I Believe

Jillian - Hudson, Massachusetts
Entered on June 16, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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This I Believe

What does hard work matter, when you can just suck up to people? As a child, I was always taught to be fair no matter what. However, over the course of my life, I discovered that life is not fair because people let their emotions and bias interfere with proper judgment.

Every September, when I begin another year of dance class, I hear a variation of this speech from my teachers: “Now girls, for the recital dance, I am going to put the stronger dancers in the front. This is no reflection of you as a dancer, it is just about you in this specific dance. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and I will try to get you all in the front at some point. I do not want any of you to get offended by your placement, I am just preparing you for what is going to happen. I hope you understand where I am coming from.” All the teachers tell us that our placement has nothing to do with “us as people,” and it is just “for the good of the dance.” However, through my time at Dance On dance studio, I have discovered that these speeches do not reflect the truth. My teachers do not in fact put the more advanced dancers in the front: they put their favorite students in the prime spots. In my tap class, it is clear that my teacher has favorites. Although most of her favorite students are very good at tap, one girl that she really likes is not one of the strongest tap dancers. However, the teacher has continually put this girl in the front and in good spots in the formations, spots that would be much better occupied by a dancer who is able to do more difficult and complex steps. I have also noticed this with many other teachers; they continually put less advanced but more likable people in the front and in better places throughout the dances.

I also see my dance teachers let guilt cloud their judgment during the formation process. Teachers often put siblings together in lines and put people who have been dancing for a long time in front because they feel guilty. For example, there are twin girls who are in all of my dance classes. One of these girls is noticeably stronger than the other. However, every teacher puts these girls next to each other in the formations, and they are usually in the front due to the skill of only one of the girls. The teachers feel guilty separating these girls who are very close to each other and who both love dance, so they let their guilt get in the way of the fair thing to do. Another example of this is with girls who have been dancing for many years. There is one girl in my dance classes who has been dancing for about fourteen years. This girl is not a strong dancer, and has not improved very much over the course of her dance experience. However, this girl is always put in the front of the jazz dance because the teacher feels guilty about putting such a faithful dancer in the back. Although this is not the right thing to do or the fair thing to do, I have seen other teachers do it as well.

While this is not a very positive life lesson to learn, it is an important one. After first noticing this at Dance On, I began to see it happening everywhere, in everyday life. If we lived in a perfect world, everything would be fair all the time, but unfortunately people are flawed and make many mistakes. One of these mistakes is letting our emotions get in the way of our judgment. By discovering this about people, I make sure that I am aware of my behavior and adjust it to make sure I do not act this way and treat people unfairly. When I lead a crew at Vacation Bible School at my church, I apply this knowledge. It is human nature to favor those we like, so I make sure that during activities I pick kids based on what is fair, not on who I like better. So, I try to choose kids for activities evenly, instead of always choosing my favorite child. Through my experience at Dance On, I learned that people let their emotions get in the way of proper judgment.