Thursday, October 30, 2014

Proposal - Relational Education Through Dance

One of the biggest issues I see in how young men relate to young women is the lack of empathy and compassion for their experience (and vice versa). There is, to me, a critical age for learning these skills, generally between the ages of 11-14, puberty.


What if, say beginning in sixth grade, we divided up the boys and the girls and talked about how we relate to the opposite sex? Not just the usual "how babies are made" talk, but real, honest, ongoing talk about feeling nervous asking a girl to dance, about flirting, about appropriate language, about inappropriate language and behaviors, and so on.

What if then, after a semester of these ongoing conversations, we then taught kids to dance, formal dance, like the kind we learn for weddings? I suggest this because there is a formality and respect that this type of dance (waltz, rumba, foxtrot, salsa, etc.) entails that can help boys and girls to enact some of what they learn in the conversations that precede it and continue alongside it.

Imagine how much easier our lives might have been had we learned to dance as young people. But more importantly, imagine how much dating and relationships might have been had we learned some basic rules for conduct with the opposite sex (all of which is applicable to same-sex relationships, as well).

I'm sure that as an 11-year-old I would have been mortified at having to dance. I also know that kids get over this awkwardness pretty quickly once they begin to develop a sense of mastery.

I don't know. Maybe this would not work to change the patterns of how young adults interact, but it's worth a try.

1 comment:

Frank said...

Since you've announced an "end" to this blog, I'll use my last opportunity to comment on this. Taking dance lessons with my wife has been the best thing we've done for our relationship all year. During our first lesson, the teacher told us: "I know women want to be liberated and all that, but this is just fun."

Pair dancing forces the lead (normally the guy) to learn making decisions, communicating them clearly and being assertive without becoming domineering.