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Sunday, May 1, 2016

No dancing for money

Thursday, May 10, 2012

So last Wednesday was beautiful and sunny, free from the wind which seems to be so popular these days. I went to pick up my 9-year-old after school and she pulled her usual stunt, asking AS she's entering the truck, with her friend standing beside her, "Can she PLEASE come over and play this afternoon? Please, please, please?"

I hate when she puts me on the spot like that in front of her friends, and I knew there were chores to be done, but because it was so nice outside, I gave in and said yes. Plus, I knew we had church later that evening and I still had to prepare for my Bible class so maybe the girls would play and I'd have a few hours to finish up.

And that's exactly what transpired. All the girls rushed outside to enjoy the sunshine and I grabbed the computer and plopped down on the couch to finish my lesson. I could see them all in the front yard playing and hear them through the open windows so all was well.

They came in a few times for snacks and drinks, asking once if they could color on the big piece of cardboard. "Sure, no problem," I said. Then later they popped in and asked if they could turn on their stereo outside. "Sure, just not too loud," I said. I typed away on my computer glancing now and then to make sure they were all still present in the front yard and listening to them laugh and holler.

It was when they flew in the front door all excited and out of breathe explaining that they were doing a dance show and they'd put signs up telling people to stop and watch their show, and how some guy drove by the house twice and then ... gave them a thumbs up. And ... how the neighbor boys were watching them from behind the trees and that one boy walked by and gave them some money and ...

WHOA! Back the truck up, Mack! "You're doing what and who's giving you what?" is all I could muster without causing a big scene. I asked to see the "sign" they made and it was a huge piece of cardboard that read "Dance Show" with their names on it and our address. THEN ... they indicated they'd made additional signs for the street poles at the end of the block in hopes of gathering an audience. Apparently they hadn't intended on earning money for shaking their groove thangs in the front yard, but somehow they got the lemonade stand concept intertwined with a front yard dance show and money became their goal.

The whole picture was just WRONG! There I am, sitting inside working on my Bible lesson, listening to what I thought was my beautiful blessings play outside, frolicking as little kids do, only to be shocked that they'd basically opened a nightclub.

Fortunately for me, it was time to eat and go to church so the dance hall had to be closed down for the night. Then I had to decide when and how to explain to my creative 9-year-old that our yard would no longer be the neighborhood all-girl dance joint. I didn't want to make her feel bad, since she has no idea of life outside of her innocent world, and she and this friend love making up new dance routines, but I had to explain that their routines are NOT and in NO WAY are ever supposed to be displayed for males and for a profit.

On the way home from church, I took the opportunity to politely and clearly outline why she wasn't allowed to have dance shows in the front yard anymore and I thought I deserved points for my approach.

I thanked her for including her sister, told her she was creative and was blessed to have great friends to play with. Then ... I went on to describe the inappropriateness of dancing for money, the difference between boys and girls minds and that men circling the house means "danger" not "success."

She just stared at me in total confusion. "I just don't understand how that's bad, Mom." She said it's no different than the dance recital each year and sometimes people pay to see that.

I repeated my same speech but then she just got mad. "So we can't EVER dance in the front yard again? That's not fair! We love to make up dances." I even made an attempt to explain some women's sketchy career choices to hopefully make her understand but to no avail. She just didn't get it.

So I finally ended the conversation with, "You know what, I'm the mom and I say, NO MORE dance shows in the front yard! You can be mad if you want to, but someday you'll understand, so DEAL with it!"

She went to bed mad at me and then I had to call her friend's mom and explain the situation.

After my apology, I assured her that in the future, only lemonade stands will be allowed to earn money in the front yard of our house, not dancing for money!

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Jennifer Morgan
Motherhood Moments
-- Jennifer Morgan is the mother of three girls and lives in McCook.