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NOW IT'S YOUR TURN

Go find her and create a memory. Don't overthink it. Do it today. Keep it small. Someday Rachel will forget the day I took her to Dunkin Donuts. Someday she may forget the flowers and chocolate I took her at school. But how she felt when she got them is stored somewhere. A $2 donut and a little bit of time.

And it's worth repeating - get a picture with you in it. Like the lady who keeps a picture on her dresser of herself on her dads’ lap on the riding mower, it may be a real treasure one day. How much do you think that picture might mean to her? You never know.

If you have a tradition, keep it going. If you don't, start one. Mine is taking my daughters to a Wind River Ranch every summer, 19 weeks of horses and good times. So far. What will yours be? A letter Every Sunday, a picture every birthday, breakfast every Thursday of high school … every summer, every year, every day, something she can count on. Be the kind of dad that will take her to the same corner for a picture once a year. Memories for a lifetime. 

DAD TIP ON PHOTOS WITH HER: JPEGs and dusty boxes - where pictures go to die. Create a hard-bound photo album telling the story of her time with dad. In the back of Elizabeth's book I wrote, "This is a short story of your 18-year-old life. This book is to remind you of the good times, times of joy and laughter, adventure and love, times when life was good. Look at it when your spirits need a lift- it will remind you that there were good times in the past and there will be good times in the future."  One hundred and ten pages of photographic memories of things we did together. Plug for Shutterfly, they make it easy. 

 

And no, you will not always get it right. One day you will suggest something, and she will look at you like you just passed gas in the library. But don’t worry, whether she will admit it or not, or whether she consciously realizes it in the moment … it matters to her that you tried. That’s what she will remember. Never give up. Why is this so important? Because if you show her she’s worthy of your time and attention, in good times and hard times, what do you think she will expect from the men in her life? What kind of woman will she be in the world? You have so many opportunities to show her how valuable she is. And how she deserves to be treated.

Yes, there will be hard times and hard times create hard memories (hint: the teen years). We all get those. But if you stand by her in those times, she will remember that too. Let her know the love never stops. Plant a good memory in hard times.

IT'S NEVER TOO LATE. If your relationship with your daughter is not what you want it to be, it's not too late. If your relationship with her is terrible, it's not too late. Start now, start small. Be patient. My friend and author Sandra Chaney wrote in her endorsement of this project, "My dad and I did not have a very good relationship. Towards the end of his illness, he gave me a huge gift in the form of a letter in which he shared his love and admiration for me. It is a memory I still cherish till this day.... It's never too late! I know.”

I'm speaking to you women, too. I hope you will coach and support your partner in his efforts to build a deep bond with your daughter. You had a dad. Tell him about that relationship. Tell him what meant the most, tell him what hurt. Tell him what you really needed. Give him ideas for things to do with her.

I'm asking every man reading this to join The Every Sunday Project. Start by creating life-giving memories with her. Challenge your friends and brothers and every man you know with a daughter to step up and do the same.

 

The suffering in our teen community needs to stop. It's time for bold action and outrageous leadership dad. Be part of the solution. Join the project.

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CREATING MEMORIES WITH HER

How do you create memories with your daughter? Where do you start? Here’s a hint: start small. I have two words for you: Dunkin and donuts. It’s not complicated. Here’s another hint: It’s not the donut. If you have a tradition, keep it going. If you don’t, start one. A letter every Sunday, a picture every birthday. Something every summer, every year, every day. Something she can count on. That is more important than the thing itself.

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DEPOSITS IN THE MEMORY BANK

Over the years, I’ve asked many women to share memories of their fathers. Here are some of my favorites.

“AIRPORT HERO: It was the end of our family vacation. I was five years old. We turned in the rental car and were headed through the terminal to the gate. I realized I’d left my doll in the rental car. My mom said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll get a new one when we get home.’ But my dad scooped me up in his arms. We ran back through the terminal, got on the shuttle bus, and returned to the rental car place...

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It's been a five-year journey since I found Elizabeth on the floor of her bathroom. She's better now. She still has struggles, but she's better. We talk about important things now, the real stories. When I say it won't always be easy, I lived that. Every parent has lived that. When I say it will always be worth it, I mean it. The love never stops.

Think about your daughter. If someone, someday asks, "What is your best memory of your dad," - what will she say? Are you giving her something to say? Are you creating those memories that will last a lifetime? 

The best answers I got to this question always started with a smile. Give her lot of options dad, too many to choose. Tell me about a memory you created. Reach out -it's what this site is about.

But remember this: it's how you show up as a man and as a dad every day that matters the most. For great dads, every day is a Sunday. 

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