Stubbornly, Robbie stood with his hands cemented in his pockets and his lips firmly sealed. All around him his fourth-grade classmates were warbling with gusto. Our son, however, was having none of it. Christmas carols? Bah humbug! He glared at the audience, chin set and eyes narrowed, as if to say, "I'm. Not. Singing."
That's my boy, Scrooge Jr.
Why exactly Robbie decided to stage a rebellion the night of the school's annual Christmas concert is a mystery. Maybe he just wasn't feeling the spirit at that moment. But it wasn't like his defiance would go unnoticed. For one, he was center stage, front row. And his bright red hair was absolutely afire under the klieg lights.
Diana and I were in the audience along with his two older brothers. Mortified, we silently pleaded with gestures, mouthing the words "Pleeeeeeeeease, just sing!" Robbie snarled at our entreaties.
Meanwhile, all the other kids were swaying to the music. "Deck the halls," they bellowed. "Fa la la la la ..." Even the ninety-year-old lady in the back row was tapping her feet and smiling. Meanwhile, we sat frozen waiting for him to join the chorus.
After a while, I gave up pleading with the kid. That's when the entire spectacle started to seem pretty entertaining. When the choir roared into the third stanza of Rudolph, I could see him fighting the urge to join in. I thought I saw sis shoulders shrug to the beat for a moment, but, no, it was just an itch, he informed me later.
The next morning at breakfast, I told him that his performance was impressive. He looked up at me inquisitively. "I thought for sure you'd cave when the pianist started playing Rudolph," I said. "That's one of your favorites." He smiled and confessed, "Well, I almost did." And then he put his bowl in the sink, humming Frosty.
'Tis the season for holiday cheer, whether you like it or not. You've got choices. If you're just not in the mood, you can fight it like Robbie. Or you can relax and enjoy it. At FCG, we'll support you either way. But just remember that if you don't sing along, when the season's over, you might just wish you had.