive in our home and we are so thankful to the Lord! Here is a cherished poem Melissa wrote to me a number of years ago:
This is my heart; I give it to you,
Until the day I wed.
Keep it safe and always true,
Until my vows are said.
Just as the silver is pure and bright,
I want my heart to be,
Filled with all the Saviors light;
Hold it safe for me.
Love is a most precious gift;
Never let mine stray.
Keep it from a worldly drift,
Until that special day.
Mold my heart and train me well,
So one day I may be,
Equipped to follow in your steps,
And walk on steadily.
Lest someone wonder why my daughter would share her desire to follow in the steps of her father, consider that God’s Word teaches that “the just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.” (Proverbs 20:7) Not that any human father is perfect – I am far from that mark, but it is biblical for Christian children to follow in the footsteps and blessings (spiritually speaking) of their Christian fathers.
In Her Father’s House
Yes, I am a blessed man. Even today, in many nations, a man with seven daughters is viewed as cursed, or at the very least, burdened. Typically it is only the man with many sons who is viewed as blessed. How little the heathen know of blessings! Yet sometimes, even in our own country, when a daughter turns eighteen she is shown the door—expected to “stand on her own two feet” and face the world alone—not to be a burden to her parents any longer. Typically, “away to college” or “gainful employment” are the only choices given grown daughters. To protect and cherish a daughter is viewed as oppressive, to her as well as to the parents. I’ve heard parents joke about how eager they are for their children to grow up and move out so that they can have their freedom back.
How individualistic we are. We protect and covet our independent lifestyles. Today, it starts young: children want their own toys, their own room, their own phone, and their own friends. They get older and want their own car, their own bank account, and their own life. Some parents are no better, still wanting “their own friends” and “their own life”—preferably and frequently without their children—sometimes even without their spouse.
How thankful I am for those who are brave enough to stand for the beauty and strength of family unity. I am so grateful to the few brave families who defend the freedom daughters should have to demonstrate the obedience, service, and godly womanhood exemplified in the Holy Scriptures. I believe that such daughters will be the mothers of a new generation of faithful and effective Christians. Work such has been done by the Botkin family stands firm against the prevailing winds, yet harkens to and uncovers the well-worn path to successful families—a path almost forgotten today.
But such a stand does not come without detractors. I recently heard of someone making a disturbing and thoroughly erroneous claim. This person assumed (and publicly shared their false assumption) that the book, So Much More, which my wife endorsed, teaches that an adult daughter who lives under the authority and protection of her father somehow becomes a surrogate “helpmeet” to him. Since very few seemed interested in clarifying this point with either author, and since my wife had endorsed the work, I decided to take it upon myself to see if this unbiblical and unwarranted charge was true.
Not only have we never known anyone who taught such a thing, my wife could not figure out how anyone could pull such a teaching from reading So Much More. After further research and combing through the pages, Stacy came across only one “stray word” that may be the source of the confusion. The word was “primary” and was an editorial oversight—not proof of any extra-biblical teaching. In context, these were the words penned by the Botkins:
“A father is most fruitful when he has the help of his children (in addition to his wife, his primary helpmeet), and a daughter is most fruitful when she is making her father successful in this way.”
Quite simply, the word “primary” should be stricken from the paragraph (and I am told will be, in future print runs). The Botkin girls never intended for anyone to glean that a daughter was a helpmeet to her father. It was simply an editorial mistake of one word. Imagine that – a mistake in a 350 page book. Sadly, rather than clarify the meaning of this phrase with the authors, and obviously ignoring the context of the statement, someone chose to ungraciously “take and run” with this phrase and cry “foul!” One would have thought clarification was in order since the rest of the book clearly contradicts such a teaching.
Here is a wonderful quote from page 47 of the Botkin book, So Much More:
“A good daughter can further her father’s estate and increase his wealth and holdings by caring for his estate, ‘looking well to the ways of her household.’ (Proverbs 31:27) You can help your father by helping his helpmeet (your mother), leaving her more free to help her husband in other ways.”
Those who may have read accusations from some of the over-zealous critics in blogland may be interested in reading the Botkin girls own words. In clarifying their position, they wrote this in an email to me:
“Our positions have not changed. They have been strengthened. Now, at ages 22 and 20, we believe more firmly than ever in every position we took as teenage girls. However, we understand more fully the need to be very, very careful in introducing potentially explosive concepts, ensuring that our wording is theologically precise and unmistakably clear.”
“We do not believe that a daughter is to be a ‘help meet’ to her father…”
“We should begin by stating clearly that we believe the wife is the only person in the household who holds the role of ‘helpmeet.’ In putting the above bold words [primary helpmeet] together, we meant to imply, first, that a father is entitled to the help of his entire household, but that his wife is his primary source of assistance; and secondly, that the wife is the one who is his helpmeet. We certainly did not mean to imply that the wife is the ‘chief helpmeet’ while the sons and daughters are ‘second-class helpmeets,’ and we do not advocate a family model dominated by a tyrannical father over a whole household of helpmeet hopefuls jockeying for the position of ‘primary helpmeet.’ …The book’s main theme is actually whole family unity, whole families working together, helping each other, united under the leadership of the father.”
“If our unfortunate and careless wording has been confusing or misleading to any, we apologize sincerely.”
Lastly, speaking of help meets for husbands, how thankful I am for the one and only husband-completer in my home, my wife, Stacy. Daily, she models feminine virtue and industry before our daughters that proves to be contagious. I am sure, like Christa has shown, my girls yet at home will prove to be great helpmeets for their future husbands, applying with ease the skills they have learned in our home from their mother.
Yes, indeed, I am a blessed man!