The delight of the daddy-daughter date

Dad James tells us how important spending one-to-one time with his daughters has become, and the opportunity it provides to talk about God …

As a dad of two girls I have had to learn many things quickly. From ponytails to the names of endless Disney princesses, I have become a resident expert – in fact just last week I progressed to nail polishing.

Parenting children of the opposite sex can have its challenges but it is also filled with immense opportunities. When my wife was pregnant with our first we attended a parenting class and I heard a golden nugget that I was determined to cultivate.

It seemed simple and it is. It’s a daddy-daughter date. I’m not talking about a day or time in the calendar. It is something much more special and strategic than that.

From before my first daughter was able to hold conversations we went on dates – to the park, coffee shop or simply walking the dog. Now these can be everyday activities, yet I specifically called some of them a daddy-daughter date.

They started with simple conversations around dolls and the colour of her dress, and they progressed to questions (lots of questions) about everything and anything. Just last month when we were on a date she asked me the best question yet: “Dad, how was your day at work?” She is getting the purpose of the safe space. It has taken nine years but we no longer talk about Disney princesses. Now these dates are established it has become natural for topics of God, faith and values to find their way into our conversations too. And hopefully she is learning something of the father heart of God as I give her my full, undivided attention for just those short periods of time.

An amazing and deeply humbling moment was when my youngest daughter declared she wanted to go on daddy-daughter dates as well. That was when I realised I would have to start the process all over again and have new opportunities to build my relationship with her, and sow seeds of faith into her life too.

My prayer for those daddy-daughter dates is a simple one – that the time cultivates a strong open and safe relationship with my daughters where we can talk about anything, including Jesus. I don’t know what the future holds nor how they will turn out, but I do know that not one minute will have been wasted.

Rather hours will have been invested into the lives of my daughters. Treating them like princesses will also hopefully inspire them to hold out for their prince in the future, rather than settling for any old toad.

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