Will you be my date?
In the late 90s I heard a fathering talk by parenting guru, Ian Grant, and it totally transformed my relationship with my girls. What got me thinking was Ian’s suggestion that it’s the role of a father to teach his daughters how to date responsibly – not the role of their first boyfriend. It intrigued me, because at that time, I had three daughters aged between four and eight.
So ‘daddy dating’ it was. But this did not come naturally to me at first. I often cancelled dates if I was too tired or too busy and it took my wife to point out the message I was sending to my daughters – that work was more important than them. That was the jolt I needed, and from that day onwards, Thursdays have been my special date night with my girls.
Over the last 16 years, ‘daddy dating’ has helped me create an amazing bond with my princesses. Not only have we gotten to know each other incredibly well, but we share so many special memories too. Another unplanned benefit has been giving the queen of our castle a well-deserved night off every week. Recently I asked my girls whether we would continue to ‘date’ after they’re married and have left home. Their response was an overwhelming, “Absolutely!” I asked, “What about your own families? What will they be doing during our dates?” Their reply was, “Their own daddy dates of course!”
As a parent working full-time, any opportunity I get to spend time with my 10-year-old daughter, Sophie, is special. The school holidays are normally a good opportunity to be with our kids, but this can be a challenge when balancing the demands of running a business.
My solution has been to take my daughter on business trips with me during the school holidays. During the April holidays, Sophie became my ‘Personal Assistant’, and accompanied me to Hamilton to meet with clients. She was extremely excited, because not only was she getting to spend time with dad, she was actually going to be helping me with my work. Sophie made sure she was dressed in her most professional outfit, and with the help of her Nana and Poppa, made a lanyard with her name and title on it.
My clients were great with Sophie, allowing her to participate in our meetings by taking notes. Sophie now has a better understanding of what I do for a living and it was such fun getting to hang out at the same time. I am so proud of her and the way she conducted herself on our recent business trip, and I can’t wait for the next one.