Should I Force My Sixth Grader to Take Ballroom Dance Classes?

I went to my first Back to School Night last night without children.  (They weren’t invited, bless that wise administrator.)   There were several sign-up booths out in front flanked with recruiters.

good painting 015

My sixth grader.

I stopped at the after school ballroom dance program table.  “So you’re teaching ballroom, huh?” I asked.  “That is so cool.”  I was reading a Jane Austen book so I was in the right frame of mind.

“Yes.  Is your child a boy or a girl?” she asked anxiously.

“A boy.”  I wish I could have captured her reaction on camera.  It was seriously better than a Bob Barker, You just won a new car! moment.

“”What grade is he in?”  she asked.

“Sixth,” I answered.  And now she just won the new refrigerator, the patio furniture, and the trip to Europe.  Even I was getting a rush out of this and wondered why I had never considered game show hosting before.

“Do you think he will want to do ballroom?” she asked.

“No,” I answered.  “He will hate it, but he’s not the decision maker on this matter.”

Another lady interrupted us.  Rude.  (Obviously, she had not been reading enough of her Jane Austen lately.)

“So can my daughter sign up?” she asked.

“There is a very long waiting listing for the girls,” the recruited rather curtly.  “We only have five boys that have signed up.”  Then she looked hopefully back at me.  Maybe six.

This intrepid lady was not about to give up though.  “When my daughter took lessons before, they let her dance without a partner.  Couldn’t she dance without a partner?” she begged.  How sad is that?


Girls love to dance. If only they could find a partner!

“No,” said the recruiter firmly.  “They will be entering competition, and they must have a partner.”  Then she smiled again at me.

How could I let this recruiter down? I signed my boy up although there was a still thinking about it escape clause included.

I told the captain all about it when I got home.

“What are you trying to do?” he asked.  “Torture the boy?”

Now if this was year 1798, my husband would not have said this. He would have said something like, “Well done, my lady, and will our chap be learning the quadrille as well?”

But my husband had just finished a game of Word Scramble on his phone and so he was not at all in a Regency England mindset.  I should have whipped out the Jane Austen and started reading to him right there.

But instead, I tread carefully.  “Well,”  I said.  “I was thinking maybe we could strike up a deal with Davy.  Maybe we could agree that if he will do ballroom dance, we will also sign him up for the Lego Robotics class and the snowboarding class.”  (Just so you know, I am not usually so gung-ho on extra-curricular activities.  The fact that our new school is in walking distance from our house has dramatically changed my opinion about the value of these activities.)

“I don’t know,” he said.  “That’s a tough sell.”

So I lost my nerve, and I haven’t even pitched the ballroom classes to my sixth grader yet.

What do you guys think?  Should we try to get him to do it?  Do we need to bribe him?  Or twist his arm?



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