There was an article written recently that told me I should stop dating my daughters because saying I "date" my daughters means I might want to be romantically linked to them.
Dating, after all, most commonly means (in the words of this article's author) "courting, pursuing a relationship with someone you're romantically or potentially sexually interested in."
Well, sh*t, if that's what people commonly think of a word I'd better give in to that notion and come up with a non-sexual term for the time I spend with my daughters.
Or, I could continue to not care what the traditional sense of a word is because the common use of a word is often horribly wrong. Like when people say marriage is "traditionally between a man and a woman," or women "traditionally stay home and raise the children."
Is going on romantic outings with your children wrong? Holy sh*t yes. Horribly wrong. But so is defaulting to the assumption that a 35-year-old man on what he has openly called a "date with his 4-year-old daughter" is looking to get romantically involved with his child.
Being a parent is hard enough without semantics leading people to wonder if they're doing something wrong. Building a relationship where my daughters feel they can talk to me about anything at any time is far more important to me than someone perversely thinking that when I announce I'm going on a dad-and-daughter date, I'm looking to engage with them on a romantic level.
I don't date my girls. I go on dates with them. It's all about an interpretation of a word, I know that, but attaching your personal interpretation to generalized statements is dangerous. There's another widely held definition of the word "date": the fruit of a date palm.
Now, when referring to my dad-and-daughter dates, I wouldn't expect anyone to think I'd be taking them on the fruit of a date palm. Why? Because I've applied common sense.
That's all I ask: apply common sense when you hear a dad, or a mom, suggest they're going on a date with their child. It doesn't matter if it's a dad with his girls, a dad with his boys, a mom with girls, a mom with boys, or any combination of any parent and any child. Do you think they're doing it to build a stronger bond between themselves and their children, or do you think they're building a romantic relationship?
If it's the former, tell them to have a great time. If it's the latter, call the police.
No, dads, I don't see any reason why you should stop going on dates with your daughters. I think the power we place on words is too great already. Dates are fun. They bring smiles, they bring laughter. If you're raising kids with open lines of communication, they might also bring tears from discussion of disappointments.
Go on dates with them when they're 4, 14, 34 -- and when they're 74 and they're the ones picking you up at your door.