This reviewer has been a dad for 12 years now and yet I have consistently struggled in finding the right time, place and devotional content for my daughters (ages: 12, 9). This is the primary reason why I took the opportunity to review, The One Year Father –Daughter Devotions.
Each day begins with a title and 2-3 paragraphs of interesting facts and/or appealing anecdotes, which relates to the verse of the day. The author’s uses of entertaining and original facts are vital to grabbing the daily interest of the female progeny. Surprisingly, the authors never reveal the intended ages of their audience, but I would assert daughters from the ages of 6-12 would find it relevant.
Another element is the use of creative, hands-on ideas in the section called Daddy-Daughter Time. This part of the devotional is normally used for applicational questions, but frequently the authors used it to conduct science experiments (April 29th), culinary moments (Feb. 27th) or encourage a movie night (March 29th). Their fresh approach to application is helpful, especially for dads like me who lack a creative gene.
Finally, this book provides two appendixes in the final pages of the devotional. In appendix #1, the authors do a sufficient job offering movie suggestions and also correlating discussion questions that can infuse a spiritual element in a mundane activity. Appendix #2 offers not only innovative ideas for “daddy-daughter” dates, but gives 14 reasons why fathers should make “dating” their daughters a priority.
There is no doubt the authors build their devotional foundation on a daily verse or verses, but I was confused why the verse itself was located at the bottom of the page under the title What’s the Word? Most fathers will naturally begin reading at the top and then work their way to the bottom of the page. Therefore, this organizational pattern prevents the listening audience to hear or meditate on the verse until the end of the devotional, which is counter-intuitive, in my opinion.
The other disappointing aspect is the author’s occasional laxity in the area of hermeneutics. The title of July 23rd is Treating Precious Things Well and the text is Matthew 7:6, “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.” Regarding the interpretation of the text, the author states,
“Jesus is mainly talking about holy teachings that the world often doesn’t understand. But you could also take it to mean not to share the treasures God gives you—including your body—with those who would only abuse them.”
Here the author clearly blurs the difference between interpretation and application and therefore, violates the timeless hermeneutical maxim, “One interpretation, many applications”. In my opinion, the author seems to be forcing an interpretation upon the text that is unwarranted, instead of simply placing it in the category of application.
The second example of this interpretative looseness in found on August 28th. The text is Genesis 37:5, “One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever.” The author uses Martin Luther King as a contemporary example of someone who “had a dream” and God blessed this dream. The author concludes,
“Indeed, even the noblest dreams will face challenges. But God wants you to dream big anyways, knowing that if He is the author of your dreams, no force on earth can keep them from coming true.”
There are three problems here: 1) The author gives no scriptural evidence that God still speaks through dreams today; 2) the author gives no advice on how to discern if God is the author of the dream and 3) the author employs a proof text that gives no proof.
This One Year Father-Daughter devotional is to be applauded for its desire to encourage dads to lead their daughters, specifically exposing them to the truthfulness and authority of God’s word. Though this reviewer prefers a more robust and scripturally-precise devotional, I appreciate the author’s desire to meet “fathers where they are” in their journey to spiritual leadership. My advice: Fathers, if you are going to use this devotional, make sure you explore the text yourself. Use it as a reference point, not a crutch.