The following is an excerpt from the book, Real Life Moments, by J. Mark Fox.
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)
I took my younger daughter to the Father and Daughter Valentine Dance at the YMCA this past Saturday night. Susanna had two red dresses she could have worn, but chose to wear the one “that Daddy bought me,” as she said to her mother. The dance started at 6:30, so that meant my little 7-year-old princess had to start getting ready at least by 3:00! She got her outfit together, complete with the pink gloves she had picked out to go with her red dress. She washed her hair and then patiently sat as her Mom put her curlers in. She fussed over her clothes and her shoes and finally her corsage. In the meantime, her Daddy was fussing and fuming over the Tar Heels, who looked like they had forgotten how to play defense and were going down in flames to archrival NC State. I got my black suit on (it matched my mood after the game), and my new red valentine tie, and escorted my daughter to her first dance.
We learned how to waltz, how to do the Foxtrot, and how to swing. We watched and laughed as others showed off their ‘electric slides’ and their ‘chicken noodle soups.’ (I had never heard of the latter, and to be honest, could not begin to tell you what they were doing when they were doing it). We laughed at each other, especially at me, a lot. Susanna giggled when I told her she was the prettiest girl there. She saw some of her friends and had short conversations with them. But mostly, she just wanted to be with her Daddy. We sat together on the sidelines and sipped our punch and nibbled our M&M’s. But we were never off the dance floor long. Susanna would not allow that. Her favorite thing we did all night was when I would take her hands in mine as she faced me, and she would slide under my legs and as she slid back out in front of me, I would lift her off the floor. “Do it again, Daddy!” she said over and over.
I was reminded of two things during this event Saturday night. First, I was reminded that, next to having a root canal done with no anesthesia while shopping all night at Wal-Mart, the next most painful experience for me is dancing. I am just not good at it. I still remember, painfully, when I had to dance in a Gallery Players production of “Can You Tell Me the Zip of That Faraway Land?” in 1983. There were guys in the cast who were just not able to get the dance steps at all. And then there was me. I was hopeless.
Second, I was reminded about how much little girls need their Daddy. They need us to be there for them, to be tender and affectionate with them, and to show them that they are worth more to us than a ball game or a night at home to rest or even the embarrassment of showing other guys how badly we dance. Little girls need their Daddy.
One day a young man is going to come calling, asking for my little girl’s hand in marriage. Until then, I will keep her heart and protect her and love her. And who knows? I may even take her to the dance again next year. Her toes should be healed by then.
Prayer: “Lord, help me love my little girl and give her what she needs from her Daddy.”
Action: Plan a date with your daughter.