Event brings dads, daughters closer
May 2, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 2, 2013) -- In a culture where relationships between parents and children are often strained, especially between fathers and daughters, a new type of affair is beginning to strengthen the bonds between adolescent girls and their fathers.
The Fort Rucker Spiritual Life Center held its second purity ball to help teenage and pre-teen girls continue on a path of chastity until they are married, according to Sgt. 1st Class Jorge Jimenez, event coordinator.
"We want to offer the opportunity for dads and daughters to share a special evening, and hopefully encourage the development of a better relationship and promote Family wellbeing," he said.
The event's purpose is to inspire and advise young women to wait to become sexually active until their wedding night to help prevent the spread of disease and pregnancy among teenagers.
The event began in 2011 when Jimenez read the book "Bringing up Girls" by James Dobson. According to Jimenez, the book offers statistical evidence on how important it is for daughters to enjoy a healthy relationship with their dads.
"One of the chapters highlighted purity ball events, and I thought no little girl backs away from the opportunity of [dancing] and spending time with her dad around a dance floor," he said.
Both events turned out to be "huge" successes.
"We dads had a beautiful evening with our daughters in a faith-based environment full of laughter and clean fun," he continued.
Though many of the attending girls were too young to understand the purity vow they took, Jimenez said the opportunity to dress up like a princess and spend time with their fathers was priceless.
"The vow does not pertain to them at this stage in their lives, but we cannot get back time lost during deployments and that part is what is important," he said, adding that male purity vow events, although not popular, are growing across the nation.
"The lack of purity is a bigger concern for young women, in my opinion, because of the risk of pregnancy. Statistically speaking, very few men will stick around. So this event is one way to curb single motherhood," he said.
Time spent together between fathers and daughters is essential to strengthen the bonds between them, according to Jimenez, and many attendees agreed.
Stephanie Garza, 12, said she and her sister, Kaitlian, appreciated the event because it brought them closer to their stepdad by helping them understand each other better.
"It shows that the Army understands that we don't always get to spend time with our dads, and it lets us have fun and cherish the moments that we do have together. We saw a couple people crying, so I know it means a lot to them, too," she said.
Music that both dads and daughters could enjoy was played, both teaching the other how to groove.
Girls soon began filling the dance floor with bubbles with the help of large fans that were brought in to help cool the room, which despite the high temperatures, helped keep the mood light.
The event is still new to the installation, but it is growing. One hundred and twenty two people participated this time around, which is more than last year, according to the coordinator.
"It's a great event for the community -- the girls walk away with a spark. Something will start in their minds and hearts, and that is a small step towards them staying pure [until] marriage," Jimenez said.
The night also had an important message to lay on fathers, not just their children.
"If we expect so much from [our daughters] we have to be the best. If we expect them to be pure and remain chaste, then we have to be the best husband to their mother. We have to show them that there are godly men out there, men like their fathers who prove to them there are reasons to wait," said Rev. Nicholas A. Peeples, guest speaker.
Peeples went on to say that the men attending are heroes, not because they are Soldiers, but because they are dads and that in the mind of their daughters, they are the epitome of the best the world has to offer in terms of men.
"Things we do and say will impact their lives forever. Make them believe they can make a contribution to society because the person that was most influential in their life made them believe it. Think how different the world would be today if everyone grew up knowing that the most influential man in their lives loved them, cared about them, embraced them and believed in them," he said.
Peeples finished with the purity vow.
"Our daughters can know God's purpose for purity in their lives because you taught it to them and you lived it out before them. You need to invest in them more than the world has invested in them," he said.