For the Love of Fathers

A recent news story broke out about how the politically correct culture is killing the Father-Daughter Dance tradition at a public school in Staten Island, NY. A tradition that was designed to foster and encourage the engagement of fathers and daughter in an activity they can both share and enjoy, at a time when often the relationship can become awkward for both as there tend to be fewer things in common and girls begin gravitating towards the common interests of their peers. 

Image Credit: Benjamin Earwicker

It’s difficult enough in this world as a father to build connections with children; especially daughters, without having the “PC Police” interfering with what goes on in natural course of a family’s development. I should know. I’m a father of three children, two of which are girls. I enjoy my role as father, as challenging as it can be, and I look forward to every opportunity that I am afforded to show each of my children the type of relationships they should enjoy as the mature into the people that they’ve been born to become. 

My elder daughter does not know her birth father. When I married my wife, she became my daughter at the age of 9. Fathering was as new to me, just as being was new for her. Add to this dynamic the complexity of her having a traumatic brain injury. Which for her means she deals with a greater degree of social awkwardness that most girls her age will not know. Seeing this, you get just a hint of how much more a father-daughter relationship matters. 

Image Credit: Cheryl Empey

I’ve had the pleasure of going to father-daughter events with her since she was in the sixth grade. I know that each time we do something together, it presents her with an idea of what to expect when the time comes for her to start thinking about dating; how to act, what she should expect from boys, the qualities in character. 

My younger daughter will soon turn the same age that my elder daughter was the year I married my wife. She has the advantage of having known me since birth. Yet, she is at that age where it’s more fun to be with her friends than her father. She’s more aware of the world in which she lives; and yet, there is still a level of innocence that is still untainted from all of society’s attempt to force her to understand things before she can fully comprehend them. 

I look forward to all of the father daughter moments that life has to offer. This includes the ones that I’ll make, simply because I have that personal invested interest in the welfare and well-being of my daughter. 

Image Credit: TLC

I take umbrage with the notion that a father-daughter dance “inherently leave people out” as was stated by Jared Fox, the Department of Education’s LGBT community liaison. The notion that someone is being left out assumes that there is no opportunity for parental engagement with children who have identified themselves as something other than how they were born. If this be the case, should not a new event be created for them, rather than destroy a tradition that serves a valuable purpose?  

My children have enjoyed Muffins with Mom for Mother’s Day and Donuts with Dad for Father’s Day. My son will have a mother and son date soon, and he’s looking forward to that. I don’t pretend to know whether transgender children feel neglected by the tradition of a father daughter dance or not, but I honestly believe that they would enjoy any even that allows them to have the same opportunity as other children who get to share a special moment with their parents. However, you shouldn’t scrap a purposeful tradition, simply because you’ve failed to consider how to show greater inclusion to children who have engendered themselves a different role in life within the greater community. 

QUESTION: Should this particular tradition be done away with, simply because no thought was given to how best to make all students feel included?  

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