According to Forbes, more than 37 million Americans at over 3.5 million workplaces participate in "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day," in its 22nd year in 2010. The holiday always takes place on the fourth Thursday of April -- likely leaving many workplaces a bit louder, but also filled with more laughter and fun, as kids walk through the doors of hospitals, schools, business offices, restaurants and more.
Children affect our lives in so many ways. If you're a parent, you know they also change things completely when they arrive: Life is messier, sweeter, harder, more tiring and more fun all at once. As the saying goes, "The days are long, but the years are short."
Many country artists have recorded songs inspired by their children, and most are autobiographical. The tunes are hopeful, humorous, sweet and a little heart-wrenching at times. Read on for The Boot's favorites.
Atkins released "Watching You" in 2006, as the second single from If You're Going Through Hell, and it gave him his second No. 1 hit on Billboard's Hot Country Songs Chart; it was also named the top country song of 2007. The singer co-wrote "Watching You" with Brian White and Steve Dean, and every parent can relate to this humorous yet deeply touching track.
Atkins song' "If You're Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)" made an impact on his son Elijah -- so much so that Atkins needed to meet with his son's daycare teacher. White recalls, "Rodney was coming into the writing appointment, and he was late by a few minutes. He said, 'I'm sorry, guys, I had to stop by the daycare and talk to Elijah's teacher. She wanted to talk to me because Elijah was standing in line going, 'If you're going through hell, hell, hell.'"
"Watching You" doesn't only focus on the negative habits kids pick up on, however; it also zeroes in on the positives. The chorus pulls on heartstrings as Atkins sings, "He said, 'I've been watching you, dad, ain't that cool? / I'm your buckaroo, I wanna be like you / And eat all my food, and grow as tall as you are / We like fixing things and holding mama's hand / Yeah, we're just alike, hey, ain't we, dad? / I wanna do everything you do / So I've been watching you.'"
Chesney's "There Goes My Life" is for anyone who doesn't think they're quite ready to be a parent, but it's happening anyway. The chorus says it all: "And he said / 'There goes my life / There goes my future, my everything / Might as well kiss it all good-bye / There goes my life.'" But, as the song progresses and a baby girl is born and begins growing up, the chorus takes on a different meaning: Chesney sings about a daughter leaving home to head to the West Coast, with her Honda full of "Abercrombie clothes and 15 pairs of shoes." When she leaves, the chorus changes to: "He cried / 'There goes my life / There goes my future, my everything / I love you, baby, goodbye.'"
"There Goes My Life" was released in October of 2003 as the lead single from Chesney's eighth studio album, When the Sun Goes Down. It stayed at No. 1 for seven weeks in a row.
McBride released "In My Daughter's Eyes" on her seventh studio album, Martina, in 2003. The song begins with McBride describing who she is in her daughter's eyes: a hero, strong, wise and fearless. Yet, McBride's message in the song says, "But the truth is plain to see / She was sent to rescue me / I see who I wanna be / In my daughter's eyes." She describes how her daughter helps her see the world and those around her differently -- and by looking in her daughter's eyes, she realizes what life is all about.
In 2006, Heartland released their debut single, "I Loved Her First," from their debut album of the same name. It became a No. 1 hit, and it's easy to see (or hear) why: "I Loved Her First" is a tearjerker through and through, and it's sung from the perspective of a father on his daughter's wedding day.
Some of the most impactful lyrics are in the chorus, with the father saying, "But I loved her first, I held her first / And a place in my heart will always be hers / From the first breath she breathed / When she first smiled at me / I knew the love of a father runs deep / And I prayed that she'd find you someday / But it's still hard to give her away / I loved her first."
Adkins shows off his sensitive side with "You're Gonna Miss This." As a father himself, Adkins connected with the song, which garnered a Grammy nod for Best Country Song. The third verse speaks to any parent's heart as it describes a hectic and likely familiar scene: "Five years later, there's a plumber workin' on the water heater / Dog's barkin', phone's ringin' / One kid's cryin', one kid's screamin' / She keeps apologizin' / He says, 'They don't bother me / I've got two babies of my own / One's 36, one's 23 / Huh, it's hard to believe, but / You're gonna miss this / You're gonna want this back / You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast / These are some good times / So take a good look around / You may not know it now / But you're gonna miss this.'"
The song was written by Ashley Gorley and Lee Thomas Miller, and it's from Adkins' record American Man: Greatest Hits Volume II. "You're Gonna Miss This" is the singer's fastest-climbing single and third No. 1 hit; it also reached No. 12 on Billboard's Hot 100.
Is there anyone who doesn't know ever lyric to Womack's "I Hope You Dance"? The song, released in 2000 from her album of the same name, hit No. 1 on Billboard's country chart and No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it won a Grammy for Best Country Song as well as a nod for Song of the Year. Its lyrics put into words the hopes parents have for their children, from not losing their sense of wonder to love not leaving them empty-handed and, ultimately, to dancing through life instead of sitting it out.
"I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean / Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens / Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance," Womack sings. "And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance / I hope you dance / I hope you dance."
Hill's "You Can't Lose Me" was released in April of 1996, from her album It Matters to Me. It peaked at No. 6 on the Hot Country Songs Chart and is especially meaningful as it's from a mother to a daughter -- of which Hill has three.
"You can't lose me / Bet your life / I am here, and I will always be / Just a wish away," she sings. "Wherever you go / No matter how far / My love is where you are / You won't be lost if you believe / You can't lose me."
Between Tim McGraw's entry on this list (keep reading!) and Hill's "You Can't Lose Me," the McGraw girls are obviously very loved by their parents!
"What I Never Knew I Always Wanted" is from Underwood's 2015 album Storyteller, and it gives fans a tender look into the singer's heart. She wrote the song for her husband and their son, Isaiah.
“I never really pictured myself getting married, and I guess I never really -- I always assumed a family was in the future, but I wasn’t, you know, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to have kids,’ and I kind of took a more laid-back approach to the whole thing," Underwood tells ABC News. "Now I couldn’t imagine my life without either one of them."
The lyrics sum up her feelings perfectly: ”I finally found what I never knew I always wanted / I couldn't see, I was blind 'til my eyes were opened / I didn't know there was a hole / Something missing in my soul / 'Til you filled it up with your love, yeah."
There's so many lines in McGraw's "My Little Girl" that can bring a listener to tears. The song is sung by a father to his daughter: He chronicles her life from the day she was born through the time he'll need to give her away to another man. Some of the best lines include "When you were in trouble / That crooked little smile / Could melt my heart of stone" and (hold back the tears), "Sometimes when you're asleep / I whisper 'I love you' in the moonlight at your door / As I walk away, I hear you say, 'Daddy love you more.'" And, in the last verse, McGraw sings, "Some day, some boy will come and ask me for your hand / But I won't say yes to him / Unless I know he's the half that makes you whole / He has a poet's soul and the heart of a man's man / I know he'll say that he's in love / But between you and me, he won't be good enough."
"My Little Girl" is the first single McGraw co-wrote. It's featured on Tim McGraw Reflected: Greatest Hits Vol. 2, as well as the movie Flicka.
Rascal Flatts' No. 1 hit "My Wish" was written by Jeffrey Steele and Steve Robson and released in 2006, from their Me and My Gang album. Steele says that his daughter, Justine, complained he hadn't ever written a song about her (but did for her two older sisters) -- so, that day, he sat down with Robson and "started writing this song, not really thinking about writing Justine a song.
"I started singing, 'I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow,'" Steele remembers. "Then it dawned on me ... this is Justine's song! This is it!"
The lyrics portray Steele's desires that his daughter would always know she was loved: "My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to / Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small / You never need to carry more than you can hold / And while you're out there getting where you're getting to / I hope you know somebody loves you and wants the same things too." The song became one of the Flatts' most successful crossover singles.