Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dance Dilemma

The summer that I was pregnant with my second daughter, my husband and I decided to sign our older daughter up for some activities so that she would have something special to do that was just all about her, and not her soon-to-be sibling. One of the activities we signed her up for was a summer dance camp – her first dance class. We thought this would be right up her alley, as she is always flitting about the house, dancing around, and dressing up in costume. That was 3 years ago, and she has attended a dance class during the school year and the summer, ever since. Most of the time she seems to enjoy it – her first 2 years, right before the dance recital, she would decide that she wanted to quit because she was tired of practicing, wanted more “play time.” We’ve impressed upon her the importance of sticking with it, telling her that her teacher and her class were counting on her for the recital; it’s not fair to them to drop out a few weeks before the recital. And I was pleasantly surprised and quite proud at the first year’s recital, that she truly loved being on stage, wasn’t afraid of dancing in front of all of those people in the audience – unlike how her mother would have felt!

Well this year, we booked a trip to Florida for this May, and it turns out for the first time in 3 years the dance recital will – of course – not be in June, but in May while we are in Florida! I was SO disappointed for my girl (and for myself!) that she would miss the recital – we had been so concerned about not booking the trip during her First Communion – never thought that the recital would switch months! Anyway, my girl was really great about it, “That’s ok, Mommy! I’ll go to class again next year and have a recital next year!” Bless her heart! She even wanted to stick it out and continue going to class, in spite of the fact that she would miss the recital that they are preparing for. Initially, the dance teacher tried to talk me into switching our plane tickets (in front of all of the kids and parents, no less…) but my girl wasn’t upset about it, and there are all sorts of fees involved, and it takes a lot to get my husband’s vacation approved through work, so I did not succumb to the pressure.

A couple of weeks went by and my girl told us last week that she didn’t want to go to dance class any more this year. She said that she’s on the last “tape” (mark on the floor) so that she doesn’t interfere with what the other dancers are doing, and she feels as though she’s doing all of this work for no reason, since she will miss the recital. My husband and I talked it over and decided that it’s different than dropping out and leaving them hanging for the recital, and there’s no sense forcing her to go if she’s going to be unhappy for the next 3 months. And she said that she wants to sign up again next year. I called the dance teacher and let her know that we were going to take a break for the rest of the year – she actually understood because she had thought my girl seemed to be detached and not having much fun at class the last week or so. Then she went on to say that I should have my girl come in to say goodbye and explain to everyone why she wasn’t coming back. I said, “Oh, well, I can see if that’s something that she wants to do” and the teacher said, “Well, I think that you should force the issue, because this is a good life lesson – that you have to quit things in person. It will be good for closure.” Uh huh. I told her that we really weren’t looking at it as “goodbye” because she’ll be back in the summer, but the teacher was insistent that we bring her in for closure. I did ask my girl, on the off chance that this was something she’d really want to do, but as I suspected – no desire! We have not pushed her to go back to the class to say goodbye. I personally think that my husband and I are pretty good at assessing when it’s appropriate for our girl(s) to learn “life lessons”, and I don’t know that the “quitting things in person” life lesson needs to be taught at the age of 8.

But that’s just me - how do you feel about this? What would you do in this situation?


Christine said...

hmmm....What would I do in that situation-Probably tell the dance teacher to mind her own BEESWAX!

Deanna said...

I am shocked -- I can't imagine you doing that! ;) Hey, I thought I was good just thinking it!

Teamcarbone said...

Um I'm stunned and a little taken back by the teacher insisting yet again you do something against you're best judgement.