I recently went to a dance with my 11-year-old daughter; it was a “Father and Daughter Dance” put on as a charity event, including cotton candy machine, candy bar, Italian soda bar and a photo booth. It was pretty great!
And of course there was dancing. We had a GREAT time! There was a short interlude where they taught us how to do some simple moves, and the evening included some slow dances and fun/fast ones too. It took us a little while to warm up, but we got the hang of it – together!
There were fathers and daughters everywhere, of all ages. Strangely, some dads seemed to sit at table while their daughters danced with friends. When I think about it though, I can imagine how that might be easy to do if she had friends with her, for us, it was a room full of strangers.
My oldest daughter is 21 and I remember when she would drag me onto the dance floor, I would reluctantly go out there knowing I would look like an idiot because I don’t know how to dance – I was embarrassed.
She would actually tease me because I had a particular way of dancing that she thought was funny. She would even put on music and tell all of her friends at her birthday parties about it and make me dance for them.
That may sound like an insult, but it wasn’t! She was proud of me, she was excited that I would dance for her and be willing to risk embarrassing myself in front of her friends. She didn’t do it to mock me; she did it to show her friends what her Dad would do for her, that theirs wouldn’t. She knew I wasn’t completely comfortable with it, so it meant more to her when I would do it.
I didn’t exactly “enjoy” it, like I said, dancing isn’t my thing. But you know what I did enjoy? The one thing that made it all worth it?!
The look on her face as she smiled and laughed and she didn’t leave me to dance alone, she would dance WITH me. It got to the point I was doing it quite frequently and she’d often join me. So much so I thought I better invest in one of these wooden dance floors to make it a little more fun for us!
Imagine if we as dad’s stopped worrying about ourselves and just looked into the faces and sparkling eyes of our daughters instead?!
Our daughters won’t always be there, for any number of reasons they leave or grow up or occasionally we may lose them entirely.
This scene illustrates this idea incredibly well, it’s from a movie called “Courageous” where a daughter asks her Dad to dance, and I believe that every daughter wants to ask their Dad to dance, even if they don’t say it out loud. They want to be cherished, and they want to be held by their Dad’s strong arms, they want to know they are loved and enjoy the moment with us.
If you notice he doesn’t dance with her. I was angry and frustrated when I first saw this movie. But to be honest, that was once me…
In the movie his daughter dies, he goes back to that place and dances, alone imagining that he is there with her. He does his side of the dance.
Dads, take your daughter’s hearts into your arms, show them that you love them enough to do whatever it takes – including DANCE! Don’t worry about how silly you look, look at your daughter’s face, see the joy and embrace her instead of your own fear or discomfort.
There may be other things you aren’t comfortable with, things that speak love to your children that make you feel awkward or strange, and you can apply this challenge there too. But if you aren’t sure what that is, start with dancing, even if it’s in your living room.
You may not always have the opportunity, and it may be one of the greatest ways for you to show her how much you love her and how precious her heart is to you, ESPECIALLY if it’s outside your comfort zone.
I promise, it’s worth it!
Here is an extra one for you – Don’t miss your opportunity, your daughter needs the warmth of your arms and the joy in your face.