A Time Honored Tradition Banned: Father/Daughter Dances
By, Amy M. Voltero
Dictionary.com defines time honored traditions as respected or valued because it has existed for a long time. How many times have you been to a baseball game and witnessed the first pitch being thrown? Tailgating is every die hard football fan’s pleasure. There’s nothing better than setting up a tent and the barbecue grill, and psyching yourself up for three hours of sacks, touchdowns and first downs.
The country’s singing of the national anthem is also a time honored tradition prior to a sporting event. I can remember being a kid waiting to see which famous celebrity was honored to belt out our country’s theme song. Another childhood memory was saying the, “Pledge of Allegiance,” in homeroom when the teacher was taking attendance. My most fond memory of time honored tradition is preparing for the Father/Daughter dance at my elementary school. I loved getting dressed up, and looked forward to having the best dance partner, my Dad. We would do the dough see dough, the jitterbug and dance to slow songs.
In Cranston Rhode Island, Father/Daughter dances, and Mother/Son baseball games are now obsolete. Thanks to the ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union and a complaint fueled by a single mother in the community. The issue at hand was her daughter was denied entrance to the dance due to her father not being in her life. That means persons in charge of admittance to the event, discriminated against this young girl for something out of her control.
These events violate Rhode Island’s gender discrimination law. Superintendent Judith Lundsten informed school organizations gender-specific events would no longer be allowed after school district attorneys found that, while federal gender discrimination laws exempt such events, Rhode Island law does not.(Fox news)
According to the Associated Press, “I acknowledge that many of these events have long traditions and for many parents, these types of gender-based events are not an issue,” Lundsten wrote. “However, this is a public school system and under no circumstances should we be isolating any child from full participation in school activities and events based on gender. Please be all-inclusive when planning your events.” (Fox news)
Some families in Rhode Island are outraged. Despite the differences in family structures, there are some families who want to practice traditional family values, and that includes, partaking in events such as the above. Parents who struggle balancing their time between work and parenting, look forward to these dances, and in creating memories that will last a lifetime.
I am in agreement with Superintendent Lundsten’s statement. Family structures in the 40’s and 50’s, families consisted primarily of two parents, siblings and sometimes grandparents. The norm of family structure in the year 2012 consists of one mother or father, two mothers or fathers, or a sibling or alternate family member could be acting as the primary caregiver. Children should not pay the price for the hand they were dealt. I believe such events, should not be excluded from a child’s life. Just change the name, why completely ban this time honored tradition?
As most of you know, I wear the hat of mother and father. Balancing work, recovery and parenting can leave an overwhelming feeling of guilt at times, for not spending as much time with her as I want to. The rush of daycare and work preparation, dinner, bath, playtime and bed feels as if I am on auto pilot some days. When all is said and done, I work from home, listening to her seaside lullaby cd, and reflect on my day and shortcomings. I always come to the same conclusion, I wish there was more time in the day. As she gets older, I realize I will be wearing more hats; coach, tutor, cab driver, etc. My hope is to be able to find an even balance between life on life’s terms and parenting. By the time my daughter reaches the age of dances, hopefully the ACLU will have come to an agreement with communities in bringing back these traditions, only under a new title, so single parents such as myself will be given the same opportunity, as generations before, to cherish these Kodak moments.