By Eugene Kane Senior Writer and Columnist Published Feb 14, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Cedric Banks knows how tough it can be to raise a daughter to expect the men in her life to treat her right.

That's why sometimes the first date should be with Dad.

"She knows to expect the guy to open the door for her, or to pull out her chair. She knows that because I did it!"

Banks was talking about his experiences at Milwaukee's annual Daddy/Daughter Dance, which bring fathers and daughters together for an evening of music and dancing.

This Saturday the 10th annual Daddy/Daughter dance will be held at North Division High School, 1011 W. Center St. 

Banks, recreation supervisor for Milwaukee's Public Schools, was actually the one who brought the event to Milwaukee from his previous city of Chicago. 

"I saw a lot of the same tough environments here so I brought the concept from Chicago. Basically, what you had was some dads who don't know how to bond with their children."

Banks understands the dynamic in some households in Milwaukee where families are headed by African-American women with men absent in the home. He cited various examples of men who wanted to be closer to their children but were challenged by child custody or even legal obstacles.

"It's important that the fathers be in their children's lives, especially girls," said Banks. "This is a way to start forming that relationship."

The dance isn't restricted by age or race; Banks said that the dance has attracted older couples with adult fathers with adult daughters as well as more traditional middle-aged dads with teenagers.

Banks said that in previous years, he's heard from fathers who were grateful for the chance to see their daughters in a different light.

The same thing goes for the young ladies. Sometimes the daughters have never seen their father dressed in a suit or tie.

When Banks attended the dance with his two daughters – both are now in their 20s – he said that it was the little things that touched him.

"It was a chance for us to giggle and laugh together,  something we will always remember."

The Daddy/Daughter Dance will begin at 5:45 with walk up registration. The tickets are $30 and there will be dancing, games, prizes and a live DJ.

For men with female children, the important thing to remember is that the first impressions of the men they will become involved with later in life often comes from their father.

Events like the Daddy/Daughter Dance are a great place for girls to start forming their impressions of the ideal males.  That's why dad should be the perfect first date and the model for what's to come.

Eugene Kane Senior Writer and Columnist

Eugene Kane is veteran Milwaukee journalist and nationally award winning columnist.

Kane writes about a variety of important issues in Milwaukee and society that impact residents of all backgrounds.