Sometimes books with a simple title are the most arresting. That was the case with the book Daddy Dates: Four Daughters, One Clueless Dad, and His Quest to Win Their Hearts by Greg Wright. This tells his story of the conviction that he needed to “date” his daughters so that he could enter their world and connect with them so that he could speak into their lives and help them become strong, confident young women.
Wright tells of how he came to the understanding that he needed to date his daughters. He also goes through how he approaches these dates and tells stories of some of the more memorable ones. A particularly helpful section works through how relating to your daughters at different stages of their growth and maturity.
Recently I was reading criticism of the idea of “daddy dates.” Most of it centered on the fact that you don’t hear of this with mothers and sons, so it must be a holdover of patriarchy and the idea that the daughter is her father’s property. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fathers investing in the lives of their daughters in this way flows from a couple of practical observations. First is that the father has to work hard to understand his daughter and where she is coming from. This is especially true in the early teenage years as she begins dealing with issues that a father has never experienced and has a hard time understanding. Also, a father knows that there will be a day when boys begin calling on his daughter. It’s important for her to have a healthy understanding of how she should be treated and fathers have a great opportunity to set that expectation. (Also, we can’t really point to any actual problems that arise from a father being good to his daughter and entering into her world. Yet, we can find a plethora of issues that arise from a father being absent from his daughter’s world.)
Wright addresses this issue from the perspective of a man who is a Christian. He sees that this is a responsibility that has been given by God and that men need to steward it well. Wright never explicitly mentions the Gospel and apart from it raising your daughter well can become an act of sheer moralistic determination. Readers will have to remember the Gospel as they read through this work. (As I’ve said before, everything can’t have Gospel in the title.)
Daddy Dates is full of practical wisdom and helpful challenges to men who are raising daughters. My only frustration with it is that it ran a little too long. He could have made the same point and had a greater impact by cutting the number of pages.
(You can read other book reviews and takeaways here.)