I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Bella’s dance company added a second performance to their recital – to be held on Sunday. I had previously talked to Bella’s teacher about how Sunday is our day for worship, and for family, and explained that she wouldn’t be able to be involved in other dance activities if they were held on Sunday. So, naturally, when she added the second performance she knew, and I confirmed, that Bella wouldn’t make it to that show. I asked if that would throw anything off for the other dancers in the class, or if it would cause any trouble for Bella in class, and she assured me that everything would be fine.
So, last night, we were at the dress rehearsal, and Bella’s class finally came out and ran through their number. They must have had the big stage jitters, because there were lots of girls who forgot the moves, and where they were supposed to be when. The instructor announced that they were going to run it again – which they really needed – and then I saw them take Bella and have her sit behind one of the curtains backstage. I didn’t understand what was going on at first, but then heard someone say that they needed to practice it the “Sunday way”. The only change I could see was that in the section where the girls are holding hands in circles of either 2 or 3, Bella’s group that was 3, now just had the 2 other girls in it. Not a big deal. Bella was visibly distressed by this. She was sitting on the side, watching the other girls do her dance – and I could tell, even from my seat in the audience, that she felt like the outcast. They obviously noticed too, because the teenage stage manager ended up sitting next to Bella with her arm around her until her class was ready to join her offstage.
It was disheartening as a parent to see my child be hurt by a decision that I made, and had talked her into. I was trying to teach her how important we think it is to keep the Sabbath, and live what we believe, but sitting there watching her slumped over and crying, I couldn’t help but second guess our choice. And, it made me wonder if they did this every week in class – where she had to sit out so they could practice without her.
When I was young, I was involved in community theater – and always performed in the Sunday matinee – because they didn’t have a backup for my role. But my family was INCREDIBLY strict about anything else to do with Sunday activities. I think the most active thing we ever did on Sunday was take a family walk. And Dan has many, many stories about how he never played on the league sports teams, even though he was recruited for them, because it would have required him to play on Sundays. I think it was difficult for him at the time – but has it adversely affected him in the long run? I don’t really think so.
I think his mom’s philosophy, and my parents’ as well (minus the allowance for theater – which now that I look back seems totally out of character for them to let me do that), was that if you allow your children to be involved in Sunday activities that are physical, or not with family, or against what we’ve been taught, then they’d be subliminally teaching their kids that what we’re taught at church, what we read in the scriptures, and what the prophets have instructed us, is really not that important, and that we can pick and choose for ourselves what commandments to follow, and to what extent. I’ve always bought into that philosophy as well – but watching Bella struggle last night made me think twice.
On the other hand, OF COURSE – it’s the things that we have to struggle with and through that make us stronger. So maybe, down the road, this will be one of the stories she remembers as a defining moment in her testimony of keeping the Sabbath Day holy, and in turn the importance of living your beliefs.
Or maybe it will be one of the defining moments of why she thinks her mom is a big meanie who didn’t let her do ANYTHING. Could go either way. Your thoughts?