Sunday, October 26, 2008

Of Daughters, and Dancing, and Liberation

Almost two years ago, our then just 13 year old sat at our dinner table one early spring night and told us that she was "done" with public school. Done. Her grades were fine, she was involved in sports, the play, and student leadership. But she was weary from the effort, and wanted something different - and not just another four years at South Pasadena High School.

Wait. Done? We moved to our town 20 years ago because of the great public schools! What about those property taxes I grudgingly pay each year? THAT was what was supposed to secure a good education for my girls. Older Daughter was seemingly happy in a good public school system, and likely college bound. What was going on here? Private school? What tha...? This was not in The Plan.

You know The Plan. That's the script we all write for ourselves in our heads, whether we admit it or not. We are all fiction writers, planning out our lives in minute detail; the friends we will keep, the places we will live, the comforts we will have, the lack of pain, complete health, laughter, no troubles. Even the wonderful, trouble free public schools our kids will attend.

That was my Plan, this is my reality. Private school.

And so, we are now in a private parochial school, and an all girls school to boot. All girls, no boys. And after just a short time, all I can say, is, for our daughter, thank you Jesus, for a choice.

Now mind you, I am very aware that my daughter is going to a school for Very Privileged Young Ladies. She is spending time in an elite class of girls for whom there is very little need, or what. This will be something we will need to keep constantly in focus, given that we live in a world crying with need.

However, this past week I got to be a part of two events that were very helpful in my understanding of where our daughter might be going on this journey of high school and beyond.

Wednesday night was the annual Father Daughter Dance. For most high school girls, this event might have the potential to be massively embarrassing. You know, something on the scale of Cinderella goes to the Ball with Quasimodo. Or Dwight Shrute. But not this school, and not these girls. This was an evening of unbridled fun; dinner, conversation, and of course, dancing. Watching girls dance with their Dad's was a study in unbridled joy. This was not your Father's Father Daughter dance, either. This was a wonderful celebration of being a girl. And us Dad's were privileged to participate. Submitted below is grainy video evidence of a fun time:

My favorite - the Father Daughter Dance Contest. Needless to say, we did not make the finals.

And then, on Saturday night, I showed up at school for a ComedySportz event at school. Without too much explanation, this is all about comedy improv, and its all girls, no boys.

As I sat in the dark, in the midst of my middle age and raising teenage girls, I thought to myself how good it is there are still such things as private, religious girls schools. These girls making jokes and doing skits up on the stage are being liberated from a society that would like them to fit in little girl-shaped boxes.

This, my friends, is a good thing.
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