Father’s Day is less than a week away! We hope this day is filled with celebrations and memories of the father-figures in your life. Today we’d like to share with you an excerpt from The One Year Father-Daughter Devotional by Jesse Florea, Leon C. Wirth, and Bob Smithouser. Our prayer is that this book and the passage below serve as ways for a father to bond with his daughter – what greater Father’s Day gift can there be for dads of girls!
Leon C. Wirth
I am the dad of eight girls. Yes . . . eight girls! I honestly love having these precious little ladies in my life. God has used them to sharpen my thinking, soften my heart, and give me a better understanding of his love. As I once told a friend a long time ago, “Either God knows exactly what I can handle, or he knows exactly what I need to knock the rough edges off of me and make me who he wants me to be.”
My friend replied with a chuckle, “I think it’s the latter.”
The journey of fatherhood with all these girls is a constant learning process. I am not a perfect dad—far from it. But I’ve learned from experience and the wise counsel of other dads that focused one-on-one time with our girls is absolutely necessary for the health of our relationship and for the health of our daughters.
I don’t need to tell you that the time flies by. Before we know it, our opportunity to guide and impact our daughters’ lives will be gone. We have to use the time well.
One of the most effective traditions we’ve established in our family is the Daddy-Daughter Date. It’s a practice that accomplishes an awful lot of good for us, and it gives me the chance to understand and affirm each of my girls’ unique personalities.
Why Do a Daddy-Daughter Date?
You are the very first man in your daughter’s life.
I know you may be thinking, I’ll be the only man in her life until she’s forty! But seriously, whenever she develops a relationship with any other man, you will be the first one she’ll compare him to. You shape your daughter’s expectations in relation to the opposite sex.
If you want your daughter to be confident, comfortable with herself, equipped to avoid high-risk and destructive behaviors, and prepared to have healthy relationships with men, you’ll want to build a good relationship with her now. Because our time with our daughters is short, and our lives are increasingly busy, make time to show your daughter how important she is. When you start doing regular daddy-daughter dates, she won’t let you stop! My daughters are constantly looking forward to their next turn.
Here are some of the best reasons I’ve enjoyed doing daddy-daughter dates:
-You get to know her better. She’s changing but you don’t always realize how unless you talk to her.
-She gets to know you better. Your daughter needs to start learning how men think and approach life. You can help her with that.
-Your curiosity about her heart and her life communicate your love.
-You get to know her likes and dislikes.
-She feels loved.
-She knows you care about her.
-She feels important and valuable.
-She feels safe. You’re giving her the gift of an opportunity to let you know how life is going in her world.
-She feels like a princess! Show her chivalry is not dead. Open car and building doors for her. Pull out her chair at restaurants. Tell her over and over again, “This is how a gentleman should treat a lady like yourself.” She might giggle a lot when she’s little, but deep inside, she’ll love it.
-She will raise the bar for all future dates, boyfriends, maybe even a husband based on how you treat her. You get to set the standard. I say, “Set that bar high!”
-You lay a foundation for the future of your relationship. Want to improve those teen years before you get there? Spend time with your daughter regularly before she turns thirteen.
-You get to know what her dreams are for the future.
-You can both use the time to reconnect and smooth over any rough patches that may have cropped up.
-She feels beautiful. You can never tell her too often “I love you!” and “You are beautiful!”
What Is a Daddy-Daughter Date?
A daddy-daughter date is simply scheduled time to connect and have fun together. It doesn’t have to be expensive, predictable, or complicated. The date can be anything you and your daughter make it. But it has to be regular. And, dads, if you schedule a date with your daughter—don’t break it. She has to know that she can count on you and trust you to follow through on your word.
Ask lots of questions on your date. Some girls talk easily, but others need coaxing and encouragement. Good questions will get the ball rolling.
-Ask “What if . . . ?” questions.
-Ask “Would you rather . . . or . . . ?” questions.
-Ask her who she most admires and why.
-Ask her what she believes and why. Give her room to ask hard questions—even about God. When you don’t know the answer to one of her tough questions, assure her that you’ll think about it, research it, and get back to her. Then . . . follow through! That builds her trust in you.
-Ask about her fears.
-Ask about her dreams.
-Ask about her friends.
And let her ask you lots of questions too!
Be creative. Be curious. Have fun!
May your daddy-daughter dates create wonderful memories for you and your young lady.
Adapted from/excerpted from The One Year Father-Daughter Devotional by Jesse Florea, Leon C. Wirth, and Bob Smithouser (Tyndale House Publishers, 2012).