If I was able to, I would pay every dime I ever make to ensure that my children keep their pants on, stay away from drugs and drinking, avoid problems with the law, and don’t desperately seek the wrong kind of attention during their awkward, insecure teenage years. You can’t put a price tag on regret.
I was in Girl Scouts, tennis, cheerleading, literary magazine, band, chorus, what could have been considered glee club at the time, drum & bugle corps, and a myriad of other organizations. Somehow I still found time to get into trouble. Sometimes those activities were exactly how I managed to do it. I’m not talking about a little bit of trouble. I’m talking about the kind of trouble that would make you bat your eyelashes.
How do we save our kids from the cold world out there? How do we deter them from making decisions that can forever alter their lives? Heroin is everywhere, STDs are so common now that people don’t even seem to mind if they acquire one.Marijuana is legal, alcohol is everywhere, babies are having babies, teenage girls brag about their sexual conquests on social media, and my kids are growing up in the age of tinder, yik yak, and snapchat. We are a doomed society!
I could hand you religion as a solution, but religion is too taboo. I’m not going there.
I could go to a ‘Horrified Tween Moms’ support group, but that would just be more time that I wasn’t able to protect my children from society; saving them from the latest and creepiest connect-ed bus stop stalker.
We could move to Pennsylvania and become quakers… but I’m sure even the quakers have bimbos and issues.
My very expensive solution to this problem is dance class.
My girls have been going for recreational dance classes for a few years now. I have driven them back and forth for their one or two hours a week and somehow, no matter what night their classes land on in any given year, we always see the same girls there. Some are student teaching my daughters’ classes with their main teacher, some are doing their homework in the breakroom, some are sitting in the lobby in between classes chatting about what to have for dinner, and others are… you guessed it…. dancing.
Picture this: Your daughter (or son!) completely occupied about 200 days a year, learning a skill that will keep them driven to stay healthy, developing close knit relationships with other kids who love the same things, working toward goals, achieving them, and trying harder every year to seek attention for all of the RIGHT reasons.
Originally the thought made me cringe. How much can we spoil and indulge this generation of expectant children? Thousands of dollars on sparkly costumes felt ridiculous. I’m not about to let this down to earth mentality I’ve worked so hard to hone go right down the drain.
Then I got some of the best advice I’ve ever received. Ever. My cousin (we’ll just call her Nicole as a code name) told me that there is no price tag so big that it isn’t worth paying to know that your children are safe and happy with their friends. You’ll find the money somewhere.
She’s right. I will.
There is no price tag that you can put on that door. No creeps are walking through that door. No drugs are walking through that door. No beers are walking through that door. You may encounter a spitfire here and there, but you are safely protected by the teacher that loves your child for every strength they have, and every weakness that they will overcome. If you’re in the right place, your child’s teacher will protect her like a mother hen because she isn’t just a student, she’s a member of a team. She’s a member of a family. I’ll pay every dime I ever make to lock out the demons and lock in the angels.
I will drive a beater and break out the same summer clothes every single year if it means that my children are safe, happy, healthy, and surrounded by positive influences.
My daughter was invited to try out for the competition dance team at her school (which is just about the greatest thing since white bread). Tryouts are tomorrow. My wallet is horrified, but my heart is filled with hope for her life, and the potential that she has yet to unleash.
There is no shame in locking your child in a room to protect them from the evil in the world, as long as there is a great reason for it, and a great room to be in.