Growing up with two sisters, a part of me always hoped that, if blessed to marry and become a father, God would provide for me a son.
Indeed, I found love with my wife, and together, we have been doubly blessed with two young boys.
However, God’s blessings did not stop with them, as He also has given us a beautiful daughter, who recently celebrated her fourth birthday.
I am very fortunate to have a strong relationship with our sons, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy having a daughter, growing ever more closely with her.
This little girl, whom I affectionately call “Peanut,” has always been Mommy’s best friend. Lately, however, she has taken to Daddy more and more, allowing us to develop a special bond as well.
With each passing day, I am learning the value – and honor – of my responsibility being a dad to a little girl.
As her earthly father called to reflect her Heavenly Father, I take with great pride and seriousness my vocation to live as a human mirror of the image of God. Much like with our sons, it is part of my mission, I believe, to help her discover and appreciate God’s love and path for her through our life and love together. (Proverbs 22:6)
A primary factor in a positive and healthy father-daughter relationship is for the dad to be both interested in and involved in his daughter’s life. Beyond simply checking in on her day, this means to be genuinely active, spending time together, and learning about her as a person. What does she love? What inspires her? What fills her heart with joy? What scares her?
I truly relish my opportunities spent with our girl, exploring what interests excite her and celebrating those together. Both similar to and unique from our relationship with our sons, I am increasingly enjoying the journey with my wife to nurture our daughter’s whole development as a child of God.
I am reminding myself to savor the smaller flashes together these days. After all, they will not last forever – like holding her tiny hand as we walk down the stairs, as I know such times will vanish in the proverbial blink of an eye, only to resume briefly when walking her down the aisle on her wedding day.
No matter how simple they may seem (for instance, eating a bowl of cereal while clanging spoons and making faces together as her brothers get ready to catch the morning school bus), we ensure we make the most of our shared moments.
If you’re looking to form some quality bonding time with your little girl, here are some other ways you can enjoy treasured occasions together:
- A trip to the local park – There are few greater pleasures in life than hearing a child laugh. Seeing our daughter smile while roaring gleefully on the teeter-totter or when I catch her at the bottom of the slide gives me a feeling like no other. I hold such pride watching her climb ladders or play in the sand. Plus, the walk on the way gives us a great chance to have some easygoing but meaningful chats.
- A drive & a donut – Sometimes, the two of us will be home alone while my wife is out with our sons. In addition to playing outside or around the house, such an occasion can call for us to head out for a hot chocolate and a cookie, or a donut or even ice cream. While the treat is the tastiest part of the trip, our talks in the car can give me a deeper glimpse into her thoughts, having her share about anything ranging from preschool friends and activities to questions about God and Heaven. Taking a souvenir picture is not a bad way of keeping a tangible memory for down the road.
- Tap into your inner artist – Our daughter loves to sit at the table and color, paint and build things out of magnetic tiles. Whether it’s a lazy Saturday afternoon or an activity to wind down before bedtime, she always enjoys showing her creative side. Sitting next to her with crayons in hand or stacking blocks is a fun opportunity to spend time together, relaxing and laughing, growing closer with one another. Having some quiet tunes playing in the background can strengthen the experience (our favorite is praise and worship music).
- Be a bookworm – Reading together on the couch can provide some warm cuddle time while also serving well to deepen a child’s vocabulary and imagination. I find using different character voices and asking our daughter questions about each page’s events can also keep her sharp and engaged.
- It’s the little things that count – Any chance we have for play-wrestling, racing in the backyard, or piggyback rides, we always try to jump at them. These can release any stress while encouraging plenty of laughter, renewing Daddy’s inner child at the same time.
- Just talk it out – While not an organized date activity, special conversation with our little girl can be had anytime and in any environment. It is important she be reminded of her beauty on the inside, not just on the outside. It is equally important for me to encourage her to live virtuously; to always try her best, trusting God will take care of the rest (Joshua 1:9); and to treat others with kindness (Micah 6:8). These Daddy gifts of wisdom can be complemented by sticky notes on her wall or dresser, mentioning Biblical passages of God’s love for her.
Just like our boys, I know our daughter will continue to grow and life will surely get busier still. Yet, these precious moments can remain with her – and me – forever. I wish for her to remember these days with a smile on her face, knowing our Daddy-daughter relationship is a treasure I would not trade for anything.
What are some of your special activities with your little girl? Feel free to share them with us here at Minno or pass them along to someone else so they can enjoy some more quality time with their daughter, too.