My daughter turned 14 last week, and no, she is not dating. She’s not even that interested in boys—yet.

But as her mother and I hosted her birthday overnighter—all girly and giggly with several of her middle school friends—I realized again that she will have a first date. And I remembered a list my friend Chris Roussin shared with me earlier this spring.

Chris has ministered with Lincoln Heights Christian Church in Phoenix, Arizona, since 2010. It’s an old church (started in 1885) with new growth, but Chris’s list wasn’t about that.

He shared five P’s he discussed with the guy who took his daughter on her first date. I love his list! In fact, I’m ready to deliver all five P’s to my daughter’s first date, too. The more I think about each point, the more I know what I want to say under each one.

1. Punctual

Be here when you say you’ll be here, and have her home when you say she’ll be home. My dad always taught me getting someplace just on time is late, so think about arriving 10 minutes or so early.

But if you do get here 10 minutes ahead of time, don’t be honking the horn in the driveway. She’s not opening the door till you come and ring the bell.

2. Place 

Be where you say you’re going to be, and nowhere else. If you decide to go someplace different, that’s OK—if you tell us first.

3. Protect

Since she was born, my job as her dad has been to protect her. Someday her husband will take over that responsibility. While she’s dating, her dates and I will share that duty. Take it seriously.

Remember the small things. When you’re walking together, position yourself closest to the curb with her on the inside. Keep her safe.

Remember the big things. Drive to keep her safe with you on the road.

This leads me to one category of “protect” that deserves it’s own important “P.”

My now 14-year-old daughter Ella

My now 14-year-old daughter Ella


4. Purity 

Keep my daughter pure. I can’t be with you every moment, and so I’m trusting you and my daughter with her purity. She and I have talked about what it means for her to remain pure. I need to tell you what she and I decided.

5. Point her to Jesus

If you’re committed to helping her grow closer to Jesus, these other P-points will fall into place more naturally. Her connection to Jesus is the most important relationship she’ll ever have—more important than her relationship with me, more important than her relationship with you. You can help move her closer to Jesus.

If this sounds a little heavy, let me add that Chris has gone one step farther. He has purchased a sword for each of his daughters, and on each sword he has engraved Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (NKJV). The swords are hanging on a wall in his house, and he intends to give each daughter’s sword to her groom at their rehearsal dinner the night before they’re married.

Chris and I are part of the same mentor group led by Cal Jernigan, minister with Central Christian Church in Mesa, Arizona. Our friendship is another example of a reality I’m discovering. Leaders are learners, and if you’re learning from other leaders, that will influence every aspect of your life.

Even what you’ll tell the first guy who decides to date your daughter.

What were the rules for dating in your home, or what rules do you have for those that are going to date your children? Let us know in the comments below. 

Trevor DeVageComment