The Greatest Leadership Role

When my daughter became four years old, I began taking her on “dates” every Saturday morning.  The first time we went out it simply seemed like a nice idea.  I bought her a small flower arrangement and then took her to breakfast at Panera Bread Company (  She and I had such a great time that we decided to do it again the next Saturday.  The next thing we knew over four years had passed with us setting aside time every Saturday morning to go on “dates”.   We never missed.  

My daughter is now 11 years old and the last three years we have had to become more creative in how we intentionally set aside our time together but we still do.  This has resulted in an absolutely joyous and fulfilling time in my life and role as a father.

The following are 10 lessons I learned from seven years of regular dates with my daughter.

  1. It gives my wife some much-needed alone time.  She works very hard and I’m glad to give her down time to focus on herself.
  2. It gives me an opportunity to establish a benchmark of how my daughter should expect to be treated on real dates when she is older.  We cover everything – driving speed, opening doors, how to order, how to treat the waitress, etc…
  3. It gives my daughter and I a chance for relaxed, uninterrupted conversation.  I am also very strategic that these conversations are agendaless, fun and replenishing. 
  4. It gives me a chance to discuss her issues and agenda in a non-threatening environment which opens the door for me to suggest how to address those items.  Unless I invest in her, I should not expect to be heard.
  5. It builds a foundation for discussing her issues and concerns during the teenage and young adult years.
  6. It is very cost-effective.  We normally go to a local restaurant where we get a couple of muffins and water.  This $7 investment will yield a lifetime of significant results.
  7. It builds great memories.  I will always cherish the times we spent together.  Also, there are literally dozens of stuffed animals and souvenirs from our times together around the house.
  8. Children are just passing through.  I never knew how much my daughter growing up accelerates time.  The time I have to enjoy my daughter and be the primary influence in her life is very short.  Weekly dates allow me to make the most our time together because before I know it, she will be out of the house.
  9. I think I enjoy it more than she does.  Most relationships demand something from you.  The only thing my daughter demands is time.  And I gladly give it to her.  She makes me laugh and I just thoroughly enjoy her company.  The most rewarding leadership role in my life is as a husband and father.
  10. You get a first hand look at how God shapes a human life.  To watch how tender her heart is, the innocence in which she approaches life’s issues, her love for people and those who are hurting amazes me.  It also gives me a picture of her incredible potential and a peek at what God can do in her life.
  11. OK one more, my daughter now talks with me constantly throughout the week.  What a return on investment!!!  One of the favorite things I often hear when I get home from work is “Daddy, we need to take a walk.”  This is code for “I have an issue that I need to discuss with you.”  What a privilege!!

Fathers, if you’re looking for a way to increase your leadership in the place it matters the most – Your Home – and make wonderful memories, I can’t recommend enough setting aside time each week for your daughter.  Make the date!!!  You will enjoy it more than her and the dividends will last for years.


About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

9 Responses to “The Greatest Leadership Role”

  1. Christy Crosby Reply 09/29/2010 at 3:40 PM

    does your wife do something similar with her? I’m looking for something as a mom to do that encourages the same types of conversations. I think it’s just as important for the mom to have open lines of communication… this is a great post, i’m going to share it with my husband. CC

    • Christy,

      Thank you for your question and I hope your husband enjoys the post as much as you do. My wife does set aside time each week, usually a day after school, to go out for an ice cream and just download about what is going on. What most people don’t realize is we enjoy this far more than our daughter probably does. Let me know what your husband thinks.


  2. I lov u sooooo much
    this is the BEST blog u have written!

  3. windmillduke @BrianKDodd Dates with 4yold are teasers. Keep ’em going. Get’s tough at 15+. Then comes the granddaughter and it starts over: JOY!

  4. Kudos on an outstanding post/

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder


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