Posted by: everynation | June 8, 2007

It’s worth the date!

by Jay Duque

When I was young, I lived in Lagos, Nigeria for 11 years. For those who don’t know, Nigeria is a country in West Africa. My dad was assigned there to work for the government as a doctor. I am the eldest of 7 children.

We had fun times there. But what I always remember was a hole–in-the-wall restaurant called Western House. They served the best egg and bacons and spaghetti. We would always go there either before my dad went to work or before we got home from school because we passed it on our way home. It was a date, a date we all remembered as a family. When my mom would ask, where do you want to eat! Everyone would say, “Western House!”

It was something we all agreed about without question. My mom would ask, “What are you having there?” (Remember we are 7 children, we had to make that decision in the car, or else it would be chaotic in the restaurant) We had a to make this HARD DECISION every time we went, whether it was BACON AND EGGS or SPAGHETTI. That was the only two orders that was worth getting, at least that’s what we thought.

Today, as a father, I purposefully date my children. Sometimes individually and sometimes as a family. For my youngest daughter Bettina, who’s now 10 years old, her “Western House” is called “McDonalds”. And her ‘bacon and eggs & spaghetti’ is ‘ice cream and french fries & spaghetti’. She always orders the same thing. Healthy food too.

Today, I don’t have to ask her for a date. She’s the one asking me out. Sometimes I say no but often I say yes for several reasons:

(1) I get to know her more,
(2) they are going to be fond memories,
(3) its an excellent time to bond and build relationship,
(4) I always remember good ol’ ‘Western House’
(5) it puts a smile on my face, and
(6) and I know she will be smiling too when she looks back someday!

What’s your “Western House”? Let me tell you, IT’S WORTH THE DATE!

Jay Duque is a husband and father of three, the author of “Life is a Beach,” and is currently preparing to join the pastoral staff of HighPoint Church, Orlando with his family.



  1. Hi Jay, we are just back in the US and missing you in Manila already. Wait, are you in the US too? Anyway, I learned about dating the kids years ago, and even though I thought I was a boring dad the kids talked about those dates all week. Thanks for the reminder. Mike

  2. Great post Jay. We look forward to having you in our region. We love Keith and Jennifer and know you will be a blessing to their team and HighPoint Church.

  3. Mine was 7-11 runs with my dad for Slurpees and magazines with Shaun Cassidy on the cover! After he passed away, my mom and I regularly went to a fast food place called ‘Arctic Circle’ – me for the burgers and punch and she for the salads.

    They’ve both since passed away but remembering these times still puts a smile on my late-thirty something face. =)

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