When you think of a daddy-daughter dance, what comes to mind? A high school gymnasium, perhaps? Or maybe the local rec center? How about a jail? That's right, a prison in Virginia recently held its own father-daughter dance for the prisoners and girls all the way up to age 16.
And why shouldn't they? Just about every study out there on fathers and daughters will tell you that little girls need their daddies.
This is not a knock on single moms who are doing their darndest to do right by their kids. If anything, it's a knock on the absent fathers, guys like the men who ended up having to waltz their daughters around a room at the Richmond City Jail instead of the local rec center.
As one of the incarcerated dads admitted:
I am definitely failing as a parent right now, just by being out of her life.
Yes. He is.
It's especially crucial for a girl to have a dad around when she hits the teen years, when she begins to have thoughts and feelings about the opposite sex. That old saying about fathers being the men girls measure future men against may sound creepy, but think about it. If the main man who was supposed to love you and help care for you was never around, how are you supposed to know what love and caring from the opposite sex is about?
Programs like this father-daughter dance at a prison aren't about giving the prisoners special treatment. They're about giving these girls something vital in their lives, something they shouldn't have to lose just because their fathers made some mistakes. It's not a kid's fault that daddy sold drugs!
Clearly abusive dads or dads who put daughters in danger shouldn't be around their kids. But the more that can be done to give girls a relationship with their fathers, the better it is ... for the girls.
What do you think of these dances? Should these dads get the chance to have these moments with their daughters despite what they've done?
Image via sameliaz8/Flickr