Do You Think the Daddy-Daughter Dance Should Have Been Cancelled?

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I ran across an interesting blog post today entitled Empowering Our Children Through Disappointment. It talked about a recent news story of how a school had cancelled a father-daughter dance because a single mother in the community complained that her daughter didn't have a father to attend the dance with. The blog post posted following question:

Are we creating survivors of our children -- are we empowering them to overcome the hardships they may face in life -- or are we coddling them against things that might sting a little at the time, but will ultimately teach them valuable lessons?

I felt myself torn.

On the one hand, I agreed with her and most of the comments that followed that it seemed unfair that one parent's complaint could ruin an entire event that might be fun for everyone else. I thought it was quite a valid suggestion that perhaps the school could have suggested that the daughter bring another male role model from her life... maybe an uncle or grandfather or family friend.

Daddy Daughter Dance 02132011 046

I agreed with the point that life isn't fair. That sometimes things happen in life and you're going to feel left out or put in a situation where you're made to feel weird or different.

Then I thought of my partner and how one day his dad up and decided that he didn't want to be a father anymore and told him never to contact him again. He was 11. He hasn't spoken to him since. That's not fair.

Then I thought of a story I was told by the woman who was my first grade teacher (she and my mom are good friends). She was teaching a unit to her first grade class about family, and after the first day one of the little boys in her class was sobbing.

"Why are you crying?" she asked him.

He told her through his sobs, "Because I don't have a family!"

Taken aback, she asked, "What do you mean you don't have a family?"

He explained that he lived with his Grandma and Grandpa. He had drawn the erroneous conclusion that he must not have a family because they'd only talked about mommies and daddies that day. She had to explain to him that just because his family didn't have a mommy or a daddy didn't mean it wasn't a family.

Then I thought of that cute guy in Iowa whose name I can't remember but he's all YouTube famous from testifying in front of his state legislature about his wonderful loving two moms that should be able to marry.

Then I thought of all the kids who've lost a parent in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Then I thought of all the kids who've lost a parent to cancer.

And I know what you're thinking... What do your boyfriend and that little boy and a guy with lesbian parents and a bunch of nameless, faceless kids with dead dads have to do with a father-daughter dance?

Well, I'll tell you what. You could slide that girl into any of those situations and have a kid who's in pretty considerable emotional pain who might need some extra encouragement to want to attend something called a "father-daughter" dance because she might not want to draw attention to the fact that her family isn't one that has a mom and a dad. Maybe this child needs to know that her family isn't less of a family than anybody else's family.

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