You've probably heard of daddy/daughter dances. You've probably heard of purity promises too. But put the two together, and what do you get? The Daddy/Daughter Purity Ball, of course!
Can you say creepy? Let's just say I had visions of Dads securing chastity belts around daughters in their "first communion" gowns, and the song "Tiny Dancer" was playing in the back of my head when I first heard about this. Daddy/Daughter dances in my neck of the woods are traditionally for itty bitty girls and their papas (my 8-year-old cousin attends one yearly with the Daisy Scouts and my uncle).
But the "Enthralling Beauty" ball in Shreveport, Louisiana, is all about teen girls. And I daresay some of it sounds . . . cool?
This event allows fathers an opportunity to pledge themselves to love and protect their daughters. It also helps young women to begin to realize the truth that they are infinitely valuable princesses who are “worth waiting for."
I'm not sold on the whole shebang. They go on to talk about some purity "covenant" mumbo jumbo that I just can't agree with, making lofty claims that abstinence-only education is the only way to prevent teen pregnancy (sorry, folks, but a host of scientific studies beg to disagree).
But the simple idea of a Dad being on hand to remind his teenage daughter how valuable she is had resonance for me. I'm starting to think one night out, a Daddy/Daughter dance, could do a whole lot more for teen girls than it does for the little ones who typically go out with Dad on her arm.
Girls need their dads. Studies have proven it. Although scientists have sadly noted that fathers tend to spend more time with their male offspring than the female, the more involved a dad is with his daughter's life, the later she starts dating and having sex. Involved dads often find their daughters listening to them on weighty matters like college and career.
Although we were encouraged to wait to have sex; I wasn't raised in a "purity" household. But I remember the two sex talks that came from my parents. When my mom tried (and give her credit, she TRIED), I was horrified. I plastered my hands over my ears. My dad's talk, I remember clearly. We were in his home office, and he didn't bother with the "penis" and "vagina" details that my mom was trying to nail down. Instead he went straight to the heart of the issue. "Make sure he's someone you really love," he told me. "Make sure he's someone who really loves you."
Those words stuck with me because they were about something deeper than the "act" of sex. They were really about choosing a mate, and they were coming from the one man I had always depended on. It's no knock on mothers, but for heterosexual daughters, it's only natural that the words and actions of the father will affect our choices. Bad dads will often beget a rash of bad boyfriends. Good dads can save their daughters heartache as she unconsciously seeks out similarities in her boyfriends.
Talking about sex with your daughters is important, but I don't think we need to mix purity up in this. I fared better when my dad skipped the specifics and made it about modeled behaviors -- finding a guy who would love me and treat me well. So how about just daddies taking out their daughters and modeling how a man should treat her?
Would you want to send your daughter to one of these?
Image via sameliaz8/Flickr