Father Daughter Dance – These Guys Understand…

Last Sunday, I was the host and DJ for the 10th Annual Father Daughter Dance, a dance that started back in 2005 with only 17 dads. We thought 17 dads coming was cool, but this year we were at capacity with over 175 dads, together in one room, each with one, two, or even 3 daughters for an unforgettable night of family memories with 400 other enthusiastic people. This year we were sold out a week early!  Imagining a sell out 10 years ago was foolish pipe dream, but this dance is a small example of how much more involved fathers are today.

As a DJ, you cannot imagine a more positive and happy vibe in a room. From the giggles in the photo booth and ‘hair salons’, to the silly dancing on the floor, these Dads GET IT! As their beaming daughters gaze up and marvel, these dads proudly embrace the role of hero!

The Father-Daughter bond is so important to the development of a strong, confident woman. Over the past few years, I have written many articles about this bond, but today, I want to touch on a few keys points inspired by the amazing moments I witnessed on Sunday.

First of all, we had 175 dads in one place to dance! As tough as it is to say, part of the magic of this night is no moms allowed. There are no women for shy, goofy, non-dancing dads to be self-conscious in front of. Let’s face it, very few men are fantastic confident dancers; most of us are just ok, safe with our limited repertoire of dance moves. Sure we can bust out the odd hand clapping shimmy moonwalk, or the C3PO robot with the faulty arm, but keeping the beat for an extended time (and looking cool) is tough work. Maybe it’s how we are raised and socialized; most men don’t phone and invite each other out for a night of dancing.
“Hey Brock, what are you doing tonight? Oh, putting in a new transmission eh? Me? Oh well, I feel like dancing tonight, do you want… hello…. Brock???”

But at this dance, by the end of the night, almost ever dad is on the floor, but it usually starts with one “Wiggle Dad”.

I will explain…. Many years ago, we took our children to see the Wiggles, those wickedly talented Australian guys. At the concert, parents were encouraged to get up and dance with their families. Understandably, most of us were too cool for school and politely declined the Wiggle’s offer and stayed planted in our seats. However, in our section, while we all sat safe, one dad and his daughter danced like there was no tomorrow. He was up and ‘committed to dance’ and what he lacked in dance rhythm and coordination, he more than made up for in enthusiasm. His daughter loved it and was right there with him.

I am sure his dancing angered a few dads, “Well, if he does it, then do we all have to?” But what his dancing did was give us fence-sitting dads the green light to be goofy and step out of our comfort zone for our kids. I found myself standing and grooving away, who cares if I default to the the Carleton with my Caucasian overbite, nothing and no one else mattered – all that mattered was having fun with my children. I won’t see these other people again, but I will see my son and daughter again. If I did see any of other people, what would they really say? “Nice Dancing”? or “Cool Dad?” I may not love dancing, but I do love my kids.

I often think about “Wiggle Dad” and his impact on me, the rest of my seating section, and my thoughts on parenting. The world needs Wiggle Dads, to show the other nervous self-conscious dads that everything is going to be awesome. Life is short. These are the good old days right now, soak it up!  Including myself, we have at least 15-20 Wiggle Dads at our dance every year. You can witness their exuberance and zany attitude rubbing off and inspiring even the most nervous, withdrawn, or stodgy dads.

I want to mention that we intentionally leave the wording on our Father Daughter Dance posters ambiguous. We never really specify the age of the daughters. We have had 18 month olds up to 14 year olds attend and have a blast. If a teenage daughter still wants to come and have fun with her cool dad, then all the power to them, major win for dad!! We also never specify dress code or WHO can bring a little girl. She may come on the arm of a step dad, grandpa, uncle, or family friend. The dance is open to any man playing a significant role in the life of a young girl.

The diverse cross section of men attending is astounding and awesome; white/blue collar, gay/straight, old/young, men in suits/men in jeans. None of that matters, because for one night, they are united in a huge public display of modern fatherhood, and more specifically, they were united by their love for their daughters.

These guys get it.

DSC04452As a dad, you are first man your daughter will love. You set the bar for every man she will ever encounter. He will be judged by the standard you will set. How high will you set the bar? The thousands of interactions you will share with your daughter will help shape her into the woman she will become. Everything matters; how you talk to (and with) your daughter, how you ask her opinion and feelings, how you listen to her, and how you talk about her to other people. She will learn that she has a voice that is equal to a man’s and needs to be listened to.

The amazing woman that, if you play your cards right, you may be lucky enough to walk down a wedding aisle as she gets married to someone very much like you, in personality, character, and love for her. Heck, she may even want a fun Father Daughter Dance at her wedding, to relive one of her best childhood memories!

Although I mentioned it numerous times throughout the dance, I want to thank all the wonderful families that support our Father Daughter Dance. You are inspiring and incredible. I love running into you and your daughters around town and hearing about your experience at the dance and how much you are looking forward to the next one! That is why we do it!

If you want to be the first to know about the next dance, please add your name to the list @ www.thedadvibe.com.

If you have been to one of our dances and want to share your experiences, please add your thoughts below…

If you are in the Okanagan and want to help sponsor the dance or help our little committee of four dads, then please email me jeff@thedadvibe.com for more info.

And if you want ideas on how to host a Father-Daughter Dance in your community, I would love to help you create more amazing family memories!

Until next time…