SHEILA DABU NONATO | CATHOLIC REGISTER
Noel Ocol says spending time with his daughters will hopefully install the values of chivalry and respect, as well as set a high standard for their future boyfriends.
TORONTO — Dating is the farthest thing from nine-year-old Aramayah Ocol's mind. She prefers walking to the ice cream store with her dad. No one matches up to "Daddy."
That's just how Noel Ocol hopes it will be, that is until Aramayah is old enough to be courted by potential suitors.
Ocol, a 39-year-old parishioner at St. Mary's Catholic Church in downtown Toronto, started a blog "Like Father, Like Daughters" for Our Kids Media, an online magazine for private schools.
"So how can I, as a dad, be proactive against a world where modern pop-culture causes girls to see themselves as sexual objects and packages love as something from a vending machine where you put your money in, get what you want and throw the rest out?" he asks in his blog.
The answer? The father of two daughters (including six-year-old Persephene) says spending quality time with your children can help set standards for their future spouses down the road.
"It sets the expectations of how I expect other boys to treat my daughters. That whole teen years (period) is a difficult one, especially for girls," he said.
Ocol sets simple "ground rules" for the monthly outing: They have to treat the time as a special occasion, meaning no jeans or the regular fast food fare. And he always tells his wife, Patty, when they will be back.
"What that does is it sets the expectation that the boy she's going out with (should) make it clear to the family that they'll be back at a predetermined time and it's expected to be followed up," he said. "There's a chivalry aspect to it."
Aramayah says she enjoys the times when they walk along Harbourfront to get ice cream at Baskin Robbins.
"We go on walks, get more exercise and go for dinner," she said. They're opportunities for heart-to-heart talks with dad, as well as hearing about his childhood and the pranks her father and his best friend used to pull.
But most of all, Ocol explains that this time together helps to build memories and cement the father-daughter bond.
Recently, Aramayah asked her dad to take her motorcycle riding, a passion that Ocol has had for many years. (He owns two vintage motorcycles and started an online group for motorcycle enthusiasts called dotheton.com.)
So is he comfortable with his daughters dating a guy with a motorcycle? Ocol muses, "Maybe." Any potential suitor will have to meet dad and the family first.
(For more on the blog, visit www.ourkids.net/blog/.)