I love spending time with my two and a half year old daughter. She is so full of personality and beaming with curiosity. Unfortunately, with my busy schedule as a pastor, I do not get to spend a huge amount of quality time with her every day. At the end of the day, although mentally drained, I try to relieve my wife of tending to the ever increasing demands of our energetic toddler. When I walk in the door, we begin our typical evening consisting of dinner, an evening walk, bath time, reading, singing, prayer time, and bedtime. This evening routine moves quite rapidly and leaves little margin for spontaneous amusement. This pattern left me responding to life rather than creating intentional opportunities to spend with my daughter. Thankfully, soon after Ella Joy’s first birthday, I was challenged from a post by Pastor Perry Noble to “date my daughter”.
I have tried to regularly date my daughter. We may go to McDonald’s for breakfast or I may make a special breakfast for just the two of us. This is an uninterrupted time that I treat much like a date with my wife. Here is the key component of my dates with my daughter: THEY ARE INTENTIONAL. I plan them ahead of time. I don’t let other people interrupt our date. I only answer the phone if my wife calls. I plan our date on my weekly Sabbath so that I don’t have to be rushed by the rest of the day’s schedule. My dates with my daughter have to be on purpose.
This morning I woke up and made pancakes with Ella Joy. She helped me stir the pancake mix and add chocolate chips to the batter. We had a great time together. Here are a few lessons I learned from this morning’s Daddy-Daughter Breakfast Date:
1. There are no rules.
Ella Joy wanted to eat the chocolate chips out of the pancakes. Any other breakfast when I would have been concerned with her eating a well balanced breakfast, I would have corrected her. Not on our date. I want this to be a time of creating memories. So I don’t rebuke unless she is going to harm herself.
2. Improvise and Go with the Flow
After making pancakes, I then realized that we didn’t have any pancake syrup. So what do we do? Bumps in the road cannot ruin our date. So we add some peanut butter or a few more chocolate chips. Be willing to go with the flow of the date and just enjoy being together.
3. Focus on the Relationship and not the Agenda
After breakfast I though going for a walk would be fun. Ella Joy didn’t agree. She preferred for me to push her in her swing. I didn’t argue because my focus was to spend time with my daughter. I didn’t care about accomplishing my plans for our date.
If you’re a dad, rather than receiving honor this Father’s Day for being a dad, use it to remind you of the high calling you have received and the enormous influence that has been gifted to you. Be intentional about the influence you have with your kids. Bless them with your presence regularly and intentionally. When you do so, you will bless their lives more than you can ever know! How have you been intentional at raising your kids? Keep the conversation going by leaving a comment.
For more information about dating your daughter, check out this incredibly practical book
88 Great Daddy-Daughter Dates: Fun, Easy & Creative Ways to Build Memories Together by Rob and Joanna Teigen. This is a fantastIc resources outlining simple ideas for creative daddy-daughter dates. You can pick up this resource by clicking on the image below: