When I became a father, God blessed me with a daughter and a
son. We have prayed for each of our children since the day they were born. One of the
great joys of being a father was to do special things with each of my children
that would be specific to them as a boy and girl.
As my daughter approached her Junior High School years, I
wanted to make sure she knew what it meant for a man to love and respect her as
a woman. For her first decade of life, Anna was able to watch me interact with
her mother. She saw my successes and
failures as a husband. I wanted the developing young woman inside my daughter to emerge with a healthy perspective when it came to relating to
At the time, we lived in Newport, Oregon, a small coastal
town. Our town was a destination spot for
tourists and was filled with wonderful restaurants. I knew the time had come for our first Daddy
Date and selected a quaint little Italian restaurant in the Nye Beach area and
For all her life, I had watched Anna grow into a wonderfully
grace-filled person. What her mother had modeled for her in her developing
womanhood was exercised later as an adult resulting in wise decisions when it
came to dating.
I remember, as a teenager, when Anna was going on one of her
first dates. We were going to have a talk about the right time to come home.
I was about to have the talk when Anna said to me, “Dad, I think I want to be
home by 10 – I have something I need to do for school tomorrow and don’t want
to be out late.” It is a tremendous blessing when kids make decisions like
this. To be honest, I was ready to say, “Be home by 11.”
When the day arrived for our Daddy Date, I made sure to
dress up a bit. I washed and cleaned the
car. I wanted Anna to see that I
anticipated my special time with her and that I was investing in that time
before it arrived.
When Anna came out of her bedroom she looked beautiful. I took her by the arm and walked her out to
the car and opened her door. She was smiling,
as was her mom who stood in the doorway of our home waving goodbye.
Once we arrived at the restaurant we were led to our table
and ordered dinner. As our dinner was
being prepared, I asked Anna questions about her life. I complimented her. I focused my attention on her. This was an occasion to love and appreciate
my daughter, but it was also a form of mentoring to make sure my daughter could
see the kind of man God wanted to send her way – a man who was interested in
her, loved her and appreciated her. This is what fathers should instill in
their girls so that when men enter their lives later on they will know the real
from the fake.
Fathers create strong images in the minds of their
daughters. Some of these images can be good and others not so good. Our daughters will leave our home carrying
these images into their dating and married life. It is so important that a father send his
girl forward in life with images of what a healthy dating life and marriage
A Daddy Date will eventually lead to real dates when fathers
are not present. Our girls will date young men who have yet to make the
transition to manhood. It is in these
places where a young man is not fully developed in his godliness that the gift
of honor and love a father sends with his daughter becomes a protective barrier
against harm and abuse.
When Anna and I finished our main course, we ordered
dessert. The evening was coming to a close. On the way home I felt good about our date. When we arrived home, Jan could see by the
smiles on our faces that we had a wonderful time.
In the years that have followed that first date, Anna and I
have had other Daddy Dates. Some of
these took place in between dating seasons with men who were not her
father. I always felt like the
investment Anna and I made in her life would help her navigate her future romantic
interests. These investments also helped
this father live with the peace that comes from knowing that his daughter was
ultimately in God’s hands.