Criteria for dating my daughters…
One of the vivid memories I have from when Madison was first born is holding her in one hand while just staring at her. I marveled at how such a tiny person could instantly have a grown man wrapped around her little finger. Now, that little girl is twelve-years-old, and she and her three-year-old twin sisters have me marveling in an entirely different way.
The twins are at that very adorable princess stage. Everything they wear at some point during the day turns into a dress, and they have very quickly discovered that the idea of them kissing a prince gets daddy a little wound up. They use every opportunity to talk about their favorite princes, and to giggle when they see the prince kiss his princess on Disney cartoons. They taunt me all the time, squealing, “Daddy, I’m going to kiss a prince!” while laughing hysterically. It is very cute, for now.
Madison has hit the age range that starts to accelerate the growth of gray hair for dads. The idea of boys being near our daughters causes the protective radar to be on full alert and gun sales to increase. That, coupled with puberty, and we dads are basically scarred for life. Why? Because we were once teenage boys with hormones and we are very, very afraid God will repay us for all of the gray hair we gave the fathers of girlfriends past.
So what do I want to teach my girls to look for in their future “prince?” What criteria will we have for guys who would like to date our daughters? I want our girls to pick good men who will honor them and treat them like the princesses they will always be in my mind. Here is my list of the top five things my daughters can use to know if they have a good one on the hook:
5. A man who will get the door for her and hold the door for others. Chivalry is not dead, and this is a sign you may have a guy with some honor. Of course there is a chance you may just have a player with dishonorable intentions, but those intentions will be revealed at some point. Having a guy who is thoughtful enough to get the door for you and others is a great start. You find this out very early in the process.
4. A man who brings her home before her curfew. Even if she wants to break curfew, he will still get her home early. This shows that he respects her by not getting her in trouble with her parents. It also shows that he is genuinely afraid of (or respectful of) her father. It is a very good thing, and she can be confident that he is genuinely concerned for her well being.
3. A man who has interests, goals, and dreams and who works hard. It is essential to determine whether she has picked a wandering generality or someone with some focus with whom she can pursue a future. She can also determine if he has a work ethic by the effort he is putting into bringing these goals and dreams to life. He doesn’t have to have everything figured out, but having goals for the future is important. He should want to serve the Lord in some way. Finally, she will have someone who will encourage her to pursue her own goals and dreams as well. We all have a purpose but it is our job to seek it, find it, and fulfill it. That is much easier when you have someone encouraging you along the way.
2. A man who will still want to date her after he and I have “a talk” about his intentions for my daughter while I clean my guns. Any man who wishes to date my daughter is going to have at least one long discussion with me first. Better yet, we will spend time with him on several occasions. We will get to know this young man very well before he will ever go anywhere alone with my daughter. This should eliminate “the player” from the equation as the ground rules of the possible relationship are discussed. He will know how precious my daughter is to me, and there will be no confusion on where the line is and the consequences if that line gets crossed. My goal here is to show my crazy gene and instill the fear of God in the young walking hormone.
1. A man who loves God and has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I still remember the day when Maddy came to an understanding of God’s truth and gave her life to Christ. She has been an enthusiastic follower of the Lord ever since. A man who does not have this same truth living inside of him just can’t measure up, understand, or know how to treat my daughter as she should be treated. How could he possibly love my daughter properly if he doesn’t know the love of the Lord? This is the most important start for the men that Maddy, Marin, and Moxie-Mae will eventually choose. There is no substitute for a foundation of faith. This one is a non-negotiable.
I can hear my sister and brother laughing out loud as they read this list because they have already gone through this stage of life with their own kids. They know how stressful it can be to parent a teenager. I am under no delusions that life does not always go as planned, and when it comes to our kids we have no guarantees that they will make good choices. I know my list may seem unrealistic for others with different beliefs or experiences, but I pray my daughters find men who meet this criteria because I know these are some of the things that will lead to a wonderful life.
Regardless of the choices they make, they will always be my princesses. I will do my best to prepare them for this very important time in their lives. In closing, BOYS BEWARE! When it comes to my girls and their future, I will be involved and I have guns. Just saying.
All the best,
PS- We will be using this same list when raising our boys and when teaching them how to treat girls.
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