It’s that season again… That’s right, Valentine’s Day is just a few weeks away.
I know some people boycott that “greeting card holiday,” and others see it as one more chance to show their love. To each his own, I suppose. But I also believe a lot of good things happen during February because there are father-daughter dances taking place all over the country. They are often fantastic events, and a lot of fun.
This week I heard about the annual Father-Daughter Dance in Valdosta, Georgia. It’s the biggest one in the country, and maybe the world. This is their 18th year holding the city-wide event, and they expect 5,200 to attend! They’ve had to offer four different sessions over two evenings just to accommodate all the dads and daughters.
And it’s spreading; based on the popularity of the Valdosta event, similar things are happening in cities around that region—and they’ll share their insights if you’d like to start an event in your area.
Now, let me repeat: to each his own. Maybe the dancing thing isn’t for you and your daughter, or maybe the event in your area doesn’t work into your schedule. But I do want to reinforce the great value of taking your daughter on dates.
For one thing, it’s just fun to go out one-on-one with your daughter. Also, when you’re out together doing something she enjoys, chances are it will be easier for her to open up and share ideas or just talk about what’s going on in her life.
And one of the biggest reasons for these dates is modeling. Your girls will probably have to sift through a lot of questionable characters before she finds a good one to spend time with—and even the good ones sometimes have lapses as they mature and learn about relationships.
As a father, you need to prepare your daughter for that, and daddy-daughter dates can play an important role. Even if your daughter is still years away from a serious relationship, you can start setting an example for how she should expect to be treated by a man.
Every so often—at least once or twice a year—you need to dress up, buy flowers, book dinner reservations at someplace semi-fancy and make it a “date”—whether it’s a formal February event or something you arrange.
Some other ideas for daddy-daughter time:
- Hang out together at the local bookstore coffeehouse.
- Movies and sports events can work for dates, but make sure you go for ice cream afterward, or do something else that gives you plenty of time to talk.
- Do something physical, like riding bikes, golf, rollerblading, or racquetball.
- Go for a drive around town and see the sights and watch people.
- Even shopping can be fun—and can bring up opportunities to talk about modesty.
If none of this sounds thrilling to you, please remember, dad: It’s not about you. This is an opportunity to invest yourself in your daughter, and remind her that she’s highly valued and loved. And if things are tense with her at home, then you both might need a reminder that you can laugh and have fun together.
What’s the best date you’ve had with your daughter? Tell us about it—and post a photo—either below or on our Facebook page.
A Few MORE Action Points for Dads on the Journey
- Make sure you take photos—either before you leave or while you’re doing something fun.
- Be tourists in your own city.
- Get 80+ more great date ideas in this book by Rob Teigen.
- If you’re married, of course plan something romantic for your bride also. Having a daddy-daughter date if you haven’t gone out with your wife in six months would not be cool.
Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: “Yes! I want tips on how to be a great dad who lives out loving, coaching and modeling for my children.