Lord of the peanut, lord of the play.

Me with Mr. Peanut, a gift from a family member with a sick sense of humor.
Me with Mr. Peanut, a gift from a family member with a sick sense of humor.

Last week I got a phone call that makes every parent’s heart stop for a minute.   I learned that my oldest son was being rushed to the emergency room.   Unfortunately, we both share the same life-threatening allergy to peanuts.  Unfortunately for him, he accidentally ate a cracker laced with the deadly nut and only realized it after it hit the bottom of his bottomless pit of a stomach.   Such is what happens when you eat first, read ingredient labels second.   I have been in his shoes too many times to count.

To those without the allergy, having an allergy to a peanut is amusing.   In the early days, when people learned of my allergy – they would laugh in disbelief, as if I was making this up.   “Really?  A little peanut?  Are you kidding me?”    The name itself conjures images of something  tiny.   When an embryo is growing in the womb of a mother, it is often referred to as the little “peanut.”   When a toddler is among older siblings, you may hear him being called the “peanut.”   It certainly does not seem big or strong enough to end a life.   Statistically, it kills about 10 people per year in the United States alone.   I am pretty committed to not let my son or I join that list of ten.

The peanut allergy is somewhat unpredictable.  It can certainly be unforgiving.  Some people can have an immediate reaction at the smell of it.  (Even a synthetic peanut-scented “scratch and sniff” sticker bothers me!)  Others react when they touch it.  Some react when it merely touches their lips.   Everyone with the allergy reacts when it is ingested.   As far as reactions go, a variety of symptoms can occur, varying person to person.  Hives. swollen eyes, itchy tongue.  In extreme cases, anaphylaxis sets in.  In other words, your throat swells to the point that your air passage is closed.  It is known as one of the more deadly allergies out there because of the notorious speed at which it moves.  It is not unheard of to go from contact to corpse within a matter of minutes.  (One girl died, a few years ago, after being kissed by her boyfriend after he ate a PB & J sandwich.)   Having almost died twice from my reactions, I understand how serious this allergy can be.  

As I raced to be with my other children while his mother drove him to the emergency room, I processed numerous thoughts:

  • “I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
  • “I’ve been through this a dozen times myself – it’ll all work out.”
  • “I wonder what time he’ll be home from the E.R.”
  • “What were my last words to him?   Ya know, just in case.”
  • “Is he scared?”
  • “I wonder what symptoms he is feeling now.”
  • “I bet he tries to use this as an excuse to get out of school tomorrow.”

I prayed.   I drove fast.   I started to worry.   And then I remembered who is the Lord of the peanut.

Life is fragile like that.   Occasionally, it reminds us that we are not as strong or invincible as we want to believe.   We are one car accident away from life change – even if we wear a belt.  We are one trip to the doctor away from devastation – even when we feel healthy.  Those of us in South Carolina know that we are one play away on the ball field unable to see the injury to come to a beloved running back.   One accident, one diagnosis, one slalom on the slope, one slip on the job, one phone call, one incident from our lives being changed – forever.   If I have learned anything about life during my 4+ decades here, it is how short and precious life really is. 

As I sat at home praying for my son, wondering just how serious this “attack” was for him – I realized (again) Who is really in charge here.   Christian or atheist, black or white, straight or gay, Republican or Democrat, American or foreigner, pilot or passenger – when our life (or those we love) is in the balance…

  • We ALL pray, even if schools say we cannot.   
  • We ALL bend a knee, even if we look foolish to others.
  • We ALL quiet our souls, in spite of the noise around us.
  • We ALL change our Facebook status, imploring an army of other prayers.

At some point, we are all reminded that there is something bigger than us out there that we must beg/plead to – when life is in the balance.  The saying is true, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”   Turbulence at 33,000 feet can make even the hardened skeptic pray. 

My son returned home from the emergency room in record time.   He was fine.   The anti-dote (epinephrine) was given and he was breathing easy, once again.   As I put my head to the pillow, I realized I had averted a life-changing incident.   I was grateful for the outcome and thankful I had another day to be his Dad.   I also renewed my hatred for peanuts, vowed to never visit Georgia and committed to a life of jihad against that form of protein.

As my body was shutting down for the night, my thoughts were lifted upward.   I thought about the deadly allergy to sin we all possess.   I remembered the anti-dote in Christ, the Epi-Pen of God.   But more than that, I was reminded that He is still in charge here, even on the days I forget that.  

The riser of the sun and the Rotator of the moon, He rules even our diets.   Lord of both Presidents and peanuts, sometimes He uses laws to get our attention while other times He uses allergies.  Should the sunset escape our view, should we ignore the praises of birds, should we be oblivious to our daily dose of oxygen He liberally provides even to those who hate Him, God is still able to get our attention.   As King David reminded us in Proverbs 21, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.”   He got Moses attention through a burning bush (Exodus 3).  He got Pharaoh’s attention through the death of his son (Exodus 12).   God can use hurricanes, earthquakes & fires but He prefers to speak in a whisper – just ask Elijah (I Kings 19).   He has an entire world at His disposal to get your attention too.   What will it take for you to tilt your ear?

Last night I took my two boys to see their sister in her school play.  The only thing more dreadful than attending a middle school play is to watch a middle school girls basketball game.   Even hockey games have higher scores!   As you can imagine, the last thing two boys want to do is attend their sister’s school play on a Saturday night.   Complaints abounded.  “Do we have to?”   “She doesn’t care if we go!”   “Dad, it will be boring.”   “Her part isn’t that big, can’t we just watch her scene and leave?”   I have to say, their complaints were convincing, if not compelling.  I was certainly tempted to leave them home.  I realized at that moment I was raising two attorneys.   Unmoved, we all went to the play.  To their chagrin, I even sat in the very front row.   They were not going to miss their sister’s theatrical debut.   As they both sat sullen in the front row, I watched their transformation.  As the play went on, they both stared at the actors in front of them.  They laughed at all the right moments.   It was obvious, they were actually engaged and enjoying themselves.  As a parent, I sat relieved.  Relieved I didn’t cave to their complaints.  Relieved that I had committed to doing the right thing, even if it made me unpopular.  Relieved that they were enjoying themselves.   As we left, my older son looked at me sheepishly and said, “Dad, thanks for making us go.  I enjoyed it.”   All parents cherish those rare moments.   The battle was worth it. 

In those moments, clarity is gifted to me.   I see life more clearly.  I slowly begin to understand why God allows us to endure certain trials.  Now I understand why we must be forced, at times, to do things we don’t want to do.   We buck, we complain, we cry and whine and yet God, often silent, remains unmoved.   Only after the experience, do we learn the lesson.  Only after the pain, do we see the purpose.  Only after the trial, do we learn to trust.  He does know what He’s doing, even when He seems like He doesn’t.   He doesn’t hate us, as we sometimes think in our adolescent faith.  He doesn’t want us miserable, though His decisions may make us miserable.  He puts us in the front row and makes us uncomfortable knowing that transformation is around the corner, should we humble ourselves to see it.  He is far more interested in our holiness than our happiness and He loves us in spite of how we treat Him.

He is Lord of the peanut.  I was lord of the play.   Both my sons and I learned a bit about parental sovereignty this week and how we are better because of it. 

“Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.”  (Psalm 115:3)  

I’m so glad God doesn’t cave to my complaints.   I’m relieved He often doesn’t give me what I want.   I’m a better person when He says no to my spiritual tantrums…

Unless I have to attend a middle school girl’s basketball game.  No good can come from that.

Oh, and for the record – my son did go to school that next morning.   Nice try, kid.

The Dangers of Dating

The inevitable happened this week.  I knew this day was coming but I honestly hoped I had more time.  I was asked the dreaded question by my son, “Dad, when can I start dating?”   My “handsome 14-year-old freshman boy turning into a man” son wants to date.  It seems like only yesterday I was teaching him how to tie his shoes.  Needless to say, this crazy dating idea of his can never happen.  He will never date.  In other news, my daughter will never marry and my six-year-old is not allowed to turn seven.  These things I have decided.

Though I have previously served as a professional youth worker (for about 15 years) and have addressed this issue with countless other parents, I honestly wasn’t prepared to talk about this with my own son.   Not this week.   He has other milestones to achieve first like graduating from high school, then college, then the Marines, then law school, then medical school, and then seminary.  After those hurdles are complete, I’ll consider the dating request. (That is if I can’t think of more hurdles for him to jump over.)  To say I was thrown off guard by his request would be an understatement.   But there we were.  Me in the driver’s seat.  He in the passenger seat – eagerly waiting my response.  I’m not even sure he has someone special in mind.  I think he is just exploring the idea of it. 

There is at least one positive about his desire to date.  Mainly his personal hygiene habits have improved dramatically.  There was a season where I had to drag him into the bathtub much like you drag a cat to the Vet.  There was a time when I had to beat   force “motivate” him to brush his teeth.   Now, he cares about his appearance, hygiene and breath and for that, everyone wins.  🙂

But dating has changed dramatically over the last 25 years when I was first doing it.  And quite frankly, after watching thousands of other teenagers date (at too young an age), I have seen it ruin many a person in the moment and many a relationship thereafter.  Dating is a dangerous exercise, even for the adults.  Below are some of my observations as to why it is not recommended for most people under the age of 45.   I’m only half-kidding.  🙂 

  1. Dating raises the emotional stakes.  The average teenage boy is barely equipped to handle the emotions of losing an X-box game.  The average teenage girl can scarcely break a nail without tears, let alone endure the higher stakes emotional “game” of dating.  There is a lot more maturing that needs to occur, particularly when the emotions of another person are involved in the matter.   To be honest, most men do not even think about the emotional sensitivity that is required with their female counterpart, let alone a 14-year-old boy.  At that tender age, they do not even know what they don’t know.   A few years of maturity will do wonders for them in this area.
  2. Dating encourages unnecessary emotional deposits. With every relationship we are in, we have an accompanying emotional checking account with that person. When we spend time with them, we make a deposit. When we think about them, we make a deposit.  Emotional deposits can occur in their presence or in their absence. Typically, women invest more emotional dollars into the accounts of men than vice versa.  When you are alone, you make larger emotional deposits into only one account. When you are in a group setting, you make smaller emotional deposits into many accounts. The reason that a teenage breakup is so painful is because one feels an emotional bankruptcy after losing all their investment in that one particular account.
  3. Dating raises the physical stakes.   Dating implies being alone.  This alone time puts immediate pressure on the relationship.  The boy wants to be funny.  The girl wants to look pretty.  Both are putting their best foot forward and trying hard to impress the other one.  In other words, they are making massive emotional investments into unstable emotional accounts.  Whereas a group setting eliminates many pressures and temptations, being alone escalates them.  Combine these temptations with raging hormones (on both sides) minus the emotional maturity and wisdom to understand the dangers – you are asking for trouble.   Pregnancy and STD’s are just two of the devastating consequences waiting to pounce on our young children who cave in to the physical temptations they face.
  4. Dating creates isolation & thus does not encourage community.  Group settings are the safest setting throughout every aspect of life.  Fish travel in schools.  Wolves travel in packs.  Gazelles travel in groups.  Interestingly, women go to the bathroom in groups of two or more.  Apparently the woman’s restroom is wrought with danger.  We even have a well-known adage in our culture, “There is safety in ___________.” (In your head you thought “numbers.”)   This is especially true in regards to dating.   Teenagers, like young gazelles, need to be protected (even from themselves) during this time of growth.  Oftentimes their bodies are maturing faster than their emotions.  Very very few can handle such intimate isolation.  The risk outweighs the reward.  Time alone is important for all romantic relationships, but only when that relationship is mature enough to handle it.  
  5. Dating shuns true commitment & cultivates the heart for divorce.  This will no doubt be a controversial point but one that I think is worth making.  Dating’s commitment is generally skin deep.  In other words, it pales in comparison to the commitment of marriage which is “till death do us part.”  When we get accustomed to “leaving” our dating partners (for a variety of reasons), it grooms our heart for the ultimate exit of an unhappy marriage.  Whereas the marriage relationship should have an undying commitment and the “D” word (divorce, shhhhhh!) never mentioned, dating (by default) has a marginal commitment.   After all, you’re “only” dating.  It’s not like you are engaged or married.   The more you date, the more your heart is encouraged to avoid commitment, particularly a lifelong, faithful commitment to one person.  If you don’t like the one you are with now, you can always just date someone else.  It can do a disservice to your heart, ability to commit and future relationships.
  6. Dating does not assist one in guarding their heart.   A human heart can be broken.  It should be the goal of every parent to guard their child’s heart.  It should be the goal of every girl/woman to guard her own heart.  It should be the goal of every boy/man to not only guard his own heart, but also learn how to guard the heart of the girl/woman in his care.   It’s not an easy task – but a necessary one when it comes to relationships.  Too many hearts are broken simply because there was no appropriate guard in place.  Because dating is so personal and intimate, it is nearly impossible to guard one’s heart while doing it.  When the heart is not properly guarded it faces consistent heartbreak which, in turn, causes it to either suffer constantly or become so calloused that it becomes cold and jaded.  Neither consequence is healthy for anyone’s heart – let alone a younger heart, still learning what love is supposed to be.   This is why Solomon (considered to be the wisest man ever to live) wrote these words, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) 
  7. Dating discourages parental involvement (in most cases).  
  8. Dating by-passes parental approval (in most cases).
  9. Dating prohibits parental protection (in most cases).

For now, I’ll leave #7-9 as bullet points.   The main point is that no one knows you better and loves you more than a parent and dating (in the traditional sense) keeps most parents in the dark.  There is more that can be said here for another time or another blog.  

As for my son’s request, he knows it’s not an option right now.  The group setting is where he’ll be or home alone with one of his parents.  He’s a great kid and very mature for his age but for now, we don’t think he’s ready.  Besides, he can’t drive and the last thing anyone wants is a parent on a “date.”  If his Mom and I are wrong, time will reveal that and all we will have lost is time.  If we’re right, we have saved him (and some little girl out there) a world of hurt.   The risk outweighs the reward and since it is my son’s heart in the balance, I’m not willing to risk it.   No 14-year-old girl is worth the cost of his broken heart, entrusted to my care.  

I would love to hear from some of the more seasoned parents on how you handled your children in this regard.  Did you let them date?  Did they date in spite of your wishes?  Positive outcomes?  Negative aspects?  Any broken hearts? 

Parenting, on our best day, is an impossible task.   Recognizing this, Mark Twain gave this helpful parenting tip.  I always laugh when I think of it.

“When you have a child, you should put him in a barrel and feed him through the hole.  When he turns twelve, plug the hole.”

No broken hearts in the barrel, that’s for sure.

The corrective brace of parenting

(This article was orginally published in 2007 when my youngest son was about 2 years old.)

As I sit here and write – my son screams in the other room.   The kind of scream that every parent hates to hear.  The kind of scream that makes a Mom leap a couch and a Dad run through a door.  The scream that says “I’m in pain – help me”!!   And yet I sit.   What would make a parent sit back and let the screams continue?   What kind of parent would allow such pain to enter their precious child’s life and not do something about it?   Either an evil parent or a parent who has been informed about the purpose of the pain.   An unloving parent or a parent who understands the horrifying consequences if this particular pain is avoided.

My son was recently diagnosed with Metatarsus Adductus caused by Tibial Torsion, a congenital defect of his legs that causes his feet to twist inward – pigeon towed, if you will.  Though thousands have this – his is a bit acute and if it goes untreated, he will end up with a permanent, awkward gait.  To avoid this consequence, he must wear a corrective brace at night on each leg.   If he wears it faithfully at night, every night, for six to nine months – it greatly improves the probability of correcting the defect.  The heart breaking scream is caused by the pain brought on by the brace.

What’s particularly difficult is that when I look at my son, I do not automatically notice his defect.  I see a cute little guy, full of life, unstopped by a pesty little diagnosis about his chubby little legs.   Because of this bias, I am sometimes tempted to forget the brace “just this one night.”    After all, the brace is so rigid, so firm, so legalistic – in the truest sense of the word.  In fact, if you ask him, he would tell you in his eloquent baby language that he’s just fine.  No brace required – especially not tonight.

There are a number of braces to choose from, just like with parenting.

I can’t help but think of the correlation between his corrective brace and the corrective brace of discipline all parents are called to place on their children.   Sadly, few strap on the brace.  On one level, I understand why.  It is much easier not to.  Who wants to be unpopular with their children?   Who wants to be misunderstood as to why you are doing it?   Who wants to listen to their children scream (or complain, whine, cry, etc)?    There is something deep within us that makes us extra sympathetic to that little cry – even if the little crier is sixteen and shaving.  And yet – the brace is necessary because the defect exists.   Without the defect, the brace is cruel.  But because of the defect, the brace is the most loving thing you can do in spite of the tears.

The Bible affirms this truth repeatedly throughout Scripture.  (Parenthesis mine)

  • Foolishness (defect) is bound up in the heart of a child but the rod of discipline (brace) removes it far from him.” – Proverbs 22:15
  • He who spares the rod (brace) hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline (brace) him.” – Proverbs 13:24
  • Do not withhold discipline (brace) from a child; if you punish him with the rod (apply the brace), he will not die.” – Proverbs 23:13
  • “Bring your children up in the discipline (brace #1) and instruction (brace #2) of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4

So, parent – what kind of brace does your child need?   Some younger ones may need the brace of spankings.  Others need the brace of restriction or the loss of privileges. Maybe yours needs the brace of correction and instruction.   Regardless of the type of brace, the real question is, are you willing to place it on them?   Are you willing to place it on night after night, consistently, until the defect is “fixed”?   God has given parents a relatively short window in which the brace is most effective.  If we wait too long, its influence will be diminished.   If we apply it inconsistently, it will take twice as long and not guarantee a proper healing.   Your child could end up with a deformed spiritual gait. Or a criminal record.

As for my son, if the brace does not fix his defect, surgery will.   They will break his legs and re-set them as they should be.   The thought of surgery does not sit well with me, particularly if it is a result of my unwillingness to do my job now.

If you do not brace your children, God can certainly still cure them with a bit of Divine surgery.   Just a word about surgery with God though.  It’s always open heart and never with anesthesia.   Kinda makes the brace a bit more attractive, no?

*************** MEDICAL UPDATE *****************

The brace was applied on my son’s legs every night for about four months and as a result of that consistent application, his legs were healed several months ahead of schedule.  Today, he runs and jumps and moves around normally – you cannot tell he ever wore a brace.

Though the brace was difficult to place on him night after night, the right decision was made – even if it was unpopular.  And because of that, he avoided a painful surgery.  I think he’s glad he wore the brace.  Yours will be too… eventually.

Parenting in the technological age

(This was originally published in Columbia Living – “The Premier Lifestyle Magazine of Columbia South Carolina”, July/August 2011)

With every generation, raising children takes on new challenges never before seen by parents. Think about how parenting has changed through the ages. Before the invention of the light bulb, kids were “in” by dark. Now, they can stay out late and see all night. Before the automobile was invented, children had to walk or take the family horse. Now, they are able to travel hundreds of miles in just a few hours. Before the invention of television, kids were outside all the time. Now, there are enough channels in the basic cable package to entertain them 24 hours a day, literally. Before the invention of the internet, kids had to go to the library for hours to do research. Today, with a few clicks from home and they can find what they want in minutes. It used to be that parents had to set a geographical boundary and curfew for their children to obey. In this day and age, those boundaries are primarily online. “Don’t go past that landmark” has now been replaced with “Don’t go to that website”.

Like it or not, we are in the Zenith of the technological age and it seems that parenting has to morph just as rapidly as the technologies that are created. Just in the last 15 years, parents have had to address the following technological bombardments: MP3’s, iPods, YouTube, MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, Nook, Kindle, instant messaging, web cams, cell phones, texting, Xbox, DVR, TiVo, etc. To an older ear, some of those terms can bring confusion. To an “old-timer”, YouTube can sound like your toothpaste. Isn’t Kindle something you do to a fire? Should the trend continue parents will have to address and adapt to even more technology in order to stay current and communicate with their children. So, how do you do it? How does a parent stay informed, connected and even communicate with their children in such an age?

  • Get educated. Listen to your children and you will learn a lot. They will talk about the latest technology, how they use it or how they want to use it. Ask questions. Get online and “google” to find answers. Go to the store and talk to the employees. Knowledge is power and too often parents are powerless simply because they don’t even know what they don’t know.
  • Get online. If your kids are on Facebook, you need a Facebook account. If your kids use Twitter, you need to have a Twitter account and “subscribe” to it. If your child plays Xbox, you need to at least be familiar with the game and how it’s played. If your child likes to text message, you need to learn how to do it. Nothing can distance a parent quicker than not understanding their child’s world. There is already a great chasm between a child and his “old man”. You being online and trying to interact with your child can help bridge that gap a bit. It does not mean you have to “like” everything your child “posts”. It does not mean you have to “tag” every photo your child is in. It just means you have to be “nearby” online. Isn’t that the heart of parenting anyway – being “near” your children? (By the way, if you aren’t familiar with the phrases “Twitter”, “subscribe”, “like”, “tag” and “posts” you are officially out of touch and need this article more than you realize.)
  • Do not over react. Remember, technology is not the problem. It’s the use or abuse of it that can be the problem. Just because you heard a story about some kid in some mid-western state that abused MySpace does not mean that your child will do the same. Just because other teenagers are “sexting” (sending naked pictures of themselves via text) does not mean yours is or will. When you hear stories of how technology is being abused, talk it through with your kids. Make sure they understand the pitfalls and realize the consequences are real when technology is abused. Just as you would warn them of the dangers of driving, you too need to make sure they understand the dangers online or with various technologies.
  • Do not be too trusting. While overreacting can be a problem, so can too much trust. Just because you have a “good” child, does not mean he/she cannot get in trouble with certain technology. Children, particularly teenagers, are still developing portions of their brain. The common sense and rational portions are still a work in progress. These factors combined with the influence of friends and the ease of access to technology can cause them to go down a road you never dreamed they would. Education will help you know what’s out there and what the dangers are. Knowing your child and maintaining an open, close relationship with them will help you keep access as to how they are handling emerging technology. If you are concerned that your child is doing some things online that are inappropriate or destructive, there are accountability websites and keystroke logging software available to help.
  • Know their friends. How well do you know their friends? Are they in your home often? Are you creating opportunities where you can interact with them? Are you placing yourself in proximity (even online) to see, hear or read what is going on in their world? Who do they email or text regularly? If you do not know their closest friends, you do not know who is influencing them, positively and negatively.
  • Communicate with other parents. You would be surprised what you can learn in this regard. All parents like to talk about their kids. Ask them questions. Share your struggles. You will not only realize you have similar parenting issues but some of them may have some good suggestions as to how they handle it.
  • Get passwords. This is a controversial suggestion but one that I firmly believe can make a huge difference in the protection of your child. Having a child’s password gives you access to their online world. If they argue about giving it to you, that’s probably a good indication they are probably doing or saying something they shouldn’t be. It doesn’t mean you have to read their mail, but if you wanted to – you could. Some would be quick to say, “Isn’t that an invasion of their privacy?” If you are financing any aspect of their life, you have the right to see what they are involved in. Obtaining an online password is just like doing a random drug test. Privacy is an earned freedom after a proven track record of wise behavior. The more responsible your child is and proves to be, the more freedoms he/she should be given.
  • Be yourself. You will never be as “cool” as your kids. The only way you will be “hip” again is when you get yours replaced. Don’t try to be their “BFF”, just be their parent who cares enough to try and engage them on their turf. Don’t comment on every picture they post or “like” every status update. Don’t respond to every Tweet or try to get in on every chat. Be yourself. After all, you are the only parent they have. Do not trade down your elite position by trying to be their friend. They have enough of those.
  • Get outside. Remember when we were kids we had things like trees, parks, museums, sporting events, zoos, books and sunshine? Oh wait, we still have those things. Though technology is playing an ever increasing role in our world, it is important that we still find ways to get our children offline, outside and being active. They might not be interested or good at sports but it is important that you encourage activities that don’t require a broadband internet connection. Wii sports is great but it’s not the same as being outdoors.

My teenage son (like most) enjoys playing Xbox. So, I created an account and now play with him when I can. The truth is, I stink. I lose every race and get killed first in every game we play. Unfortunately for me, this will never change. Fortunately, what my son will remember is that I tried and that we are spending time together. Would I rather throw a Frisbee with him? Yes. But the point is we are “together” and as a dear friend has reminded me over the years, “Together is better”. Last week, I received a text message from my 12 year old daughter asking me for a drink. She sent it from the living room, twenty feet from the fridge. I sent her a picture of Orange Juice. My daughter learned that there is still a benefit to face to face interaction with her Dad.