There is one day, at the beginning of each year, which I have learned to love and dread all at the same time. It is the Friday of the first dance at a nearby boy’s school. See, I think that it is my duty as the girls’ religion teacher to give them a pep talk before the dance on how fabulous they are and how they should make good choices. I saw some former students on Friday afternoon and explained how it was the first dance talk…they nodded their wise heads and gave me a knowing look…”ohhhh.” I had to laugh as they either had it last year or the year before—it’s not like we are talking years and years ago here. But anyway.
I cover basically the same topics in each speech, although I did tweak this year’s a bit to better fit the personality of the class. Here’s a general cover of what I discuss:
I open by telling the girls that this is a day we have all been waiting for (I really try to build it up) and go on to say that they are now my students and as such represent me. As I am fairly involved in the Catholic community in my area, I have connections at most of the local schools, so I remind them of this and encourage them to be aware that I WILL FIND OUT (although most often I find out from them…as they think I am deaf and won’t hear it if they talk right in front of my desk. Yeah, right. I’m 24, girls—I HEAR YOU!).
Then we go through the 3 Bs (this class also got 2 extras…no bellies and no backs). We briefly discuss that they don’t need makeup, but if they and mom decide they can put it on, less is more (don’t want them looking like they belong on a street corner somewhere!).
We cover that they aren’t engaged to these boys, so if the boy dances with them, and then dances with someone else, there is no reason to take it personally. He’s obviously not THE ONE and they should just talk to someone else, not get angry with the girl. Of course, there is also a conversation on how even if I am not at the dance (I only chaperon our dances), God is everywhere and God sees everything and that God will see them. That they should leave room for the Holy Spirit, as he guides us in making good decisions and if we leave him out, how will we be guided into making good decisions. And that leaving room for the Holy Spirit is not just a mental thing—it is also a physical thing. There should be actual SPACE in between the bodies. My favorite is when I talk about inappropriate dancing…and how we just don’t do it. I’m not sure if they don’t think I know the word grinding, or if they simply think I won’t use it, but I do and they are always shocked. I figure that if I’m up front and direct, there will not be any room for questions or discussions.
I end by simply telling the girls how fabulous and beautiful they are, and that I firmly believe that they will change the world. I remind them that they are perfect just the way they are and that they don’t need a boy, especially not one who will make them feel bad. I try to stress how special and wonderful they are so they will go into the dance feeling great and confident (so they will feel strong in making good choices).
How do you talk to your kids about dances and making good choices?