FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Making Men of Boys

with Dennis Rainey | March 25, 2011
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A father's involvement not only makes a difference in his daughter's life, but, also, can be a tremendous influence on his daughter's dates. Today on the broadcast, Dennis Rainey tells why it's beneficial for fathers to interview their daughters' dates. Hear him tell why the interview process encourages young men to be men and to be accountable for their actions.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • A father's involvement not only makes a difference in his daughter's life, but, also, can be a tremendous influence on his daughter's dates. Today on the broadcast, Dennis Rainey tells why it's beneficial for fathers to interview their daughters' dates. Hear him tell why the interview process encourages young men to be men and to be accountable for their actions.

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

A father’s involvement can be a tremendous influence on his daughter’s dates.

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Making Men of Boys

With Dennis Rainey
March 25, 2011
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Bob:  You know, when you talk to most young men about having a long-range view of things, they usually think about the weekend after next.  Dennis Rainey says it's possible to cast a vision with a young man when he's thinking about taking your daughter out on a date by asking him a very pointed question.

Dennis:  Let's say that another young lady somewhere is growing up right now and tonight she's going out on a date.  Would you prefer that her father be interviewing the young man who is taking out your future wife?  Well, you know, my daughter is probably somebody else's wife, and I'm calling on you to treat her with the same dignity you would like another young man to treat your future wife, if he was taking her on a date tonight.

Bob:  This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, March 25th.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey; and I'm Bob Lepine.  We'll hear some thoughts from Dennis today on questions you could ask a young man during a pre-date interview before he takes your daughter out. 

And welcome to FamilyLife Today.  Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition.  This week we have been talking about a counter-cultural, maybe strange-sounding concept.

Dennis:  Oh, I think only strange because those that are doing it don't talk about it a lot, but as I've talked about it here on FamilyLife Today and at conferences and events where I've spoken, I've found that there's a lot of men who are interviewing their daughter's date.

Bob:  If you had to guess, percentage-wise, all the dads in America who have daughters, and their daughters are teenagers, and their daughters are being asked out on dates by young men -- if there are 100 of those, how many of the dads are interviewing the dates, do you think?

Dennis:  I think, in some form or another, up to 10 percent.  I don't think it is 90 percent, which is what you'd wish, but …

Bob:  Were you ever interviewed?  Did any dad ever pull you aside and say, "I want to talk to you?"

Dennis:  Not that I know of.  I should have been, I mean, looking back on it, I wish there had been a dad sat me down and say, "Young man, let's have a conversation here."

Bob:  In our day, there was this kind of, oh, you have to meet the parents before you take the daughter out.  I remember being taught you don't just sit at the curb and honk.  You go up to the house, and you meet the mom and you meet the dad, and that was about all there was to it.  I figure you just have to make a good impression for about 90 seconds, and then you're out of there, you know?  So that was kind of the bare threshold minimum.  But how many dads …

Dennis:  So you cleared the hurdle, huh?

Bob:  Yeah, I mean, most of us can get by for 90 seconds, right?

Dennis:  Right.

Bob:  But how many dads do you think out of 100 -- if 10 percent are doing something, how many out of 100 are having the kind of heart-to-heart that you're talking about, a serious conversation before the young lady leaves the house?

Dennis:  Probably one or two of the 10.  So it's not a lot, but it doesn't mean that it's not right, and that it shouldn't occur.

Bob:  And we've been talking about why it's important for a dad and for a daughter to go through this, but this is important for the young man as well, isn't it?

Dennis:  It really is.  In fact, I think there are all kinds of benefit that occurs when you have this interview.  Your daughter feels love; secondly, the young man gets developed in his manhood and in his conscience and his character.  We're going to be talking about that today.

But, thirdly, I think your sons benefit as well, because they get to hear and watch and see and experience a father stepping into his daughter's life and interview a young man and then come back to the dinner table and talk about it.

I'll never forget Benjamin, our second-oldest, after I'd interviewed one of Ashley's very first dates, and I came back to the dinner table.  Ashley said, "Well, how did it go?"  I told how it went and how impressed I was with the young man and what happened and a little bit of what I said.  I didn't divulge it all; but I told enough so that both Benjamin and his brother, Samuel, could get the drift.  It was a pretty gritty conversation with the young man.  All eight of these points get to the bottom-line.

At the end of the conversation, though, after I'd shared about interviewing this young man, Benjamin turned to me; and he said, "Dad, I sure hope the first young lady that I ask out has a dad who asks to interview me because if he does, I'll know I’m in the right place."

And, it was interesting, as Benjamin began to date, there was only one man that I knew of who ever asked to talk to Ben before he let his daughter go out with him.  I thought, "That's really too bad.  That's a real loss for both Ben and, for that matter; Samuel didn't have any dads interviewing him, either.

But neither of my sons dated that much.  They didn't really have the opportunity during high school to have a lot of dates, but I wish they'd just had the opportunity to have been interviewed once.  I think it would have been helpful for them.

Bob:  We had our team re-create a story that apparently was taken from a true story.  You tell it in your book, Interviewing Your Daughter's Date, about E.V. Hill, a pastor from Los Angeles—African-American pastor, who checked out the young men his daughter was going out with.  One night one of these young men showed up to take his daughter out; and Dr. Hill started his inspection, and …

Dennis:  Just based upon what he saw.

Bob:  Yeah.

Dennis:  He wasn't.

Bob:  He wasn't impressed.

Dennis:  It wasn't a real pretty sight and, especially, by the time he'd asked him a few questions. 

Bob:    Listen to this.  This is good.

Daughter:  Daddy, where is my date?

Dr. Hill:  Him?  Look, honey, no daughter of mine is going out with a thing like that.

Daughter:  What are you talking about?

Dr. Hill:  I said, “No daughter of mine is going out with a thing like that.”

Daughter:  But, Daddy, you can't just send him away like that.  I mean, what will I say to him the next time I see him?  What are they going to say about me at school?

Dr. Hill:  Just a minute here.  Let me take a better look at you.  Are you sure you're my daughter?

Daughter:  What?

Dr. Hill:  Come here a second.  Baby, Baby, where are you at?

Mrs. Hill:  In the kitchen.

Dr. Hill:  Baby, how long have we been married?

Mrs. Hill:  Thirty years this June.  Now get out of my way; I'm cooking your dinner, Dr. Hill.

Dr. Hill:  Just a minute now.  Help me think this thing out.  Are you sure there was never anybody else but me?  You're absolutely positive that when this girl was conceived, it was you and me -- nobody else?

Mrs. Hill:  Yeah, baby, just you and me.

Dr. Hill:  Not the milkman, not the postman—just me?

Mrs. Hill:  Mm-hm, you're the only man for me, Dr. Hill.  She's yours.

Dr. Hill:  Good, that settles it.  Baby?

Daughter:  Yes, Daddy?

Dr. Hill:  No daughter of mine is going out with a thing like that.

Bob:  You have the sense that Dr. Hill may have turned down a few more of his daughter's prospects than you did in your day, right?  He went with his gut, didn't he?

Dennis:  He did, Bob, in fact, just the story is kind of legendary; but it gives encouragement and courage to men.  You can do this.  You can protect your daughter.  You're the dad.  You know, she's not in charge of this thing.  I mean, yeah, she's a young person who is growing into maturity; but if she's about to make a mistake, or if she's about to go into a situation that is not desirable or, worse yet, dangerous.  You know what?  Be the dad.  Call it the way you see it.

Bob:  You know what was always frightening to me, though, as a dad was I was concerned when my daughter would react or be emotional or say, "Oh, Dad, no, no."  Always concerned that I was somehow going to harden her heart; that I was going to turn her against me; that she'd go around my back and do it, anyway.  I'd be stirring up rebellion.

Dennis:  It was interesting, Bob, we had at least one situation where one of our daughters was out of the home—moved off on her own and just wasn't doing real well—was struggling a bit spiritually and with us.  Yet in the midst of that struggle and, you might say, rebellion, guess who shows up at our house with a young man for me to interview?

It's just interesting in our children's hearts, I think they want to be protected, and the very thing they would push you out of their lives and keep you from doing is the thing they know, in their heart of hearts, that they need the most.  The problem is they don't have the maturity to see beyond this to say, "I need Daddy to help me in this, because I'm not sure about this guy."

When you interview a young man, you are really building his character.  You are building relationship with him—you are talking man-to-man about real-life stuff about a man’s passions, about the beauty of a woman, and how God created the attraction of male to female, and how He protects sex until marriage.  You are talking to him around a real-life situation—going out with your daughter in a healthy way. 

Bob:  You are really being a “father” to him—not that you are taking the place of his father—but you are being kind of the neighborhood father who says, “Son, come here.  Let me talk to you.”

Dennis:  You are modeling what real manhood looks like.  We all know that if we are going to produce character in the next generation of young men, they all need to see different kinds of men giving leadership under different circumstances in different situations.  I promise you, you can’t sit in an interview like 30 to 40 young men did with me, without thinking through a lot of issues and going, “Man, this is tough stuff.”

There is also the issue of valuing your daughter as a woman and demonstrating to a young man that, as a parent, you really do place a high premium on the value of your daughter and her protection.  You're willing to do the most uncomfortable thing you could almost imagine to be able to protect her.

In fact, I told the young men, Bob, when I interviewed them, I'd say, "You know, you may be nervous.  I want you to know I'm nervous, too, but I'm doing the thing that I know I need to do because I love my daughter.  I want to protect her, and I want to create a sense of accountability with you around her purity." 

In fact, one of my favorite questions I'd ask these young men when I talked with them is I'd say, "Let's say that another young lady someday, somewhere is growing up right now and tonight she's going out on a date.  Would you prefer that her father be interviewing the young man who is taking out your future wife on a date? 

And they would always say, "Oh, yeah."  And I'd say, "Well, you know, my daughter is probably somebody else's wife, might be your wife someday, but she's likely somebody else's wife.  I'm calling on you to treat her with the same dignity you would like another young man to treat your future wife, if he was taking her on a date tonight."

They seemed to get that picture and respond to that at that point.

Bob:  You had a sense, when these guys came over, you could kind of tell where they were spiritually and what their level of maturity was.  Yet, by the time they left, wherever it was when they started, they'd grown up a little bit in that half hour, don’t you think?

Dennis:  Well, some of them had some good church-talk—God-talk—saying all the right things.  But I think by the time you go through these eight points, which are so gritty and get to the core of the issues young people are facing today, I think some of the veneer melts.  You're talking about passion.  You're talking about, “Keeping your lips and your hands off my daughter;” and you're not blinking as a dad, as you look him in the eye.

I think one of the most profound moments of the entire interview is the last question I ask these men.  I ask them, as a young man, I say, "Someday God may give you the privilege of getting married.  You may become a daddy, and you may have a daughter.  I want to ask you, “If God does give you the unspeakable privilege of being a dad,” I want to ask you, “will you make a commitment to me right now that if she wants to go out on a date that you will interview the young man who wants to take her out?" 

I said, "The reason why I can challenge you to do that is because you have now been trained," and they always used to kind of grin at that point and kind of bashfully look at me.  But every one of them sat up a little straighter in their chair, and you could almost sense that you were calling something out of them, as young men, to step up to real manhood, step into the responsibility and say, "You know what?  I could do that.  I've seen this done.  I'll protect my daughter when I become a dad."

Bob:  As far as you know, did you interview all of the young men who took your daughters out during high school?

Dennis:  You know, Bob, I have it from good sources that I didn't.

Bob:  Really?

Dennis:  Some of our kids went "out."  Now, for those of you who do not yet have teenagers and don’t understand the language and the terminology of today’s teens—when you're going out with someone, it's that you are going steady. 

Bob:  Oh, that's the whole …

Dennis:  You're going out with them …

Bob:  You guys are a couple; you guys are an item.

Dennis:  You're an item; and I found out through the grapevine, in many cases, that our kids would hotwire this thing around the interview and find a way to establish a relationship with …

Bob:  There was a special boy, and you hadn't met the guy yet?

Dennis:  Right.  And that usually brought about a different kind of interview, not with the young man but with the daughter and talking with her about trust and about keeping things above-board and about doing what's right.  And, you know, there are some parents right now who are listening to this, and their kids are sneaking out, and they know that.  Their kids are going out, and they know that.  And yet in spite of the behavior that is unacceptable, the parents don't know what to do.

And it's in those moments that if you don't know what to do, you need to get together with some other parents and decide how will we step into the lives of our children and provide the kind of boundaries, the kind of guidance, the coaching, the moral development that they need, and not just let them go off on their own merry way.

Bob:  And we've already talked this week about how there's got to be a healthy foundation of a relationship for those boundaries to be established; and if you haven't been cultivating that relationship, you can start cultivating it, and don't be surprised if your daughter doesn't say, "I'm not interested in cultivating it.  In fact, I've got life wired without you."  But you press in; and you keep finding ways to build that relationship because, as our friend Josh McDowell has said, rules without relationship do equal rebellion.

Dennis:  But, Bob, the overwhelming benefit of doing this on a regular basis with your daughter's dates, I think, reaps enormous rewards not only in her life but also in the life of a young man.

There was a young man by the name of Mark who dated our daughter, Rebecca.  I sat down with Mark and did my interview, and we maintained a relationship.  He dated Rebecca when she was in her 20s.  A fine young man, just a bright young man, who is in full-time Christian ministry; and he wasn't the one for Rebecca.  He wrote me an e-mail that I'd like to ask you to read.

Bob:  I've got a copy of it right here.

Dennis:  Just talking about the benefits of—and his perspective, looking back on—being interviewed by me as the father of a young lady that he wanted to date.

Bob:  He wrote and said, "Out of the few serious relationships I've been in, one stands out among the rest in health and purity.  I don't think it was an accident that this relationship involved a father who was willing to stand as a guardian for his daughter's purity.  In order to enter into a committed relationship with his daughter, I had to go through an interview where he laid out the expectations he had for me if I was to pursue her. 

“This helped me a great deal.  It imprinted a permanent reminder in my mind that there was a man who cared for this young lady vastly beyond what I did.  Not that my feelings weren't strong and real, but the time and love he had already invested was unparalleled.  So whenever I found myself in a tempting spot, a vivid picture of this man, who cared more for her than I did, stood as a protective barrier between me and any inappropriate actions."

Dennis:  Amen.

Bob:  He said, "Seeing that this was a man of initiative, it helped me realize that if anything inappropriate did happen, he would most likely find out about it."

Dennis:  That's correct.

Bob:  "Dating a girl for almost a year and not kissing her was unheard of in my experience.  But I would attribute a great deal of that success to the involvement of her father.  It not only helped me, but also made it obvious to the girl how much her dad cared for her.  You could sense such an admiration and respect she had for her father since she was willing to offer his strength on her behalf. 

“After having experienced the difference this made in how I treated the girl and the relationship, if I ever have a daughter and some young buck comes knocking on the door, I will not hesitate to sit down eyeball-to-eyeball with him and let him know what I expect of him—what will happen to him if my expectations are not respected."

Dennis:  Preach it; that's right, son.

Bob:  "Removing the father's role as protector of his daughter and her purity is like removing the castle wall that guards a princess."

Dennis:  Whoa!  When he wrote that to me, I thought, “You know I want the men who pick up this book to read what he had to say because just the benefit in his life—think about it—I mean, he caught the picture of what it means to protect a young woman and to treat her with the dignity that God called him to.”

Bob:  Well, and, in fact, your sons caught the vision for the same thing.  In a few minutes I want our listeners to hear how our team re-created a moment from “Rainey family history” that involved your sons, and one of your daughters, and you, as well.  First, let me let our listeners know how they can get a copy of your book. 

It's called Interviewing Your Daughter's Date:  Eight Steps to No Regrets.  We've got it in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center.   We're hoping that you'll not only call to get a copy for yourself but maybe one for the guys in your small group, or for other dads you know at church, dads who have got kids in the youth group, dads who are involved with their kids at your school.  We're hoping that you'll be a part of the distribution network for this book and help us hand it out because we'd love to see dads return to what we think is a pretty important role for them to play in protecting their daughters.

You can go to our website,, for more information on how to order copies of the book, Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date.  We also have an audio book available.  This week, we are making the audio book available to those of you who can help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with a donation. 

If you are online on, you can either order the book or make an online donation.  If you are making an online donation, type the word, “DATE,” in the key code box.  We will know to send you a copy of the audio book for Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date, or call us toll-free 1-800-FLTODAY. 

That is 1-800-“F” as in Family, “L” as in Life, and then the word TODAY.  Ask how you can get a copy of the book, Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date or make a donation and request a copy of the audio book.  Let me just say, “We are grateful for those of you who are able to support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with a donation.  Your support is greatly appreciated. 

Again, our website is and our toll-free number is 1-800-“F” as in Family, “L” as in Life, and then the word TODAY. 


Dennis:  What we preach, and teach, and talk about, and many times it's some of those stories that we tell at the dinner table, like E.V. Hill's story.  I shared that story at the dinner table one night, but I had no idea how that story would turn around and boomerang on me.  But my boys pulled a fast one on me.

Bob:  And rather than having you tell the story, we had our team re-create it for our listeners.  This actually happened at the Rainey house a number of years ago, as you were arriving to take one of your daughters on a date on a particular evening, and you were met at the door by your sons.

[audio tape— knocking]

Dennis:  Okay, somebody needs to open the door.  The movie starts in 20 minutes.  Hello?

Boy 1:  Yes, may we help you?

Dennis:  I'm here for a date with my girls.  Are they ready?

Boy 1:  Just a minute, sir.  We have a few questions for you.

Boy 3:  More than a few.

Rebecca:  A lot.

Boy 2:  Rebecca!

Dennis:  Oh, really?

Boy 1:  Yeah, we want to know if you're going to treat these girls like ladies.

Boy 2:  Are you going to be a gentleman?

Dennis:  Well, absolutely; I'm their dad, and I'm taking them on a great date that will be a lot of fun.

Boy 1:  Oh, yeah?  Well, not so fast.  We need you to promise that you'll bring Rebecca home by her bedtime.

Boy 2:  Which is 8:30.

Rebecca:  No, it's 9 if we're on a date with Dad.

Boy 2:  Yep, 8:30 sounds reasonable to me.

Boy 1:  No, you know, God did a wonderful thing when he made women.

Boy 2:  We are just watching out for their best interests here, sir.

Boy 1:  Will you be driving at the speed limit?

Boy 2:  Opening doors for them?  Do you promise to treat them with courtesy and respect?

Dennis:  Absolutely.  I'll make sure they return safe, happy, entertained, and well-fed.  And on the way back, I'll tell them all those old jokes.

Boy 1:  Okay, that settles it.

Boy 2:  And how!

Boy 1:  No sister of ours is going out with someone like that.

Dennis:  What?


[tape ends]

Bob: You know, I don't think your boys are going to need to read your book.  I think they got the vision for this a long time ago.  We're going to have to wrap things up for today.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team.  I want to thank Rob Jorgenson for help with those special moments from “Rainey family history.” 

I hope you have a great weekend.  I hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend; and I hope you can join us back on Monday when singer/song writer, Dennis Jernigan, is going to be here.  We are going to talk about what we can do to reach out and minister with compassion, and kindness, and the love of Christ to those who are hurting, especially those who are struggling with homosexuality.  I hope you can tune in for that. 

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey.  I'm Bob Lepine.  We will see you Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas. 

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