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May 03, 2006

Another Series from Rebecca

Within the conservative, Christian, often-homeschooling subculture, a new(ish) idea has caught on--encouraging the father/daughter relationship, but with an emphasis on "purity."

Check out these thoughtful (and somewhat disturbing) posts:

I'm all for purity but...
Fathers and daughters
Let girls be girls
Alternatives to father-daughter balls

Also disturbing to me is that the mothers are strangely missing from this event, and that there is no corresponding event to urge sons to pledge their purity to their mothers. Doesn't it seem odd that purity is pledged to the opposite sex parent, rather than to both parents?

I don't have daughters. I have sons. And we will pass on to them our values about character, family commitments, sexual purity. . . And while I'm not going to limit our discussion about the birds and the bees, early sexualization is not something that is healthy. Even when done to emphasize "purity."


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I'd have to agree with you there...it's a little creepy.

Though I just got through a book put out by IVP that suggests a much less weird version of that as a father/daught, mother/son "date night" that basically boils down to hanging out and doing something that the child would want to do and basically using the evening to start to teach them about appropriate behavior around the other sex (read: not quasi-romatic, but more of a good manners kind of thing).

Posted by: Pete at May 4, 2006 09:37 AM

what on earth? That is very disturbing.

The picture she posted of the little girl reading her pledge card to her dad gave me creepy chills...and she's right - would they want sons pledging to their mothers? There's something very unsettling going on.

Posted by: sparrow at May 4, 2006 10:18 AM

I am not sure of the "creepy" angle; though I know what you mean, I think it is a quite innocent thing that has just stumbled unconsideringly into the trappings of grownup culture. I think the culture has gotten so out of whack with these things that really well meaning people don't realize how symbolically inappropriate this sort of thing is.

However, I've been uncomfortable about these things as long as I've known about them. While I think the idea is to remedy the problem that girls are often not secure enough in their father's affection so they pursue attention from others, guess what -- the guys who are doing this aren't the ones who are depriving their daughters of affection and attention, and they don't need this additional charade to strengthen the relationship. As the last post suggested, doing things together that fathers and daughters each enjoy individually or together makes a lot more sense -- it is more appropriate for the father daughter relationship.

Besides, I never quite got the whole deal with making a public spectacle of virtue, whether it's the "promise rings" or the pledges or whatever. Sexual virtue is supposed to be what you don't see. It's the girl who doesn't have a reputation and doesn't draw attention to her own sexuality (while not denying its appropriate use) who is actually the one of good repute, so to speak.

Posted by: pentamom at May 4, 2006 10:20 AM

I think the reason the mothers are "missing" is that since the father is the head of the family, he is ultimately accountable to God for the way his children turn out.

That said, having scanned over the first link you posted, I do think that the wording goes way too far for this context. That's the kind of thing that ought to be discussed between the child and the same-sex parent if at all possible, and in a private setting that's more befitting the holiness of the subject being discussed.

The Vision Forum folks are pretty sentimental, but I don't see anything wrong at all with father/daughter events in general. Lots of normal ;-) fathers I know take their daughters out for dates on special occasions, like their 13th or 16th birthdays, and plenty of churches sponsor father/daughter events that include dressing up and dancing.

I think what you're seeing here is an overreaction to three things: the immorality of our culture, the prevalence of passive fathers, and the denigration of femininity, all of which, unfortunately, are becoming more and more widespread in the Church.

Posted by: Kelly at May 4, 2006 12:14 PM

Wait - I'l have to retract something. I just realized that these events are sponsored by Focus on the Family, not Vision Forum.

I admit that when I posted the above I was with difficulty restraining myself from saying, "WHAT ARE THEY THINKING? I thought they had more sense than that!"

Now that I know it's FOTF, my reaction is more, "Oh, well, there ya are." I used to love FOTF, but I've lost a lot of respect for them in the last decade.

Posted by: Kelly at May 4, 2006 12:21 PM

This is indeed quite creepy. Like someone else commented, it seems like it does sexualize young girls--just in a different way.

Posted by: sweetpea at May 4, 2006 12:44 PM

i have four lads and one gorgeous girl..
thanks for these links, i especially loved the last post on "alternatives".. cool ideas here.

our kiddos take it in turns to go out with me or hubby on friday nights while the rest of the family hang at home for a family night (of course, when it's the boys' turn to go out with their dad, it's called a BOYZ NITE.. which self-respecting lad would go on a *date* with their dad? lol)

i totally agree that kids should grow up in their own time, but i am way more forthcoming with information than i was in our "reflections of moral innocence" days. dropping those ideas has totally taken the emotion out of the whole topic: kids need healthy information, not some plant-chat-until-the-wedding-night-shock imho.
*liberating grin*

Posted by: kate5kiwis at May 4, 2006 06:30 PM

first off - eewwwww yuck! it smacks of so much i can't even begin to draw comparisons.
second - i remember so well the night dad took me out on our 'date'. a walk, a talk, a steak. he gave me one of those heart and key neacklaces and explained the 'time would come when'... WHEN A BOY WAS INTERESTED IN MARRIGE - he would ask for the key. NOT when a boy was interested in SEX! i cried enough thinking about the time when i wouldn't be 'daddy's lil girl'. i would have NOT been able to handle the sex issue. it was bad enough hearing the 'when you grow up you'll bleed' from MOM...
my heart goes out to these girls. these children.
date nights - YES! information - YES!
explotaion, ownership, innocence lost... BIG FAT HAIRY NO NO NO NO NO.

Posted by: mtnmama at May 5, 2006 12:09 AM

ALTHOUGH... according to the msn headlines today - kansas sets marrige age at 15. i guess if you are getting married at 15 than maybe this is a good idea after all to be startin them so young.
i see now how it fits together. purity ownership. arranged buea. family courtship. child bride.
what country is this?!?

Posted by: mtnmama at May 5, 2006 03:58 PM

Thanks for sharing these links. She enunciated it so well... I've had the same thoughts and misgivings over this growing fad... it's just *weird*.

I agree that purity should not be made a spectacle of.


Posted by: beth at May 6, 2006 09:28 PM

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