Dads – You Need To “Date” Your Daughters
The feedback & response we have been getting from our “Happily Ever After” teaching series at Eagle Pointe church has been off the charts! It has been amazing & humbling to see God working in SO MANY lives & families. So, for the next few weeks, I’ll be doing a series of blog postings about marriage & relationships to help all of us even further than just a 30 minute message on Sundays
Dads – You Need To “Date” Your Daughters
Many of you know that I am a HUGE proponents of “date nights”. As I will talk about next Sunday at Eagle Pointe Church, as we continue our “Happily Ever After”series, date nights are the only way Gina & I “get on the same page” in our lives, marriage, kids, home, ministry, etc. They are invaluable to the health of our marriage relationship! But I’ll save that idea for next Sunday & for another blog posting.
Today I want to talk about the importance of Dads “dating” their daughters. Dads – you have a tremendous God-given opportunity in the life of your family – & especially your daughters.
I’ve taken Brianna (now 12 yrs old) on a date once a week since she was an infant. It used to be Wendy’s for a frosty, then when we moved to ATL it became Bruster’s for an ice cream cone – somehow ice cream is usually involved. For the last 2 years it has been Chik-Fil-a every Friday morning before school. (There are VERY few exceptions to this – except for REAL emergencies I don’t schedule anything that will conflict) Again, I’ve been doing this since she was an infant and, if she will let me, I plan on doing it until Jesus takes me off of this planet! (BTW: I now do this with Emma & A.J. sometimes it’s out to eat, running errands, etc – but for today’s purpose I’ll focus mostly on Brianna)
Two main reasons why I do this…
#1 Reason– Besides Jesus, I want to be the number one influencer in my daughter’s life. I want her to feel like she can talk with me about ANYTHING (even though I know there are times she will choose not to)! And believe me, because of the openness of our relationship we have talked about things that I NEVER would have dreamed I would be discussing with my little girl! As awkward & uncomfortable as some of those discussions have been – THANK YOU GOD – that she felt comfortable enough to come to me rather than a friend or kid at school.
I want for her to feel connected, loved and special to me… and the ONLY way I can do that is by investing as much time into her as I can RIGHT NOW! I want her to reach her teenage years and be able to look back and see that I’ve always been there & desired to spend quality time with her… and no matter how crazy/hectic our lives were I always MADE time to spend with just her.
Here’s another thought – having done marriage/family counseling & having been a youth pastor for many years, I know how fragile the female, especially young female psyche is. Young girls NEED a strong male figure in their life who is providing unconditional love & acceptance, who is building up their self-esteem & confidence, & who is giving them physical attention & appropriate affection. They need it! They yearn for it! They crave it!
Listen – there is not a woman or young woman on the planet who does not battle daily with insecurity – because of the crap our society has been feeding them since they were little. And the God-given opportunity & responsibility we have as dads is – we can build up their self-esteem & their self-worth like no one else can. We can help them see themselves as the wonderful original masterpiece that God created them to be. That way when our world – our society – our media – & their peers tell them that they’re not good enough – talented enough – smart enough – or pretty enough – they won’t be as prone to listen.(Please re-read that last paragraph & let it soak in)
And guess what? If we as dads are not meeting those needs & providing that in their lives – they’ll go find another male figure who will – & trust me – you WILL NOT like who they find!
#2 Reason – I want to serve my wife. Listen – being a full time mom is exhausting!!! I personally do not understand how single moms do it! Being full-time mom is exhausting! They are always tired… ALWAYS! Their job never ends, they don’t get to punch a clock and go home! They hardly ever have time to themselves. They hardly ever get to sleep in. They hardly ever have any time to relax. SO…early on I decided that I would do “date day/night” with Brianna not only for my daughter… but also for my Gina. I want her to have time to sleep in… take a nap… relax… read… scrapbook… go to the gym… WHATEVER she wants to do!
Gina has told me many times that me making Brianna & now our other 2 kids a priority – communicates to her that I love her AND our family. (Now, me taking our 3 yr old wild man A.J. out gives Gina time to relax & restore her sanity) And guess what guys??? A happy, relaxed, & sane wife is a good thing for everybody!
Some helpful tips for Daddy Date Time:
#1 – You have to intentionally MAKE time to do this… Dads – we don’t “accidentally spends time with our kids!” Schedule it on your calendar like you would any other very important meeting.
#2 – Be patient! It may be awkward at first. Whether they’re 3, 8, 12, 16 – if you’re not used to really “talking” with each other it will take a while to open up the lines of communication & find your groove. Invest the time now to figure out how to communicate with them, rather than when they’re older & are facing a crisis.
#3 – Don’t allow interruptions! When Brianna, Emma, or A.J. and I are out spending time together I do not allow myself to be pulled into a conversation with other people – EVER! Let me be very clear… I work hard to protect this time with my kids. I do not EVER want them to feel second place to the church (that is how most pastor’s kids wind up resenting the church!) Now, I’m always polite & say “Hi” to people – but I do not allow others to take time away that I’ve dedicated to my kids!
#4 – The Cell phone is off-limits! Unless I KNOW that it is an emergency I won’t answer the phone. (BTW: How did humanity survive all those years without cell phones?) It kills me to see parents sitting in a restaurant with their kid & talking on a cell phone with someone else. That is NOT spending time with your kid! Guess what? Whoever calls you can actually survive a couple of hours until you call back.
That’s just some of the things I’ve learned after 12 yrs of trial & error figuring out how to do this. I’ve also had some great coaches like Dan Southerland, & Terry & Brenda Mashburn. I am nowhere near the perfect dad. Most days I’m just trying not to screw up. And as I said in this past Sunday’s message – there is a hierarchy of priorities God wants each of us to have in our lives. For me it is #1 – God, #2 – Gina’s husband, #3 – dad to my 3 kids, #4 – lead pastor of Eagle Pointe Church, & #5 – everything else… IN THAT ORDER. It is a fight to keep those things in order… but one I am willing to fight so that when I leave this planet one day – those who knew me the best would love (and miss) me the most.
Dads… don’t waste those early years with your kids… Carpe Diem!!!
*** Some parts/ideas borrowed from Bob Barnes, Dan Southerland, & Perry Noble