Sunday, April 30, 2006

Fathers and daughters

For context and background, read I'm all for purity but...

According to advocates of the Father-Daughter Purity Balls, it's all about building closer father-daughter relationships:
But organizers say the ball is a symbolic salve for what they call a crippling reality for teen girls - the failure of the father-daughter relationship. It's a relationship that family experts and even feminist scholars agree can affect the way teen-age girls view themselves and their potential mates.
That certainly sounds like a worthy idea. But are father-daughter proms really the answer? Are they even healthy? If the father-daughter relationship has failed, what good could a night of dancing and a pledge of sexual purity possibly do?

I love my Daddy. I respect him beyond what I could possibly express. To me, he will always be my heroic protector, the man whose integrity I have never had reason to doubt, the man who loves my mother in such an overwhelming way that it has literally made me weep, the man who I can count on to stand firm though the rest of the world may falter, the man who is my favorite pastor and walking concordance, the man who has wiped my tears and cleaned my vomit, the man who has spend countless hours on his knees in prayer for me and those I love, the man who loved me even before he ever saw me and wept at my newborn beauty. He is Daddy. I never needed him to dress up as my pretend prom date. He has always loved me, even when I was a moody, obstinate teenager. I can easily believe that God is a loving and righteous Father because of my own father.

For those of us with fathers who loved us and whom we love --- we want our fathers to be fathers, not semi-romantic partners who take us to some fantasy ball. I would, even as a child, have much rather seen my parents dance with each other than have my father dance with me. I wanted to be Daddy's girl, not his date.

However, I realize that not all women are as blessed as I am. Some of my friends have fathers who are distant, absent, cruel, harsh, abusive, or uncaring. The fanciest ball in the world won't fix that sort of relationship.

If people are really concerned about father-daughter relationships, then teach men to cherish and respect their daughters as people, not just as mysterious creatures whose purity must be guarded. Teach them to sacrifice themselves for us, to set a standard for godly masculinity, to be our heroes, to take care of us, to wipe our tears and fevered brows, to take us seriously, to giggle with us, to enjoy our company, to pray with and for us, to teach us, to be everything that the word "Daddy" entails. It's a big order. One night simply won't do it. It's a full time, life long job.


  1. I myself found the father-daughter stuff on Doug Wilson's blog a little disturbing. I thought it was just my reserved Northern German nature acting up!

  2. I agree with Marie (and sorry if it distracts from your post a bit). I've noticed that about Doug Wilson and the movements he's started. Father-son, Father-daughter, but no Mother anywhere. There is something a little creepy about it all.

  3. Interesting point that both of you have raised. Does anyone have links to the father-daughter stuff that Doug Wilson has written?

  4. What about girls with no father (either absent or deceased)? To whom are these girls expected to pledge their purity? It is definitely creepy and needs some thought by parents....

  5. And I have to admit my mistake. I was actually thinking of Doug Phillips, not Doug Wilson. Sorry, my bad. Delete both comments if you wish.

  6. Yep, I meant Doug Phillips. My bad.

  7. I have a son, not a daughter; so I may be less qualified to comment here; and my comments go beyond the "box" outlined by the story.

    1) The act of going to a 'dance' implies that dancing is acceptable -- it's fine with me, btw -- but there are some really confused, and confusing, doctrinal statements about social dancing out there. You hear some strange things from the pulpit. Some kind of follow-up by dad would probably be needed so his dear one understands what it's about.
    2) There is just a whiff of 'class' here, with terms like 'ball'. Yes, class and economics are always with us, even in church; no, I don't have any problem with people dressing up. But dad needs to do some follow up here so his dear one, again, doesn't confuse class with a pure heart or a good man.
    3) Just to help us think clearly about this, what would our reaction be if we had an event where moms took their young sons? How would we react to this?

  8. Anon, you raised some important issues. I had also been concerned about the class issue, but I didn't know quite how to articulate what was bothering me. Your point about not confusing class with a pure heart or a good man is an excellent one. Being able to afford fancy prom dresses, suits, and an evening of dancing does not make one more "pure" than those who cannot afford such things. Neither does a personal conviction against dancing.

    As for your last question, I'd like to hear from others as well: how different would we view this if it were a mother-son purity ball?

  9. Talk about "creepy" it doesn't get any creepier than Doug Phillips' Father and Daughter Retreats and his daddy-shaving daddy-dressing sessions.

    The Vision Forum: Patriarchy Weirdness Exposed