PERSPECTIVE: Date time
At the conclusion of the Father’s Day service, a dad met me in the foyer and introduced himself. He told me his daughter had been saved at Falls Creek and had been baptized in the service that day. He also told me he had been away from church a long time, but his daughter had convinced him to return. It was his first day. I challenged him to capture the heart of his daughter. To show her such love and respect that she would not need to find love from a man through a person who seeks her body and not her. I encouraged him to take the lead to develop her spiritually, and that would mean he must develop spiritually also. I ended by referring to the article below which I wrote some years ago. After praying with him and walking away, the Holy Spirit prompted me to reprint the article for the sake of men and their daughters and granddaughters.
“It is hard to believe that the little girl I speak about is now almost 26, a college and seminary graduate, and serves on the youth staff of one of our greatest churches. She has a healthy and humble self esteem and close walk with the Lord. She has saved herself for the one God is preparing for her and will be her life partner. This small, but important parenting skill was a key in her development as a godly woman.
I can think of few things more wonderful than the times I have spent on dates with my daughter. When she was younger, we took trips to McDonald’s, or we’d sneak off to Braum’s for ice cream. Later, there were treks to the mall and dress-up dinners at fancy restaurants. Now, we go to Starbucks for coffee and conversation.
Few things in life bring me more joy. Our times together allow me to observe the maturation process in my daughter. It seems like only yesterday when I sat at Braums’s with my beautiful little girl, her hair in long ringlets. She talked about school and church. Always at the center of conversation were stories about her friends. Through these little dates, I had opportunity to hear her heart, not just her words. We often talked about the things of the Lord, and I could see the spiritual transformation taking place in her life. What a joy to see her passion for the things of God grow and to observe the Lord fashioning her into a caring adult determined to serve God and people.
One of my most important reasons for our dates was to teach her how a young man should treat her. I wanted her to experience attentiveness, caring and politeness. I wanted her to know what it feels like for a man to cherish her, listen to her heart and be genuinely interested in those things she saw as important. Frankly, my greatest goal is to make it hard for the gorilla (translate—young man) who someday will become her husband. I want to set the bar high. She deserves the best!
Today, when we go on dates, I no longer look at the little girl in curls. Instead, I peer into the face of a beautiful young woman. She is intelligent, wise, witty, enthusiastic and a delight. Her passion for ministry and her love for the Lord and people fill my heart with joy unspeakable. Once, our time was spent responding and teaching her about life; now, I just sit and listen, enraptured with the reflection of Christ in her character. (OK, maybe I still do some teaching!)
One such date took place after she had just returned from a spring break mission trip. The two delightful hours we spent together seemed like only minutes. As I listened to her tell of the dynamic impact the week on mission had in her life, I thought to myself, “Wow, what a fortunate man I am!”
I am glad I started dating my daughter many years ago. The bond we share is indescribable. The blessings of these little snippets of time are incalculable. Someday, God will supplant me with another man in my Sissy’s life. It will be OK. But I may have to steal her away every now and then for a trip to Starbucks. Girls always need time with their dad.
Daddies, date your daughters. The dividends cannot be measured in her lifetime or yours. You may regret decisions you make at work or about investments. I promise—you will never regret trips to Braum’s, the zoo or to Starbucks with your daughters.”
Anthony L. Jordan is executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.