DEJECTED! That’s how I felt at 11:07am, this past Valentine’s Day.
I had been looking forward to Valentine’s Day, for a lot of reasons-one in particular was to surprise my 10 year-old daughter by bringing her a Rose and a box of candy while she was at school. I really wanted to do something out of the ordinary to make her feel extra-special, on a day that is designed to do just that. So, early that morning I went to the store, got the rose and the box of candy, and then headed to her school with great anticipation of seeing her face light up.
Upon arrival at the school, I proceeded to the front office to check-in. I asked the ladies in the office if it would be okay to bring my daughter the flower and the box of candy while she was in class, or would it be better for me to wait until lunch-time. They responded by saying, “You can’t bring those things to her.”
“Why not?” I asked.
“Because it’s against school policy.”
I inquired, “What’s the policy?”
“I’m not a delivery person, I’m just a dad who wants to make his daughter feel special and loved today. I don’t want to disrupt her class. Is there any way that I can just bring this to her at lunch-time?” I pleaded.
“You can’t do that, either.”
“Why not? Why is there a policy that says I can’t bring something to my daughter?”
“Because…Imagine how all the other children will feel if your little girl gets a flower and they don’t. It’s just not fair.” (Allow me point out he fact that this is an inconsistent policy, because the school allows other students to purchase Valentine’s Day suckers and then have them delivered to one another while in class. What on earth happens when one kid gets a sucker and another one doesn’t? I’m just saying…
“Well life’s not fair, lady! I’m just a dad who wants to show love to his little girl. Yet, someone in their infinite wisdom has decided to make a ridiculous policy that prohibits me from doing that! Frankly, your policy stinks! Thanks for keeping me from making my little girl feel extra-special on Valentine’s Day!” At least, that’s what I really wanted to say, but, I didn’t.
I just nodded and said, “Thank you, anyway.” I bit my tongue and walked away because I didn’t want to make waves at the school; my wife and I have worked far too hard to establish a good rapport with the faculty and administration. They really are a great group of people, who do a tremendous job investing in the lives of kids; and likewise, Karri and I have invested heavily in the school by volunteering regularly and supporting it in many other ways. We support the administration, and understand that if they were to let all the moms and dads bring flowers on Valentine’s Day, it would be complete chaos at the school that day. So, I get it.
I left the school feeling dejected, as if a grave injustice had just occurred. I began to wonder, “Why am I so upset? Is it really about a policy, or is it something deeper?” Do I have unresolved “Valentine” issues from Junior High School, or what?” The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was upset because I felt robbed of an opportunity to show love to my daughter, in an “extraordinary” way.
I waited until I got home from work and gave her my gift; she was still excited and certainly felt special. My daughter was completely unaware of my attempt to surprise her at school, and that’s okay. But in the midst of a holiday designed to be extravagant and extraordinary, I’m reminded of the importance to make the most of “ordinary” opportunities to show love, too. As a dad, it’s my job to insure that my daughter feels loved and valued, as well as to help her understand that God loves and values her.
I’m going to be more intentional about doing a few things on a regular-basis that will help to make sure my daughter feels loved and special in the “ordinary” moments.
Here’s my Top 5 list:
1. Make time for more “Daddy-Daughter” dates
2. Open the car door for her
3. Make sure that I’m fully aware that she’s watching how I treat her mom
4. Talk each night before bedtime about the things that may have “hurt her heart” earlier that day
5. Help her to recognize her gifts and talents, and be more encouraging of them
It’s imperative for dads to make their daughters feel special and show them love in a healthy way; it will set them up for healthy male relationships in the future. It may sound weird to some of you, but I pray regularly for my daughter’s future husband. I pray that he will be a godly man, and that he will love and accept my daughter for exactly who God created her to be. I pray that my daughter’s future husband will make her feel extraordinarily special as I have tried to do.
If you have a daughter, don’t wait for a holiday to create extraordinary moments-make the most of the ordinary ones. What is it that you need to work on to ensure that your daughter feels special and loved…not just on Valentine’s Day?