Fired Up

Never in my life have I been so upset that I actually wrote a letter of complaint, but tonight I did. Maybe I am just getting old. I went to a Show Choir performance tonight that was put on my our local high school. There were several people from my youth group either in the show choir or the choral group that was singing as well so I paid $3 to go and hear them sing.

I should know going in that these things are going to be rough. The city auditorium has a sound system that is one step above a cell phone call and these shows are never well produced (as someone who does a weekly “show” I can be very critical though so I try to keep an open mind) But tonight was much worse.

They had several students singing between the big choir songs. One of these was a guy who was trying to be funny, as he sang along with a track and “danced.” The song that he chose was all about sex, and his dance was more provocative than would be allowed on MTV. As I watched I was thinking that if I was sitting around with him and a few other guys I would probably laugh a bit and then tell him to cut it out. But he wasn’t sitting around with a bunch of guys. He was on stage at an event put on by the school that I paid money to see. My wife was sitting with me, and there were children all around me. It was inappropriate to say the least.

The thing is that this wasn’t even a time when maybe he and I have different ideas of what is appropriate. He went beyond appropriate in an attempt to be funny. But I’m not upset with the guy. He is a teenager, and teenagers are stupid. They don’t understand when certain things are appropriate and when they aren’t. But the teacher who put on the event should know better. It is her responsibility to make sure that what she puts on stage is suitable for all audiences. 

So I wrote a letter to the principle of the school. I hate that I have become that guy, but I don’t want to think that I need to check the rating before I go to a school function. I thought as educators we were supposed to be helping students find ways to express themselves that are above their base desires. I thought we were supposed to be helping them to learn when certain actions are appropriate. When we become so worried about being their friends that we forget that we are supposed to be setting boundaries we are hurting them more than we are helping them.

I have to stop now, or I will go off on another rant.  

12 thoughts on “Fired Up

  • May 8, 2006 at 8:54 PM

    give me a break! as teachers we are asked to teach children to learn to speak and think for themselves. In essence to have an open mind. But here we are hearing from a closed minded adult in society calling the very children we are teaching "stupid" for expressing himself and his peers openly in a manner that is expressive of today and of the eighties generation. The program was geared toward music from another time that had musical stars that were being mimicked in the show. Musical stars that dressed, danced, sang and behaved in the manner shown on stage. The actions and dance have been and are on a daily basis seen on MTV, Fuse, VH1 as well as on regular shows.. In fact i have seen much worse on tv recently. I say that the children should be commended for being brave enough to discover music and dance fom other time periods and then to pass that joy of learning and music on to the rest of the community.

  • May 8, 2006 at 10:01 PM

    Are you kidding me? First of all it takes no bravery to be on stage and be controversial – I am sure he was seen as very cool by his friends who do see that kind of thing on TV everyday. However, this was not an MTV or VH1 program, it was a community and family event. Parents of small children usually do not let their kids watch those programs and would probably like it if their kids did not have to be subjected to it at school events. Television has a rating system for a reason, it sounds like this program needed one as well. And this sounds to me like a teacher trying to be friends with their students instead of actually teaching them what is appropriate. A teenager needs boundaries not a free pass to act however they want in the attempt to have an open mind.

  • May 8, 2006 at 10:16 PM

    You guys know me. You know that I am far from being closed minded. You know that my main goal in ministry is to teach students to think for themselves. I like pushing boundaries. I like doing things that some people thing are inappropriate, but that really aren’t all that much of a big deal.

    But on Friday I went to a school (read that again a school) function and had to sit and watch a teenager air hump the stage while singing about shaking his goodies to make someone jump on it. I have no problem with someone doing exactly what he did somewhere else. I can choose not to go. I have no problem with someone doing exactly what he did on television I can change the channel. I have a major problem doing with someone doing what he did at a school function that no one expects to be vulgar.

    I will repeat my earlier statement that apparently got missed. This wasn’t funny if it wasn’t inappropriate. This student was trying to be funny. If it were just a case of he and I having a different opinion of what is appropriate we could talk about that. But he pushed the boundaries of what was appropriate on purpose to get a response. Again, that is cool in a setting outside of a school function. Or if you want to have a place where students can explore that sort of stuff in a school function then please let us know before we buy tickets. That way if I don’t think it is something I want to watch I can choose to leave.

    The problem for me wasn’t the content. I have seen teenagers act like fools before. The problem was that I was ambushed with the content. There is no way that you can argue that I was supposed to come into a school function expecting something of that nature.

    I am blown away by a “teacher” arguing that “the students do it anyway so it is OK.” Our job is to teach. Our job is to help them to know that certain things are OK at times and not OK at other times. It isn’t that hard to understand that a mixed group of people that will include families of students isn’t the best place for all songs. I mean the kids in the 80’s listened to Too Short too, but does that mean we are going to start adding their songs into our music through the decades? I mean are there any boundaries or are we going to start having R ratings on student performances?

  • May 8, 2006 at 10:18 PM

    Well, shoot as I was off writing a long rant in response someone beat me to it with a better, more concise one. Shoot.

  • May 9, 2006 at 2:05 AM

    Too $hort? Did you just make a Too $hort reference?

    You never even heard of Too $hort, baby!


  • May 9, 2006 at 4:23 AM

    In Oak-Land in 1980….

    Teaching "children to learn to think and speak for themselves." If they just so happen to think for themselves it’s alright to throw on a black trenchcoat and shoot up a school, then that’s perfectly okay. Yeah, we’re doing a bang-up job of the whole teaching things as of late. Yes, pun intended.

    And that’s good justification for bad behavior – reference, of all channels, MTV, Fuse, and VH1. Well, I happened to be flipping past the Spice Channel last night and saw…. What ever happened to 2 wrongs don’t make a right?

    All those in favor of mandatory school uniforms?

  • May 9, 2006 at 4:44 AM

    What about a national uniform. Sort of like on star trek when they visit the other cultures and everyone is wearing the same thing.
    Sign me up for the US silver jump suit-especially if I don’t have to iron it.

    (by the way, tone doesn’t translate well in a comment so please know that this meant as a lighthearted comment and not something mean.)

  • May 9, 2006 at 11:56 AM

    Are you talking ‘garage mechanic silver jumpsuit’ or ‘downhill luge silver jumpsuit’? I don’t think I want to see you, or myself, in the latter. That wouldn’t be pretty.

    I’ve often thought that going back to the toga-style of dress would make things much better. One size fits all, just tie the belt to fit your waistline. Perfection!

  • May 9, 2006 at 10:30 PM

    As a Show choir student that performed on Thursday and Friday night I would just like to say that if we offended anybody by our performances that I am very sorry. That was not our intentions at all. We worked very hard on that show putting a lot of sweat and tears into it. I feel that our audiences don’t realise how much work and dedication it takes to put on a show as big as that one. I do have to say that the performances that were considered provacative were not know by our teacher and if they were they would not have been performed. We have never had this much negativity about one of our shows before. I hurts me to see all of my hard work thrown back into my face. I am by no means stupid I know the difference between right and wrong I don’t have to have an adult to teach me how to act in front of an audience. I may make stupid decisions but that doesn’t make me stupid. If they do then everybody is stupid. One persons desision to do something inappropriate should not determine the whole performances outcome. Instead of telling us how bad and awful we are start telling us the things you did like. I agree that some of the things that happened those nights were inapropriate but I don’t think that they deserve as big as an uproar as has been put out. As teenagers we already feel insecure about our surroundings we don’t need our Adults to make us sound any worse. I think that you have already gotten you point across.

  • May 10, 2006 at 2:58 AM

    I didn’t say anything about the show choir show. I never said that it was a problem. I never said that any of it was bad.
    I liked the show choir show. The step routine had real soul, and wasn’t vulgar. There were things that I enjoyed, but the point of the post wasn’t a review of the show choir event. I was talking to people who also work with students about something that influenced me.
    I think if you honestly look at the "backlash" from the performance on Friday that it had little to do with you guys and the hard work that you put into it and had more to do with one student trying to be funny and bringing the whole show down.

    As for teenagers being stupid you guys really shouldn’t read just one post and think that you have an idea of what is going on here. I give my life for teenagers. I pour my heart and soul into reaching them, but sometime they are stupid. You can’t really argue that teenagers don’t make some incredible dumb choices. They drive too fast, drink too much, and have a hard time knowing when certain things are socially acceptable. That is just the reality of being a teenager. If it makes you feel any better I also claim that guys are stupid for many of the same reasons and I am a guy.

    I know that if you are a teenager you feel like you know everything that you need to know. As teenagers you are very close to being adults and should have a good idea of what is right and appropriate and what isn’t. But I hate to tell you that you still aren’t grown yet. (I actually don’t think that I am grown yet, but that is a different story) That is why you are still living at home, why you should still have caring adults in your life because they can help you make positive choices.

    The problem Friday night was that no adult took responsibility for the incident. Like I said, it wasn’t his fault. He was being a teenager. But there should have been an adult in charge who stepped in and put a stop to it sooner.

    Let me close by saying this. All of you who put time and effort into practicing your show choir routine should be reaping the praises of your audience. Instead one student trying to be funny and show off took that away from you. Instead of complaining about the people who paid money to support you why not complain about the guy who took your show from you.

  • May 10, 2006 at 9:38 PM

    Not only am I the parent of a show choir member, I am the mother of a child in Shane’s ministry. Trust me, there is no person in Eufaula that is more concerned about the welfare of the eternity of our kids. He spends an extraordinary amount of time with our youth. Yes, he calls them stupid. I CALL THEM STUPID! Shane helps remind them that though they think they have all the answers and the world wrapped up in a need little knot in their pocket; it’s not so. They don’t make good decisions, the choices they make need more discussion with an adult. He in just a few words can keep them in check.They know Shane cares for their well-being and that he is there for them at any time.
    Shane talks to them on their level and makes them understand things in an awesome and unique way. There is no way to explain it.. you have to experience it. I invite you to join us at Calvary


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