Thursday, October 19, 2006

Something Other Than Stitching....

My daughter has requested that I blog about other things besides stitching. When I started this blog I intended it to be my "stitching diary", but today I will take a detour from that original intention.

Today I contemplate why I volunteer. Why I spend almost every Friday evening of my life teaching children and teens to folk dance. Why do I do it? Of course, I enjoy working with the kids and the teens, but that's not the only reason. I do it because someone has to pass down the traditions of our ancestors. I do it because I love to watch the little ones dance and giggle. I do it because my heart swells with pride when the youth group does a series of energetic dances with complicated footwork. I do it because I have knowledge that I want to share.

What I have learned during my lifetime does no one any good if I don't pass that knowledge along to those younger than I. Many times I would rather go out to dinner with friends, or go out to the movies, or just go home after a stressful day at work and put my feet up, but I don't. I honor the commitment that I made to my heritage. Add performances on many Saturdays and Sundays, and I spend an awful lot of time volunteering.

But there is a problem. The problem is not the children or the teens that I work with, although sometimes they do try the patience of a saint. The problem is the parents. The parents who come to rehearsal to socialize and not watch their children, and when I have to repeatedly reprimand someone for misbehaving, I am accused of "picking on the child". The parents who are too busy drinking beer to listen when I make announcements, and then claim that I never informed them of changes, and I should have told them personally. The parents who are relatively new, and proceed to tell me how to do my job, a job that I have been doing for 24 years without pay.

I feel bad for the kids, but my days of volunteering are quickly drawing to a close.

5 comments:

Kristin said...

Mother dearest... you cannot stop teaching folk dancing until i'm back to help you out and then eventually take over (hopefully)... I know it gets frudterating at times, but look at all it's done for your children!!! and the great smile it puts not only on your face, but also on oma and ottas when we perfrom!!! It's such a big part of their pride in their grandchildren, and I KNOW you'll enjoy it just as much when you're grandchildren are the ones dancing, so you have to keep it alive!!! I say this because I fear that without you there, it might just fall apart, and then where will my children go??? I cannot break my loyalty to the donau, so it needs to still be there!!!

MrsJ said...

I assume it was Kristin who bugged you about posting about something other than stitching?

I'm helping out with club now, too, and maybe when Kristin lives in Chicago again she can? Or you can just teach the dancing and let others be in charge? It's moving that way anyway, isn't it?

Laura said...

I also find it odd that parents choose to have children participate in an activity, but don't/won't be an active participant in the activity AND just complain. But unfortunately, that seems to be the way of the world...

Now, I just have to figure out how to get adult beverages served at swim team practice and I'm good to go. Those parents don't realize how good they have it! :)

Monika said...

As a former folk dancing participant - my parents were members of the Toledo Turners and we had the best instructor (oh my stars - I even remember his name - Eugene Congor) - but you know, I don't remember the parents drinking while we were practicing.

Eva said...

And that, my dear Monika, is what I believe to be the root of the problem.