One of the best books I read shortly after the birth of our oldest daughter – nearly 11 years ago – was titled What a Difference a Daddy Makes: The Indelible Imprint a Dad Leaves on His Daughter’s Life by Dr. Kevin Lehman.
I found this book to be very insightful and helpful as a new father.
The most important lesson this book taught me was the crucial role that the opposite gender parent plays in the healthy development of their opposite gender child.
While both parental roles are important Dr. Lehman asserts that the role of the mom has a critical impact on her sons, while the role of the dad has a critical impact on his daughters.
Why Dads Matter
Without all the Oedipal and Freudian psycho-sexual overtones, Lehman simply states in the book that dads establish the definition for their daughters of how a man is supposed to love and interact with a woman in a healthy relationship.
The dad not only establishes and reinforces a positive relationship with his wife – which the girls observe and internalize – but the dad also establishes a positive relationship with the girls themselves by being present as well as understanding and believing in them.
To reinforce those positive experiences with my girls, I’ll seek out “date night” opportunities with them. Last night was one such night and it was a complete surprise to our daughters.
Daddy-Daughter Date Night
The girls and I participated in a Daddy-Daughter Date Night event at a local Chik-fil-A restaurant. My wife and I were co-conspirators in keeping the secret from the girls to maximize the impact of the evening.
We made reservations online and when the girls and I got to the restaurant, there was a section cordoned off for the event complete with decorations and a red carpet.
I was encouraged to see that the Daddy-Daughter section was amply stocked with fathers who took their role as dads as seriously as I do.
Special Memories Created
The young lady who greeted us, and happened to be the event organizer, gave each of my girls a rose and escorted us to our table, where we had table-side service for the meal.
She also took our picture and gave us a copy of the photo as a memento of the night before we left, as well as provided us with a brochure packed with conversation starters that we talked and laughed about while we ate.
After the meal I took the girls to see a funny animated movie, Hotel Transylvania that centered around the relationship of a father and his daughter.
The Best Part
It was a great date and we got home a little before 9pm – which my girls couldn’t get over because it was a school night!
The pinnacle of the evening came as my wife and I tucked our daughters into their respective beds and each of them told us – unprompted – that it was the best time they had in a long time and they’ll never forget it.
What more could a dad ask for?
Question: How have you spent special time with your children?