Saturday, May 30, 2009

Keeping it Holy

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?


Robin said...

We have the same delemma with Ike and sports and so far we have not played on a Sunday. I think you can use this experience to reinforce how proud you are of Bella for choosing to keep the Sabbath holy. Doing what is right isn't always easy or rewarding.

Saquel25 said...

You know it may seem as if the little things that we let slide will not affect us in the long run but from experience I think they do. Sunday at my house was always a day that set me up for the rest of the week. We didn't even do homework or watch TV. It was quiet and free from anything competitive or performance related. I think these were the times when the strong connections in my family were forged. I think I didn't appreciate how much I needed this until the stress of high school kicked in and it was my permission to renew and not have to do or think about anything except spiritual or uplifting things. It's hard though. It hasn't been until recently that Leia has understood why we had to say no to parties and things on a Sunday. Perhaps a family home evening on the subject might help since it's on Bella's mind right now. I look back on Sundays as some of my most treasured memories yet I have memories of school pantomimes and other musical performances with neutral feelings. I certainly don't think of my mother as a meanie even though she put her foot down. She is one of my best friends.

Valeri said...

That is a really tough call, and I'm not sure what I would have done. I think you handled it as best you could. What I'm really curious to know is how your conversation with Bella went after the rehaersal? Was she mad at you? Were you able to explain to her the importance of obedience and how she was doing the right thing - to the point that comfort overtook the sadness and discouragement she was feeling? I must say, I'm not looking forward to days like this where I may have to play 'bad guy' - even though ultimately it's a very good and righteous thing you did!

Angie said...

Cumorah, I found your blog! I love reading it, you definitely inspire me.

My heart would break too, if Cassidy was so sad and in tears feeling left out. But it's those principles that we have to instill in them at an early age.

I know when I played soccer in college, it was hard to miss out on Sunday games. But I'm grateful I didn't have to make that hard choice then because I already knew what I had to do.

Good luck! And I'm so happy to be able to keep in touch through the blogging world...and not just at Natalei's house for a party. :)

Tricia Lauritzen said...

I'm the only one who is the 'meanie mom' so I think you are safe there. I do believe she will always remember it but if you make a big deal about how proud you are of her for making the right choice than it can be a positive memory.

Rachael Jill said...

The example you are setting is priceless. I missed out on many orchestra and symphony groups because they practiced and preformed on Sundays and Wednesdays (mutual). When I made the cut for this particular group when I was 12, they gave me the choice, and I chose no because of the example my parents set, I knew it was important. She may not realize it now, but when it comes time for a defining moment, she can reflect on this experience as a source of experience and strength. Just make sure you tell her how proud you are of her for making this sacrifice, and that you know its hard, and make sure she hears your testimony of keeping the sabbath. I think these teaching moments really influence them in a way we don't realize.