Father’s Day, a wonderful day to honor Dads everywhere but also a great day to remember the important role they play. Of course we all know how great Dads are as role models to their sons whether it be emulating what a good provider and hard worker looks like or coaching their soccer teams to build that father-son bond. However what many fathers sometimes don’t realize is that in many ways they have more impact on their daughters than even their mothers especially during their early childhood and adolescence. It is this amazing, strong, intelligent man we call “Daddy” that can help create and solidify the values young girls have that carry them into the years we dread: adolescence. And we all know what will come along with adolescence…….now take your fingers out of your ears and face the truth……along with it will come D.A.T.I.N.G.
Every Dad on the planet can agree that they dread the day THAT boy shows up at the door ready to put their baby girl in his car for her first date. It’s like that scene in “Father of the Bride” where Annie is four years old telling her Dad she is getting married. We all know it will be that four year old girl in our mind getting in the car with THAT boy (which let’s be honest could be any guy really, we will still hate him). Knowing we must face the inevitable someday there are things we can do to ease the blow and know for certain that our little girls will make the best decisions they can in the boys they choose. The best thing we can do is to “date” our children.
Although this philosophy applies to mothers dating their sons as well, in the spirit of Father’s Day I’m going to focus on Daddy/Daughter dates. All households are aware that Dad is a busy man: up early for work, meetings, dinners, fixing things around the house. When Dad decides to put all of his commitments aside and dedicates a portion of the little time he has available and invites his daughter to spend an evening with him, it sends a message. It tells her she is important, valuable, worthwhile and loved. It tells her without words that she is above everything else a priority in the most important man in her world’s life. It provides us as parents an opportunity to set the groundwork and foundation from an impressionable age the way she should be valued and treated by a man while it teaches her how to believe she is deserving of these things as well. Once our daughters KNOW what they deserve, they won’t settle for anything less.
We have a pact in our house that starting at age 5 Brandon is going to start “dating” our daughters. For us what this means is one at a time (since they are twins it is important for them to have their own time designated just for them) they will get to spend an evening alone with Dad on a date. Dad will officially ring the doorbell, present them with a flower, walk them to the car and open the door for them. Sounds simple but is incredibly impactful. From there they will go to dinner, use their best table manners and have meaningful discussions. Meaningful at age 5 might be what they did with their imaginary friend that day, why ice-cream deserves a national holiday, and why unicorns and mermaids are 100% real but nonetheless probably the best conversation he will have all week.
So Dads, don’t stress too much about who your daughter will date first. YOU date her first. You continue to be the man that she always holds the bar to until the day she finds the one worthy enough to marry and raise her kids and your grandchildren. Trust that she will always make the right decisions. You have to because you taught her oh so very well.