Daddy Daughter Dates. We understand the implication: time well spent between a father and his daughter. I love these moments with my little girl. She and I regularly have “dates”. However, it may not always be a fine dining dinner setting (though occasionally it is). It is more often an early morning run to the grocery store in pajamas where she helps me carry the hand basket from aisle to aisle. Sometimes we go to the park together or to the library for movies and books.
My case is not that dads have dates with their daughters since that seems fairly obvious – dads should absolutely date their daughters. I hope to show you that simple, everyday exchanges between dads and daughters may actually serve her better rather than an outing to a restaurant or a fancy place in the city. Simply put, daddies should not just date their daughters, they should involve them in the circumstances of the day as long she can handle it.
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The Death of Daddy Daughter Dates
Our daughter is REALLY smart. I know I’m supposed to say that, but I’ve seriously never met a 2.5 year old with a 6 year old’s vocabulary as well as a deep conceptual understanding of her circumstances. Because of this she regularly anticipates what’s next.
“What are we going to do after bedtime daddy? Are we going to have eggs, toast and yogurt for breakfast? Can I help you? Hmm Daddy? What are we going to do after that? I want to play hide and seek with you. I will hide and you will count, but you can’t open your eyes. Okay?!”
She loves knowing what’s next, but more than that she loves knowing she’s involved in what’s next. One of the ways Scarlette receives love is by my involving her in everyday tasks. From breakfast to sweeping, from playing to reading (she likes to turn the pages), she knows she has a place in the activities of our family’s life; she knows her daddy has a place for her in his life. This makes her feel loved and creates security that she is valued as a member of the Foster Home.
Men, do you involve your daughter in your day? Do you have daddy daughter days where your daughter is an integral part of the daily narrative or only daddy-daughter dates – isolated moments that can be sporadic and often unrealistic as she forms her image of a man? Both of these are good, but the first trumps the latter.
The Multi-Hatted Dad
As dads we serve numerous roles in the lives of our children: provider, protector, adventurer, disciplinarian and developer of character, an influencer in their identity, exemplifying manhood and husbandry, exemplifying who God is and how He feels about our/His children (if that one doesn’t scare you I don’t know what will).
My fear dads, is that keeping your children at bay in daily circumstances that “you can do better and faster” communicates that you only have time for them in situations they excel in or that don’t require much patience from you. When Scarlette helps me make pancakes I undoubtedly factor in the loss of one pancake to a kitchen counter spill; or maybe the loss of a few teaspoons of vanilla due to fidgety toddler motor skills. I have to be okay with this. Why?
Excluding my kids from the tasks they can “mess up” prohibits me from being the dad who leaves a legacy – it keeps me from the being the kind of example they need me to be. I am the controller who cares more about the details than my daughter. Letting Scarlette join me in grocery shopping, cooking, house care, etc. shows her that I value her company over the quality of her contribution to the task at hand. If I am going to be a successful multi-hatted dad I need to require more patience of myself than perfection of my daughter.
Less Daddy Daughter Dates and More Daddy Daughter Days
The way you navigate interactions with your kids communicates something to them. It doesn’t matter if you “meant to” convey something or not. You are communicating with them through the way you involve them (or exclude them) in your daily activities. You may be providing with a paycheck, protecting with an alarm system, disciplining when necessary, etc., but are you showing your children that their father has room in his heart for them and their desires? What are your actions teaching them about who God is and how He feels about them?
So dads, don’t just date your daughter (or your son). Instigate her engagement with you on a Daddy Daughter Day sort of level… she’ll be better for it in the end. I promise. And so will you.
Date her, but also “day” her.
You may also enjoy reading Let Dads Be Dads.