A single dad asked his little girl to her upcoming father-daughter dance in the best way. The adorable photos have gone viral overnight, and it’s easy to see why. Not only are the images totally precious, the scene he set is a fantastic example of how to teach consent. The fact that he didn’t assume she would say “yes” is the perfect way to let her know that in relationships, the ball is always in her court.
Jason Garmon set up a surprise for his 11-year-old daughter, Skylar. Unlike most fathers who would probably blindly assume they were taking their daughters to a father-daughter dance, Garmon decided to leave that choice up to his daughter. He presented her with a lovely set-up of iced tea, a table for two and a sign asking if she would go to the dance with him.
As Garmon states in his Facebook post, he didn’t assume he would be Skylar’s date, he wanted to ask her and let her say “yes” of her own accord. Knowing it’s a father-daughter dance and that he is her father, it would be easy to say “well, of course he’ll take her — he’s her father,” but that isn’t the point. You can look at this as a chivalrous act teaching Skylar how a man should treat her, or you can look at it as giving her power and agency over her own decisions. The ability to choose for herself whether her dad takes her or whether she goes to the dance at all. It’s a powerful lesson for her to learn and an important memory for her to keep as she grows and people other than her father start asking her on dates or to dances.
I’ll admit I’m normally not a fan of father-daughter dances or the culture behind them. The concept of “dating your daughter” and teaching her how a man should treat her has always made me a bit uncomfortable. That said, I’m now seeing value in it with Garmon’s post causing me to reexamine my previous stance. These dances can be treated as a way of showing your daughter that it’s always her call. It demonstrates clearly that even in a situation where her choice seems obvious, it’s not. It never will be. She can always say no, no matter what.
Looking back on my teen years, I remember situations with boys where I felt obligated to say “yes” for a dance or a date, even though I didn’t want to. If they went out of their way to ask me, I felt I should agree, just to be nice. No one ever sat me down and told me that no matter how sweet a guy is, I don’t have to consent to a single thing. Maybe if I’d learned that early on, certain things could’ve gone another way. My hope is that I can teach my own daughter differently, and examples like this are inspiring to see.