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Why My Daughter Didn’t Go to the Daddy Daughter Dance

Throw Back Thursday This post was first published on January 28, 2014.

The past few years our church has held a Daddy Daughter Dance around Valentine’s Day.  Getting dressed up and going on a date with Dad, hanging out and playing with friends, dancing and eating fun food is a dream for a little girl.  Our daughter has loved going to these dances.  Well in advanced each year, Sydney has planned out her outfit and fussed over how to wear her hair, except the year she didn’t want to go.

This year it was questionable as to whether a Daddy Daughter Dance would be held again, but the decision was made that the dance would happen.  I told Sydney one day in passing  the Daddy Daughter Dance was definitely going to be held.  “Oh Good,” She said!

“Really?” I responded, “But you didn’t want to go last year.”  Without missing a beat she reminded me why she didn’t want to go.  The dance had fallen at the end of a very busy two to three week schedule.  She had been out the weekend before as well as many week nights and the weekend of, she had something on that Friday night, church was on Saturday and then she would have been out again on Sunday for the dance. “I was tired last year.  The thought of being out one more night was overwhelming.  I just wanted to be home more than I wanted to go out.”

I had forgotten the reason why she didn’t want to go, but she obviously had not forgotten.  I seized the opportunity to praise her for making a good choice, how pacing ourselves is important.  Many people try to do everything feeling there is no choice. The pressure is to do it all while the idea of taking a break is not an option.

I stopped and breathed a prayer of thanksgiving to God for a good parental moment for Tony and me.  We try not to parent out of pressure or how our kid’s behavior will make us look. Andy Stanley calls it, “parenting for building a relationship not for protecting your reputation.”  However, when you are in church leadership and lead an organization  dedicated to building families, supporting a Daddy Daughter Dance seems a logical and worthwhile investment.

Dads need to pour into their children.  We “should” be on the front lines of promoting, encouraging and setting the example by attending.  After all what does it look like when the Founder of Family Builders, elder of the church and former Youth Pastor chooses not to attend?  I mean it’s not like we had a good excuse… “we were sick” or “we had a longtime previous commitment that we couldn’t break.”

We chose to support Sydney’s desire to not attend.  In doing so, it logged into her memory file a valuable life lesson, a lesson that says – I am of value and worth.  My life is worth preserving and not always pushing.  My life is worth taking time to take care of rather than always ignoring the signs which say I need to slow down.

Yes, there are times we need to press on and persevere.  There are also times when we need to hit the pause button, realize how we are human and not divine. We are designed for the need to slow down and rest and be.  When we do that we are refueled and ready to greet whatever life throws at us, because we come at it from a rested more focused state of mind rather than drained and frazzled.

Life is a marathon and not a series of 100 yard dashes.  To model this for our children is a gift we can give them.  It starts first with caring for ourselves and then honoring how our children also need to pace their lives.  When we look back at all our activities, what activities will have provided lasting lifelong impressions we want to shape our lives for the better?  What activities did we choose not to do which will also have lifelong impressions we want to shape our lives for the better? We need to choose both well.

Sydney is excited about this year’s Daddy Daughter Dance.  We haven’t found the right outfit yet, but we are talking about possibilities.  Tony always wears his red button down shirt with one of his two Valentine’s Day ties – Pooh Bear or Bugs Bunny.  They will have their picture made together to put in the photo album alongside the other Daddy Daughter Dance pictures.  New memories will be made, but there will be a gap year where a photo is missing.

I will not forget moving forward why there is a missing photo and why one year my daughter didn’t want to go to the Daddy Daughter Dance.

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