Thursday, November 24, 2005

I hope you dance

A was sick for three days with a bad cold. Beginning of term 2, report card was to have been handed out the first sick day. This is not a cold he could have faked and his report card will be honors. He came to me tonight and said "I fel aboud dearly 100 percend, so cud I please go to watch duh hockey gabe?" (He didn't go).

Yesterday as we discussed the classes he might be missing and the email reply from teachers about little homework and a 100% score on the last science quiz, he briefly mentioned that the current Phys Ed unit was "dance."

My parent's in-grained Mennonite inhibitions came to mind. The movie I watched yesterday came along for the ride down memory lane. It was Chariots of Fire and in case you haven't seen it (your very great and tragic loss), one primary conflict is the protagonist Olympic athlete standing up for his conscience to honor the Sabbath.

I asked myself what my conscience says about dancing. It said my parents didn't approve. And that was okay. I didn't really like sitting on the stage in grade six while the other girls and boys got to dosie-doh. I never really saw what was so bad about it. Oddly enough, they let me watch those sex ed films. Of course, I did hear in high school about the foolish behaviour resulting from the spiked prom punch and the unwanted pregnancy from the too-long, too-private visit to the backseat of the Chevy in between dances.

Bottom line was, I have to this point felt that dancing involves touching, and that is still not age-appropriate for my pubescent boy. I asked the teacher if there were options. I asked the principal why it was it was a mandatory unit and not optional like so many of the others. Like shouldn't hockey be mandatory? This is Canada after all.

The teacher explained they are doing line dancing, two-step and jive. They thoroughly discuss social ettiquite and closely monitor the appropriate of the placement of hands during the "closed position." Even now that dance term makes me wince.

"But you as a parent have the right to keep him out. His option is to do a report in the resource room, subject of his choice. He needs to know it's not punishment and that it is your decision." I thanked her for the reassurances and cautions and said we'd have a family discussion about it.

So around the supper table after we've eaten, read the day's devotional and prayed; sandwiched in the 2 minutes right before I have to leave because I'll be late otherwise, I ask the family about this.

Dad says son should learn. Son thinks that means the report option. I ask son how he feels. "I'd rather dance."

Dad clarifies he means son should dance. "I did after all." What was all his mumbling in the Christmas musical during choreography about needing to read "Dancing for Dummies?"

Outvoted 2-1. My conscience said - he's the boss. And I'm okay with that. Then he's accountable. It's more important I follow his lead than mimic my parents. They did what they thought was right and I didn't learn to dance until I directed a choir. That may be why I'm not directing any more.

A is delighted to dance. He'll probably be really good at it. Lord, make him blind to the temptress. Help him find the beauty in the music and movement. Help him see your artistry of the body in all its forms.

And thankfully he's not the male actor wearing a pink tu-tu in the youth Christmas production. I'm in the production too: a lisping caroller singing in the rain.

I'd rather dance.

Update after two weeks: He danced. Beautifully. His teacher said he was the best she'd ever seen. While giving the final unit test, she'd pull girls from other partners and put them with A so that she "could grade what the girls could do with someone who knows how to lead."

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