Two friends of mine, both dads in their 40s, were complaining about their seventh-grade daughters going to a dance at the public school. Both of these attractive young girls had dates, and with nice boys. But both dads feel their daughters are too young to go to a dance. They’re right.
“Just say no,” I said, myself a father of three girls, the oldest rapidly approaching seventh grade. “Tell them they can’t go.”
After all, what good can come to 12-year-old girls at a dance? Are they being courted for marriage? Are they being respected? Will they be treated in a way that will please their fathers? How many of them will be used? How many just want to be liked, but will have their little hearts broken? How many will get sneered at by jealous, carping, conniving competitors?
I went to dances. My friends and I were barbarians. Our intentions were nothing but destructive.
Again, what good can come to 12-year-old girls at a dance?
I repeated my advice to the dads: “Just say no. Tell them they can’t go.”
Of course, that’s easier said than done. As the dads noted, the peer pressure is huge. How would their daughters face the public scandal on Monday morning when they’re among the ignominious cast-outs who didn’t have a date to the big dance?
If I may, allow me to pinpoint the true culprit here: It’s the public school. Think about it: Why is the public school having a dance for seventh-graders in the first place? Why? For what possible good? Better yet, how do such dances relate to the school’s educational mission?
Well, actually, many of our modern public-school disciples of John Dewey indeed see this as part of the public school’s educational mission. It’s seen as a form of the all-important “socialization.” It really is. And that’s yet another reason why the entire public-school system and philosophy is a failed one.
It is most certainly not what Pope Benedict refers to as “education that is truly educational.” No, dances for seventh-grade girls are not education; they are nonsense.
For Catholic Exchange.com and Ave Maria Radio, I’m Paul Kengor.