Miss Cardigan's Blog

Instilling Catholic Values, One Middle Schooler at a Time

The Beginning September 28, 2010

Filed under: Clothing,Middle School Dance,Modesty,Teaching — misscardigan @ 8:50 pm

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?


The 3 Bs March 19, 2010

Filed under: Middle School Dance,Modesty — misscardigan @ 8:31 pm

When I was in college and sorority recruitment time rolled around, my sisters and I always spent a lot of time discussing how to best interact with the Potential New Members (PNMs).  There were three things that were off-limits, so to say—the 3 Bs: Booze, Boys, and Brands.

So last week, as I was preparing to host a 7th and 8th grade dance, I revisited and updated the “off limit conversation list” of my sorority, and applied it to inappropriate clothing choices instead.  A few days before the dance, I presented my students with a “Clothing Check List:” 3 Bs: No bras, no boobs, no butts.  It seems logical to me, a confident and moral woman in her 20s, that we should not show our boobs, bras, or butts in the middle of a dance, but I understand that this is not always the message that is presented.  So I set my standards and expectations.

Fast forward to the night after the dance, when I went to a local high school musical and ran into several of my former students.  I explained to them my new check list and said that I wished that I come up with my check list when I still had them.  They got a kick out of it!

Monday afternoon I checked my email and realized that I had received a message from one of the girls I saw at the musical and had been telling about the 3 Bs.  She sent me a link that they had been told about in Theology class—a link she believed would go along with my 3 Bs and that I should share with my girls.

It was a link to Pure Fashion, which is (from my understanding) similar to a Christian modeling program.  It encourages/requires its participants to dress in a modest way.  Although I disagree with some of its requirements (I mean, come on—there are plenty of strapless dresses that show no cleavage—and I personally think there is a time and place for them), overall I think it is a very positive idea.

Here is a link to the Pure Fashion Modesty Guidelines (the link my former student sent me).