Every Friday around 6:00PM, I take one of my four daughters on a little date. The agenda doesn’t vary much from week to week, or even from daughter to daughter. Here are our non-negotiables:
- Get a treat, like a cookie or an ice cream.
- Walk to the pet store to look at the mice and parakeets, or maybe swing and slide at the park.
- Cuddle up on the floor at the bookshop and read two or three children’s books.
- Choose a little treat to bring home to each of the other girls.
All this takes about ninety minutes and costs less than $10—the best investments I’ll ever make.
The germ of this idea came to me while we were on vacation in the Pico Bonito cloud forest near La Ceiba, Honduras. I don’t know what prompted it, but I do remember asking my daughter if she’d like to have breakfast—just the two of us—the following morning. “It could be like a date.” Her face beamed approval.
The next day, we arrived early to breakfast. No one else was even in the restaurant. “We’re on a date.” Our server smiled, and made a big show of delivering the plates with flair. We had banana pancakes, fresh fruit, and hot chocolate. My little girl could not stop smiling.
It’s a tradition now. The cookie store staff smile and ask, “How’s your date?” when they see us. The bookshop ladies know us by name and offer us new selections. Future boys, I’m setting the bar of expectation high. These girls will recognize attention, respect, and courtesy.
Sometimes I’m pretty run down by the end of the workweek, but I’ve got a date to keep. I’m so glad the girls keep asking me out.