Father Daughter Valentine Dance:
Little Miracles Amidst a Fatherless Generation
Fatherlessness. It’s one of the prevailing issues of our generation.
One of my life missions, other than sharing the gospel with as many children as possible, is to defend and advocate for orphans, namely, children in foster care. There are over 35,000 children in foster care in Los Angeles. The lack of a father, or a trusted father figure, has left a noticeable mark on our society. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 1 in 4 children live without a father in the home. 70% of high school dropouts, 71% of teen pregnancies, and 90% of the homeless population come from fatherless homes.
If Fatherlessness was classified as a disease, we would be in an epidemic worthy of a national emergency.
Countless studies have shown that fathers make a significant impact on their children’s emotional growth, and researchers have found this is especially true with daughters. A new Ohio State study has found that fathers play a key role in helping their young daughters overcome loneliness. "Pay attention to their feelings, especially when they are sad or unhappy, and help them cope," said Professor Feng, co-author of the study. "Our results suggest it can really help daughters feel less lonely over time."
If research is any indication, daughters need their fathers, and a father, in many ways, represents “a daughter's first and most influential love." The father-daughter relationship is the one that best teaches young women about true love and intimacy, self-worth, and respect.
Professor Linda Nielsen summarized this in one profound sentence: "The father has the greater impact on the daughter’s ability to trust, enjoy, and relate well to the males in her life.”
The truth is, the negative effects of fatherlessness are overwhelming.
This is why Malibu Pacific Church’s annual Father Daughter Dance is nothing short of miraculous. Over 500 fathers in suits and daughters in sparkly gowns and tutus gathered to “freeze time” for the night--to celebrate their special bond. There were so many beautiful stories that flowed from this special and important event.
We wanted to highlight some of the stories of our 500 fathers and daughters, among them:
- A father mentioned to our greeters that he collects all of his heart stickers that he receives upon arrival (each heart sticker represents the number of years attended) in a keepsake box.
- One daughter hasn’t been able to walk in months and has missed many days of school, but she was determined to make it to the dance with her dad. She even found a special dress that worked with her cast and scooter.
- Another father told me that he is retired and worried that he is no longer contributing to society. He then handed me money to help pay for scholarships, for those who could not afford tickets.
- Two daughters in their 30s brought their dad simply to celebrate that he has been the best #girldad.
- A grandfather escorted his granddaughter, and carried around her glittery purse around for her the entire night.
- An older brother stepped up and asked his little sister to the dance, since her dad couldn’t make it, and they never left the dance floor.
- A daughter who is fighting epilepsy, enjoyed a night where dad wasn’t “doctor” but just simply “dad.”
- One father brought his two foster daughters, who were beaming from ear to ear, and they were among among the best dressed at the dance.
- Another sweet daughter clenched her dad during the last song, “Butterfly Kisses,” and cried into his chest, as the reality of leaving for college the next year set in.
There are so many more untold stories. These stories are examples of the Lord’s profound and endless love for us, and we believe these stories are worth celebrating! The love between a father and daughter isn’t just heartwarming, it is life changing!
If you are reading this and you don’t have a father, you have a rocky relationship with your father, or your children don’t have a father, take heart! You have a heavenly Father who has perfect love for you. Remember that the Lord is a father to the fatherless. He cares deeply for the orphan and the widow. There is hope and redemption for all.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God, and that’s what we are!" 1 John 3:1
Director of Children's & Family Ministry
Malibu Pacific Church
U.S. Census Bureau. “Living Arrangements of Children Under 18 Years Old: 1960 to Present”. U.S. Census Bureau July 1, 2016.
Ohio State University. "Close ties with fathers help daughters overcome loneliness: Study examined changes in child loneliness over time." ScienceDaily, 28 August 2018.
Nielsen, L. Father-daughter relationships: Contemporary research and issues. Routledge, 2012.