Deanaland

Friday, October 20, 2006

Gettin' Jiggy with JBU

A couple of weeks ago, the board of trustees revised the rules at John Brown University and guess what? Dancing on campus is now legal. This article tells the story and includes a list of other Arkansas colleges -- including Harding -- where dancing is banned.

The whole dancing thing has been on my mind lately because this Sunday night, we're having Hay Daze. This is a kind of fall gathering for our youth group that includes a square dance. Chad even hired a professional caller. In fact, Chad is in charge of the whole thing. This is funny to me (funnier than square dancing is by itself) because Chad was one of those Church of Christ kids who had to sit out of square dancing in P.E. I was one of those kids, too. It seems like a lot of people who grew up in the CoC heritage have "I-got-pulled-out-of-square-dancing-in 5th-grade" type stories.

Here's mine: In 6th grade, square dance week was coming up in P.E. My parents didn't really have a problem with square dancing, but the preacher at my church pulled his daughter out and my dad, the youth minister, felt like he should do the same to keep peace at the office. ("Peace" was a relative term in his office situation, but that's another blog.) So I had to sit out. I didn't mind missing the square dancing, but I did mind a girl in my class asking what in the world was wrong with square dancing that my parents wouldn't let me do it. "You're going to flunk P.E.!" she said. That wasn't true -- I guess the P.E. teacher was used to CoC kids skipping out on square dancing every year so she was cool with it. A couple of days later, the girl came up to me and said she was sorry she had bugged me about it. I got the feeling her mother had one of those "You should respect other people's beliefs, even when their beliefs are weird" talks with her. I really appreciated that mom.

So what's your CoC-kid square-dancing story?

25 Comments:

  • At Fri Oct 20, 01:32:00 PM, Blogger Susan said…

    Long time reader, first time poster...

    I grew up CoC, but with a much more liberal congregation in Southern New Mexico, but I was enrolled in dance classes (ballet, tap and jazz) from the time I was 3 until I decided I was done in the 8th grade. I always enjoyed aquare dancing week in PE.

     
  • At Fri Oct 20, 01:41:00 PM, Blogger Diane said…

    Mine was during music class & I was the one who had the "priviledge" of running the record player (that dates me - & I'm only 34!)

    My mom didn't really care either, but there were 2 of us CofC kids in this class and the other kid's mom had a fit about it. The music teacher assumed that since we went to the same church that I wouldn't want to participate either!

    I am not sure why I didn't speak up, must be the "do not usurp authority" thing!

     
  • At Fri Oct 20, 01:52:00 PM, Blogger Karen said…

    I grew up in conservative SE Missouri, but square dancing wasn't really considered a no-no. I suppose the "other" kind of dancing that kids did in high school gyms all over the country was, though. I didn't have to worry about it, as I was the big fat girl who didn't get asked to high school dances anyhow.

    But square dancing in elementary school? Those were the few weeks I was on an even keel with the other kids; I even got to be part of the demonstration square for a PTA assembly.

     
  • At Fri Oct 20, 02:15:00 PM, Blogger courtney said…

    I was a CofC'er who didn't get pulled out of square dancing, but always got paired with the "nose picker" and kind of wished I had been pulled.

    I got to go to dances and such growing up, but my parents (who also grew up CofC) didn't. In fact, my aunt went to Abilene Christian High School (WAY back in the day) and she had a teacher that made them use the word "skating" in place of "dancing" when they were READING FROM THE BIBLE!!!
    Puuuuu-lease!

     
  • At Fri Oct 20, 04:17:00 PM, Blogger HW said…

    I did not grow up in the CofC but my good friend did and told me how she was "excused" from the dance unit in PE. A couple weeks after she told me that, we were at a wedding. When it came time for the dollar dance, she joked that she could only dance with the bride!!!!

     
  • At Fri Oct 20, 05:44:00 PM, Blogger Sarah said…

    I, like Susan, grew up in some crazy liberal CoC and was allowed to take ballet, tap, and jazz. However, I went to a CoC school -- 1st through 12th grade -- and had to endure a lot of conversations (I remember 5th grade imparticular!) where I had to hear about how I was probably going to hell for my affiliation with dancing. Obviously, no square dancing in PE at the CoC school -- but I do remember lots of dodgeball! :-)

     
  • At Fri Oct 20, 05:53:00 PM, Blogger ML said…

    I remember square dancing at school, even back in the 60's. I don't remember that ever being a problem because we danced with girls. But I didn't go to school dances in Jr. or Sr. high. Not that my parents ever told me absolutely not to go, I just didn't think I was supposed to. All of those Sunday school classes with anti-dancing lessons really made an impression on me. Square dancing was a lot of fun...even if it was with a girl.

     
  • At Fri Oct 20, 06:57:00 PM, Blogger WinSpin said…



    My story is similar to Deana's except that I was a youth minister and my daughter was in the 6th grade. Square dancing was too square to upset my wife or me but the pulpit minister was something else. He pulled his kids out of square dance week. He inquired as to what I planned to do with my kid? I knew he really didn't care if my offspring squared off with others during PE or not but he was yearning to run to the elders and tell on me. He would have given anything to get me ousted. At times I still think of that situation of love. And I pray ...

     
  • At Fri Oct 20, 08:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I attended a dance in another town while I was a student at Harding. That was on a Saturday night and the following Monday morning I was called into the Dean's office and reprimanded! To this day I have no idea how she found out. I had checked out of the dorm for the weekend and was staying with my parents who knew I was going to the dance and didn't care.

    Now I am a teacher at a CofC affilliated high school and we have both a Homecoming dance and a Prom. No one bats an eye!

     
  • At Fri Oct 20, 08:31:00 PM, Blogger Chad said…

    I couldn't square dance in elementary either and it scarred me so deeply that out of my rebellion I'm now planning square dances for youth groups.

    In high school I was allowed to go to school dances when I turned 16 but was told not to dance.

     
  • At Fri Oct 20, 09:41:00 PM, Blogger Lauren said…

    I guess I'm sort of a CoC freak or something. My parents never said anything about me not being able to dance. I took ballet and tap when I was in elementary school and was in the drill team all four years of high school. I was also allowed to participate in the "dance unit" in gym classes. I was never told I could not go to school dances, but I only went to two or three and didn't really dance anyway. I guess it was just kind of understood that "nasty" dancing was unacceptable, but dancing for fun and exercise was okay.

     
  • At Sat Oct 21, 07:37:00 AM, Blogger Nellie said…

    I, too, was raised in CoC, but evidently had rather liberal parents for my generation. (I'm now closer to 60 than I am to 50 -yikes!) I was never pulled from square dancing classes, and we even danced with the boys! I also attended all of the school dances, etc. Too much rhythm in these bones to sit and just watch others. I remember one precious senior lady at one of the congregations I attened, Miss Millie, who always said that dancing was just "keeping time to the music." I loved Miss Millie!!

     
  • At Sat Oct 21, 01:24:00 PM, Anonymous Miami Chick said…

    I attended a church of Christ growing up, but I went without parents. I was a "drop off" kid, or I walked to church. My parents had absolutely no problem with the "square dancing" in PE or any other kind of dancing. However, I had a problem with the drunken cowboys who wanted to dance with me.

    In keeping with God's sense of humor, I grew up (and I use that term loosely) to be a "preacher's wife" in the church of Christ. Recently my husband and I (both middle aged) were talking about needing more exercise, he asked me what exercise would I really enjoy, I eagerly said, "Dancing."

    Well, my husband grew up in Alaska back in the 50s and early 60s -- no dancing! To quote a popular song back in the 70s, "Momma don't dance and Daddy don't rock and roll! (sing refrain with me in a hushed wisper - church of Christ- church of Christ).

     
  • At Sat Oct 21, 02:20:00 PM, Blogger Denise W. said…

    I could have danced all night
    but I was Church of Christ.....

    Just like Audrey Hepburn

     
  • At Sun Oct 22, 04:59:00 AM, Blogger Paige Robins said…

    Fortunately, I am the child of a mother who doesn't mind breaking some conventions. While she herself STILL cannot dance because she never learned as a child, she had no problem verbally beating up anyone who told me I shouldn't dance. or something like that... Go Mom!!!

     
  • At Sun Oct 22, 01:06:00 PM, Blogger jettybetty said…

    My parents didn't really care all that much--but the only other CofCer's in my 4th grade class were boys--and I thought they were cute--so I asked my parents to take me out of square dancing--so I could get sent to the other room with boys--the ratio girl/boy was soo in my favor. My heart was sure in the right place, huh?

     
  • At Sun Oct 22, 02:37:00 PM, Blogger Heather said…

    How square was my school? Tehehe . . .obviously not as square as the rest. We never square danced. We did the electric slide! Which Mom and Dad had no problem letting me do . . .didn't have a problem with the drill team with the short cheerleader skirts or the theater dance class I took. I, however, was totally embarassed with one of the elders wanted to come and see me in A Chorus Line my senior year of high school!

     
  • At Mon Oct 23, 06:47:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As a member of the CoC for over 40 years, I will post two CoC dance stories. I also know a few off colored jokes about CoC and dancing that I will omit.

    First, I was allowed to go to the prom. But, I was not allowed to go to the dance portion. Sooooo, we went parking instead. There was me and my date in the back seat and the preachers daughter and an elders son in the front.

    This summer, I met a young lady who is now a freshman at Harding. I asked what she was taking and she listed all of her courses. One was called Interpretive Theatre. When she saw the puzzled look on my fact she stated "It is really a dance class, but you can't list a dance class in the catalog at Harding".

     
  • At Mon Oct 23, 07:56:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I grew up Church of Christ, but we were not in the bible belt so we pretty much did anything we wanted. I square danced, and went to school dances. We had swimming parties announced from the pulpit, and my dad's bluegrass band played in the auditorium. (not during services). We had one guy that moved from Texas, and told the whole youth group that we couldn’t wear shorts. I promptly responded that my dad was an elder and I would wear what ever I wanted. I went to ACU and had never heard of not being allowed to have instruments at a wedding in a Church of Christ building until I was planning my wedding in 1984. I am very thankful to not have the CofC baggage that so many of my friends have.

    SusanF

     
  • At Mon Oct 23, 10:38:00 AM, Blogger Val said…

    I had to sit out and though I can look back and say that square dancing was and remains incredibly ridiculous, I felt awkward at the time. I sat in the bleachers by myself while everyone else "danced" and looked at me like I was a freak. At least I wasn't one of the guys that had to wear those poofy skirts when there were not enough girls. (Otay, I may have made up that last part as a coping mechanism even though it's been almost 30 years. Nevertheless, I still rarely wear poofy skirts.)

     
  • At Mon Oct 23, 09:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I went to a public high school and we didn't have dancing of any kind because most of the students were Baptist. This was in the 50's.

     
  • At Tue Oct 24, 01:35:00 PM, Blogger WinSpin said…


    I grew up being a class clown. When I became a youth minister, my personality seemed to fit in fine with the teens ...

    One time I was interviewing for a youth ministry position at Hobbs, New Mexico.

    All the elders were sitting around the conference table. I was sitting at one end of the table. One of them asked, "Brother Hamby, do you dance?"

    I replied, "Not when I'm sober."

    They didn't crack a smile. I had a sinking feeling.

    But they offered me the job. Funny thing about it is I told the truth. I had never danced when I was sober. But some stoies were meant to be left untold ...

     
  • At Thu Oct 26, 07:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I grew up a child of the '70's - in Abilene! We didn't have proms, but we did have the "abilene dance club" of course, I wasn't able to belong to that! We did have dances at our band banquets - I couldn't go (at least if mom & dad knew about it). Instead of the dances, the CofC kids & Baptist kids belonged to a group that had a banquet in the spring & went to Six Flags in the fall - for the life of me, I can't think of the name of the group now, but anyway, that's where I met my husband (on the bus on the way to Six Flags when he offered me a stick of gum). Guess that's enough about that - anyway - I now do know how to dance and love to - figured out it's not the dancing that's the problem - it's the things that go on in conjunction with the dancing! I like your blog!

     
  • At Fri Oct 27, 08:46:00 PM, Blogger SJ said…

    Interesting. I grew up C of C, and knew that many considered dancing worng, but I never thought of square dancing that way. Of course, my family loves to dance so dancing was never an issue. I went to Homecoming dances and prom.
    My parents seem so conservative now, it is funny to think they were sort of liberal "back then."

     
  • At Wed Nov 01, 07:27:00 AM, Anonymous jilly said…

    Last night was Halloween, and as we left Trick or Trunk at our church (Grace Methodist), we passed by the CoC church down the street. "I wonder what's going on?", said I. My hubby said in that wonderful dry-wit way of his, "Maybe someone danced."

     

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