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Dear Dads Everywhere

I wouldn’t call my relationship with my father close, but we’ve worked on it more in these latter years. He saw my recent posts on Facebook indicating I was in town and asked me on a lunch date today before I head back to Austin. Nothing fancy, a simple lunch, but lovely just the same. He’s never asked me on a date before, but said, “..every once in a green moon, we shall have each other for a date..” which lent inference to me that we would be having more dates. At the end of our date and before he dropped me off at the airport he told me some things contrary to the man I’ve known him to be in the past – hard to please, not very affectionate, and rough around the edges.

The exact content of what he said is private and just for me and him, but all you need to know is he revealed his sensitive side, he expressed a deep pride for me I didn’t know exist until then, and he acknowledged me in a way I don’t remember he’s done before, ever. It was all quite sweet and made me think, “It’s never too late to try to do better.” (And quite frankly that sentiment applies to all aspects of life, not just in the repair of relationships.)

So this all got me to thinking…

Dear Dads Everywhere, please take your daughter out on dates regularly, when she’s 5, 12, 16, and even when she’s 40. Actually ask her for the date. Dress up. Open her door. Pull out her chair. Give her flowers. Engage her in conversation and dote on her a bit. Your dates will teach her how to recognize when a man is treating her well, but more importantly she will learn to recognize when a man isn’t.

Asking her out will teach her to insist a man provide clarity in his intentions. It will teach her the difference between the guy who “just wants to hang out” verses the guy who respects her enough to clarify his intentions up front. Dressing up will lend proof to her that these dates, and she, are special enough to you to make that added effort to look good for her. Opening doors and pulling out chairs are simply good manners. A boy with good manners shouldn’t be the exception, those manners should be the expectation. Giving her flowers are an indicator of thoughtfulness, that you thought of her and prepared for your date.

Engaging her in conversation may be the most important, or maybe just my favorite, item on this list. It teaches your daughter that meaningful conversations are necessary to build a relationship. Additionally, she will learn that such conversations aren’t supposed to be one sided or limited to what only one of you want to talk about it. It teaches her to actively listen so she can respond thoughtfully, and then to rightfully expect a man to listen to her when she’s speaking so he can do the same. Doting on her just a bit, well, that serves as her reminder, that you do see her, that you are paying attention. Doting on her is just one more way for you to show her acknowledgment of who she is and how much she means to you.

I write this knowing that a dad isn’t anything less than great just because he doesn’t go on father daughter dates. Many a father shines just fine going without. I only mean to point out that there are added lessons a father can teach his daughter when taking her out on regular dates.

I’ve always thought that there is some truth to Freud’s theories about love. I do believe that children form their ideas of what love should look like based on the relationships they have with their opposite sex parents. So goes that a mother is a son’s first love and a father is a daughter’s. More often than not, it seems mothers embrace this role with their sons. That may have something to do with society’s common expectation that the mother is supposed to be the nurturing parent, the loving and affectionate one. Yet not so much with the father. Society seems to place a lower threshold for how affectionate and involved a father’s relationship should look like with his children. I disagree with that type of thinking and think it serves detrimental to our daughters.

The media and our social cultures send our young women so many negative messages about who they are and aren’t supposed to be and how society views them, how society is encouraged to view them. I think that one of the best ways to combat those messages and teach our daughters how they ought to expect the world, and the men in it, to treat them is to make sure that their fathers show them daily by example.

So back to my earlier request.

Dear Dads Everywhere, please consider taking your daughter(s) out on dates regularly, when she’s 5, 12, 16, and even when she’s 40, because each time you do you make her world that much better, I promise.

 

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. james bustos
    January 30, 2016 at 9:50 PM

    I already do what your saying! I love your words of wisdom and encouragement!!

  2. February 1, 2016 at 5:34 AM

    This is the first time I read your blog! Beautiful said!

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