Saturday, January 11, 2014

Doing Hard Things

This is my 14 year old daughter.  See that bracelet on her arm?  The thick black one she insisted on wearing in family pictures?  It says, "HAVE FAITH".  In big, bold letters Katie declares to the world every day that she has faith.  What you can't see in that photo is the necklace with the shield and cross on it that says, "I can do all things through HIM who strengthens me".   She's an alter server at our Catholic Church and volunteers to serve for funerals, even though they make her cry.  She's a kid who lives her faith in ways I'm not able.  A little light that shines from her, inspiring me to be a better person.

She's a pistol, though, to borrow a phrase from my grandmother. Katie will always be the kid who keeps us on our toes and makes us question the world around us.  We will fight back when the world feels it's necessary to push its own morals and values on her.  We know we won't always win.  When she's gotten through these teenage years, whatever she chooses to do will be incredible.  I have faith in her.

Right now she's angry with us.  And that's okay.  My job isn't to be her friend.  We've put our foot down with the school (again) because of questionable song choices (again).  This time it's in choir.  She's part of the select show choir, which is a big deal and we're very proud of her.  The song choices for the spring concert include "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (oldie but a goodie), "Home" by Philip Phillips (beautiful harmonies), and "Edge of Glory" by Lady Gaga.  That's where we said no.

This child is not trading her morals to be part of choir.  She's not compromising her values to make her music teacher happy.  She wants to... oh, does she want to.  And she's furious that we're setting limits.  There will be no public performances of songs that include lyrics about being taken home or doing shots or needing "a man who thinks it's right when it's so wrong".

And this is hard.  VERY hard.  I don't want to make her "the girl who can't sing that one song in choir" or "the one with the crazy parents".  I don't want to be the crazy parents.  But I'll wear the crazy crown if it means standing up for her innocence.

Now, the next question is why did Pennsylvania tax dollars pay for a song about doing shots in the first place... but I'll leave that up to the school board to figure out if that's what it comes to.

Edited to add a bit of snarkiness...

The school handbook clearly states that students can not wear articles of clothing with references to drugs, alcohol, sex, etc.  So to prove my point, I put the lyrics on shirts.  They'd get kicked out of school for wearing the words, but not for singing them?  Hm.


  1. Lyrics in songs frustrate me! My daughters are ages 7 and 9, and I cringe when I hear them singing songs (that they hear in gym at school) by Kati Kerry and the like. I know our parents did the same with the music we listened to. Overall, I think the school district in NY (where I live) has too much control. Children aren't even allowed to carry non-medicated chapstick at school (and they need it)!! One time my daughter split her lip and I sent her with chapstick. The chapstick was taken from her. I told the school nurse that the next time my daughter split her lip, I would keep her home until it healed. I am visiting via bloggy moms, and I would love a return visit if you find the time! Mom's Got Mail

  2. Chapstick? Geesch! The kids in band would be lost without their Chapstick! Our newest contraband is the dreaded cough drop. They're a choking hazard. I choke on water sometimes (I also fall up stairs...), so maybe they should do away with the water fountains, too.

    The principal returned my email on Monday morning. He said they're going to choose a new song for show choir. I know I'm "that mom", but I can live with that. Transferring my daughters back to public school from Catholic school meant giving up the common values we shared with other parents. There are some moments, though, when I have to put my foot down. Having my daughter tour elementary schools while singing those lyrics was one of those moments.