Is making your Debut relevant to modern day teenagers? Until recently I would have said no. Do I want it publicly announced that my teenage daughter is ready and looking for a husband? Um no, but after having attended my first Debutante Ball my thoughts have changed (about the relevance, not about her marriage!!).
Having to find and ask a partner, committing to weeks of lessons and rehearsals, and putting yourself out there in front of a crowd of friends and strangers takes courage and a level of maturity that I had certainly not seen before in our Deb. To my surprise the Debs and their partners spent the night dancing away and having a great time engaging in a tradition that I had thought to be outdated, with only the occasional, discreet selfie.
Maybe it was the school teacher in me, maybe because I’m a mum, or could even have been from my youth worker days, but I was struck by the physical interactions. Not usually something that parents encourage in teens, but where else do they have the opportunity to learn and practice appropriate physical interactions between men and women? Certainly not from the likes of a Pitbull music video….( if you are not sure who he is, google one of his video clips and you’ll soon get the idea)……. Respectful, attentive, considered and fun interactions between men and women of all ages. Maybe we need more of these….. encouraging our youth to have these positive interactions with each other instead of banging on about all the possible negatives and dangers in the world.
I don’t have any answers, all I know is that watching these young people on the dance floor made me happy and proud and not for one second did I feel the need to monitor any behaviour, check where anyone was, or throw the “put that phone away” look in any direction like I usually would. It felt good to relax and enjoy the night. This possibly was exactly what I needed . To remember that kids are kids, and these are good ones, so I need to relax, this parenting gig is stressful enough without me adding to it. And anyway, whatever they get up to will probably never hold a shadow to what I got up to at the same age (sorry Mum and Dad…).
So when I changed my focus from the money I’d spent, the plans I’d had to change, the rehearsals I had to remember, the tickets I had to purchase and so on and so on…. then it all changed. This was more than just an excuse for the the girls to get dressed, and for parents to put their hand into their pockets (again..). It was about them stepping into the Ball and stepping off on their own, finding their way through the dance floor as they will hopefully through their lives, with confidence, respect and a smile on their face. Are they still relevant? Yes, I think they are.
These are just some of the photos I took of our Deb and her partner, they thoroughly enjoyed their night! Whether you have never been to a Deb Ball like me, haven’t been to one in a long time, or go every year, I hope you enjoy these images as much as I enjoyed taking them.