About five years ago, my kids and some of their friends started a humanitarian club called “Kids Can Change The World”. Together they put on different fund raising events throughout the year.
To date they have raised over eight thousand dollars towards different humanitarian projects. While we are aware that that’s not really going to ‘change the world’, I think it is important that they learn to do what ever they can do to make the world a better place. To raise money they have put on garage sales, organized swap meets and craft fairs, put on dances and even hosted a hunger banquet. Everything has been so fun to be involved in, but our favorite event hands down is their annual DADDY-DAUGHTER dance.
With four daughters and a very involved husband, I was surprised with how sweet it was to watch Dads and daughters dance in a formal setting. There is something heartwarming about seeing dads and their kids spending time together.
In my post about fathers and camping I quoted Margaret Meeker, the author of a book called “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters“. She states “Daughters who perceive that their fathers care a lot about them, who feel connected to their fathers, have significantly fewer suicide attempts and fewer instances of body dissatisfaction, depression, low self-esteem, substance use, and unhealthy weight.” Being raised by a “strong father” I know that his influence is invaluable in my life. It was his absolute faith in me and my 10 siblings that helped me overcome some potentially traumatic experiences as a youth. I know it wasn’t easy, but somehow my father made each one of us feel uniquely loved and appreciated for who we were.
My father, a lawyer, always taught us to ask questions and seek truth. He was always reading everything under the moon on the church and encouraged us to do the same. The one thing I appreciated about him so much was knowing he would always do everything in his power to keep me safe-AND if he failed in his attempt, he would die trying to make things right. No boy ever dared to cross my Papa!
Ironically, while he made me feel valued, valuable, secure, safe, protected, and cared-for, he also helped me feel powerful, unconquerable, incredible, strong, smart, and I knew that anything I desired in my life I could accomplish. That sense of self-worth has carried me through many hard times. He truly ‘loved my mother‘ in this way as well-often commenting how she outshone him in every area. He complimented her frequently on her choice to stay home and raise all of us kids “With a brain like hers, she could have had any career she wanted, and instead she chose to stay home and raise all you kids. Aren’t you lucky?” (My mother was quick to tell us that she could imagine nothing better than being a stay-at-home mother. The way she said it, the way she played with us, the way she told us stories and created magic for us each day, made it impossible for me to disbelieve her. Now that I am a mother, I realize how honestly she spoke those words.) It is my father’s example and love that makes it easy for me to imagine a Heavenly Father that loves me.
I realize that my dad was special and that not all dad’s communicate their faith and love in their kids as well as my father was able to. I also know that some dad’s are abusive and that breaks my heart. The Doctrine and Covenants 121:22 strongly opposes men who use their influence unrighteously and hurt others, especially little ones.
It states “It had been abetter for them that a millstone had been hanged about their necks, and they drowned in the depth of the sea.” With warnings like this (and all the bad publicity society gives fathers) I think some dads are hesitant in engaging fully in their kids lives.
One of the reasons I love the Daddy-Daughter Dance is because it helps give hesitant fathers a chance to appropriately spend time showering attention on their daughters. The way those girls glow with this fatherly attention is a delight to behold. Here are two video’s of last years event. The first is for mothers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3YBJhqrlos (so they catch the vision of the event in a motherly way) the second is for dad’s so it captures the energy and fun of the evening.
It was merely coincidence that this year our Daddy-Daughter Dance was held so soon after our “Being Loyal To The Royal” evening. I know the boys are feeling slighted but I promised them soon I will do something to celebrate them (I am having a hard time thinking of something that they will like as much as the girls liked their evening) because one day hopefully they will be a ‘strong father’.
I know not all daughters or fathers like to dance. What kind of things did your dad do, or did you wish he did to help you feel special (girl or boy)???