One hundred daughters celebrated Valentine’s Day with the first man in their lives—their fathers.
Contributed By Melissa Chen
Hashim, who is in the construction and refinery industry, has always wished that he could spend more time with his 11-year-old daughter, Alicia. He admits, “As I have been working extra shifts to support the family, I have not been able to be there for my daughter during her growing up years.” An opportunity to break the ice and re-establish the father-daughter bond arose during the Date With Dad event recently, organized by Focus on the Family Singapore.
Held on Feb. 12 at the Ilkua Seaview Dining restaurant at Changi Beach Club, the event aimed to create a platform to help fathers like Hashim connect with their daughters in a meaningful way while affirming their worth. Hashim was one of the 100 father-and-daughter pairs who attended the event, back for the third year running as part of a month-long campaign to encourage fathers to assume their unique role in their daughter’s life. Social research has shown that a girl’s future romantic relationships are largely determined by how her father affirms her worth. In fact, it is the father who sets the standard for his daughter’s future suitors by exemplifying the way she should be treated—with respect and honor.
Over a three-course lunch date, the girls, aged 9 to 24, shared an afternoon that was fun and emotional as well as engaging and heart-warming with their fathers. Exuberant cheers, laughter and clapping ensued as different pairs of parent and child volunteered themselves to participate in games such as the fastest text messaging skills, tying of ties and hair, painting of nails and sharing a can of soft drink. There were also photo-taking sessions for the participants to capture the day’s memories, and quizzes that allowed for a better understanding of each other.
Parent and child bonded over meaningful talk, spurred on by conversation starters like “What makes you cry?” and “How do you know if a person really loves you?” It was then followed by two live performances as Joanne Chim, 16, surprised her father with a song. Another father designed a photo collage for his daughter and sang the hit Bruno Mars song “Just The Way You Are” to his daughter.
The participants also got to express their love and thoughts through a letter writing segment. Mark Vera, a counselor who specializes in prison ministry, said, “I personally do not have a dad who is expressive in his love for me. However, I want Gabriella to have a father who loves her. That’s why I have given up a lot of my personal time to spend time with her. We will write letters to each other too.”
The event concluded with each father reciting a pledge to his daughter as he presented her with a “purity ring”—a sign of his commitment to help her guard her purity until her wedding day. The ring also served as a reminder to the daughter that she is worth the wait. The event concluded with the closing song “Worth The Wait” as father and daughter strolled down the boardwalk to enjoy the scenic landscape.
Ruth Kan, Focus on the Family’s Youth Ambassador, shared, “We’ve seen dads returning the subsequent year with their younger daughter as a rite of passage. Dads, you need to be the first man your daughter gives her heart to, lest she gives herself to one less worthy who may not value her or have her best interests at heart.”