Friday, January 25, 2013

Standing Up For Yourself

My youngest son is a gentle person.  He is a people pleaser who dislikes friction and disagreements.  He was also shy as a young boy.  Over the past several years, I've watched him gain more and more confidence in himself.  He came home from school today and astonished me with his ability to handle uncomfortable situations.

My son has been involved in the high school choir since last year.  He enjoys singing and has a good singing voice, but has been very disappointed in the men's choir at the high school.  The choir director has an extreme preference for working with the women's choir.  The director tends to spend most of the men's classes talking about what he's doing with the women's group, talking on the phone, or answering emails.  During the last 15-20 minutes of each hour-long period, the group finally gets down to instruction or singing. 

In the fall, my son decided to not return to choir.  After the classes began, the director called my son and persuaded him to return to choir.  It was not a successful first semester.  Several other students from this choir also dropped this class due to boredom.  This semester, my son is taking a second writing class instead of choir.  The director asked my son to come and speak with him about leaving choir.

Today was the day that my son decided to have the discussion.  The conversation began with the director praising my son's musical abilities and promising advancement to the most advanced choir if he would return.  The director asked my son why he was taking a different class.  My son said that he was bored in the class and that the class time was spent sitting around for most of the period, then singing for 15 minutes.  The director looked taken-aback, but then stated that what my son had said was a true statement.  He then talked about how the class was more focused this semester.

The conversation ended with my son stating that he would be happy to sing in the choir once or twice a week, if he could continue taking his other writing class.  The director is going to speak with the other instructor and my son is supposed to talk to his counselor.

I was proud that my son handled the situation in an honest, open manner that was not rude.  I would not have had the courage to do something like this at my son's age.  My opinion of the director has risen also.  It's difficult to admit a problem when it is pointed out by someone younger.  I hope that the conversation has helped the choir program at the high school, even if my son doesn't return to choir. 

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