“Daddy, daddy! Is it almost time for Daddy/Daughter date night?” These are the words spoken to me by my little Ellie (6 years old) at least once a week throughout the year.  Every February, Pleasant Valley Community Church hosts a daddy/daughter date night.  It is a night filled with food, laughter, games, dancing, pulled muscles, and Icy Hot (at least for the dads).

For Ellie, she gets as excited about daddy/daughter date night as I do when I think about going to see Garth Brooks live in concert here in a few months.  Ellie picks out her outfit at least a week (sometimes 2 weeks) in advance.  We practice dancing for nights leading up to the big date.  There are a lot of things that make me happy in this life, but very few things make me more happy than seeing such joy and sparkle in my little girl’s eyes.

If you are a father or grandfather and have a special young lady (or ladies) in your life, here are 4 reasons I encourage you to take them on dates regularly.

1) They are only young for a little while.  We will blink, and our 6 year olds will be 26.    Date your daughter while you can, because the day is coming all-to-soon when another boy will be the one taking her out (as I think about this, not only is my blood-pressure rising, but I’m shining my gun).  The days are long, but the years are short.  I know we are busy.  I know in the evenings we often just want to put on our house shoes and crash.  But when our girls leave the house someday, we would give anything in the world to have these years back again.  So dads, date them now, because they are only young for a little while.

2) Our daughters need to hear their daddies tell them they are beautiful. If we don’t tell them, somebody else will – and it may not be a good source. Our daughters need affection. They need attention.  If they’re not getting it from home, there are plenty of boys and men out there that will give it to them.

Additionally, one of the greatest struggles with so many young girls today is body-image issues. Our daughters are beautiful, but when they look in the mirror, that’s not what many of them see.   There are precious young ladies that cry their eyes out every night because when they look at themselves, they hate what they see.  So don’t just date your daughter, but tell her she’s beautiful.  Whatever you do, don’t EVER, EVER, EVER . . . make comments to them (even jokingly) about being overweight.  Our girls are already comparing themselves to all the other skinnier girls at school and the covers of Victoria’s Secret magazine.  There’s so much pressure already, so we better be the first in line to tell them they’re beautiful.

3) Show healthy, appropriate, physical affection to your daughter, regardless of her age.  A while back, I heard a conversation about this subject on James Dobson’s radio show.  They discussed how dads are really good about holding and showing physical affection to our girls when they are really young, but as they begin to grow into their teenage years, it becomes awkward for many fathers.  Yet fathers, this may be when our daughters need our affection more than ever.  If we don’t hold them and hug them, somebody else probably will.

This is one of the things that I appreciate and admire the most about my father-in-law, Greg Cruse.  While his daughters (Annie and Kelly) are in their 20s and 30s, he still shows them appropriate physical affection (and always has).  This isn’t weird; this is a sign of a healthy relationship.  It is my belief that this is one of the reasons neither of his daughters were involved in sexually promiscuous behavior prior to marriage.  So dads, don’t just date your daughters, but hold their hands.  Dance with them.  Hold them.  The safest place in the world for a daughter should be in the arms of her father.

4) Finally, we should date our daughters because in doing so, we are showing a wonderful example to our sons.  In most cases, our boys will someday be husbands fathers themselves.  They should see us date both their mommies and their sisters.  Biblical manhood isn’t one that says, “Woman, get me my chips.”  Biblical manhood displays humble, gentle, sacrificial love for the women God has placed in our lives – whether they are 3 years old or 83 years old.

If a man is too busy to date his wife and daughters, he is too busy.  So fathers, date your girls.  In 20 years from now, I promise you won’t regret it.

Men, if you’re a part of PVCC, join us for daddy/daughter date night this Friday night.  It’s not too late to sign up; just make sure you call the church office at 270-926-2888 no later than 2:30pm on Wednesday, February 17.