Written by Dan Istvanik

In our world’s changing view of family and manhood, the role and even the names of daddy, dad, and father have become increasingly muddled.

TV shows and movies have blurred the picture of who a man is, or who he is to be, in his home. The shifts in culture and society have influenced the idea of marriage and parenting roles.

The male as a lead role in the home often seems to be at odds with the cultural norms. These changes have even made the once celebrated “father-daughter” relationship, sometimes seem awkward.

However, these three titles: Daddy, Dad, and Father still hold meaning and value. They serve as a reminder of the role this man plays and what his daughter truly needs from him in their relationship.

DADDY (Trust)

Many of us have experienced firsthand that moment in a daughter’s life, when she joyously yells, “Daddy!” and leaps from the side of a pool into the arms of her father who she fully trusts.

We have also witnessed the moments of hurt and pain when there is a scream from a sidewalk, or the yard – “Daddy!”… once again knowing that calling on that name will bring trusted rescue or safety.

A daughter should feel like she can trust her daddy, but she also needs to receive his trust. This man will be the first man in her life to love her and it is important that she can depend on him.

At every stage of life, a daughter needs to know she can reach out in trust for this man, knowing that he will catch her in moments of joy and pick her up in moments of pain.

Just as we read in Mark 14, a daughter can cry out “Abba-Daddy” trusting that her earthly daddy, like her heavenly daddy, will seek her best in both good and bad times.

DAD (Time)

Oh Dad!”… she sighs as he tells another one-liner joke or walks out of the house wearing that crazy outfit to take her to school.

“Come on Dad” …as she asks if they can go to the mall for a prom dress.

“Dad” is a bit more grown-up name, but not too formal. It is a name that describes their relationship – a step up from childish whimpers or demands. “Dad” personifies the man who is willing to stop what he is doing to spend time with her. It is the name that turns his eyes and heart away from distant distractions and instead to intentional interactions.

A daughter’s needs require her dad to take and make the time for her.  She doesn’t always need a large quantity of time, but rather to give her what time he has with quality.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says, “And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

A daughter needs a dad that will be present in both small and big moments, as they go places together or hang around the house. The time she needs is time with her dad to be heard and to listen to godly words.

FATHER (Truth)

“Because I am your father”… is the response given when a daughter must do something or obey.

“You are a father”… are the words spoken to a man when he discovers he is going to have a daughter.

It is not used as a greeting or as often in informal conversations. It holds a bit more power and formality.

“Father” is the name of respect, authority, and truth. It is the name that demonstrates and claims a position of leadership in a home, whether given or earned.

A daughter needs a “daddy” and a “dad,” but she also needs a “father.”

She needs a father, because God, the source of all truth uses that name to describe Himself. A daughter needs someone that is going to be her source of truth. When life and the world around her are changing, she needs someone in her life that is going to lovingly tell her what she needs to hear.

He is the person that sees each situation in her life and provides guidance and wisdom. A daughter is going to face lies about who she is, what she looks like, and even how she is supposed to act.  Her father is the one who speaks truth to her about her identity, self-image, and worth in Christ. She may have many friends, but she only has one earthly father.

Ephesians 6, speaks of respect that runs both ways, as truth is taught and shared. A father is respected by his daughter because he is willing to share and demonstrate truth to her.

A daughter needs all three of these roles represented by her father throughout her life. She needs a trustworthy daddy, that offers his time as her dad, in order to guide her with his respected fatherly truth.


DAN ISTVANIK is our Lead Content Writer at Ministry to Parents and is also a 5th to 8th-grade pastor in Lancaster, PA. He has been working in youth ministry for over 22 years, serving churches in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Virginia. He is a speaker, ministry coach, and writer, contributing to a variety of other great ministry resources. He shares daily middle school ministry specific resources, and hints on his own site “The Middle Years” at WWW.MIDDLEYEARSMINISTRY.COM