Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘dancing’

Doing what you love vs the fear of man

only as high as I reach can I growGoldilocks was quiet as we drove home from her dancing lesson. Subdued. Something was brewing inside her, and I decided to wait, and let it spill over when she was ready. Finally,it came. “Mom,” she said quietly, not looking up. “Do you think I’ll ever be good at dancing?” Now, Goldilocks is incredibly flexible and astoundingly musical. When music starts – any music – she simply cannot keep still. She has to move. And she does so with grace and joy.

“Yes, Darling. I think you were born to dance,” I said.

More silent brooding.

“I don’t think I want to go back to dancing,” she admitted at last.

We don’t have spare cash for extra murals. The money for this term’s dancing lessons had been carefully hoarded together since the beginning of the year, after months of pleading for dance lessons by both girls. We’d sacrificed to make this happen – we were glad to do so – and now, neither of them wanted to go back. Ever. She was miserable.

“Are you not enjoying dancing, my Love?” I asked gently.

“It’s not that!” she quickly answered. “I love it! I love the music, and the steps. I love the dances our teacher creates and I really love to dance.”

Interesting.

“What’s making you not want to go then? You’ve been pleading with me to let you go to dancing. Have you lost interest?”

Because I sit in the lessons, I knew there hadn’t been a specific incidence of meanness making her so miserable. But I also know that little girls can be incredibly cruel – subtly so – and devastate one another without thinking.

“It’s not that,” Goldilocks said slowly. Then it came out all at once. “It’s just that I haven’t been to lessons for two terms. I don’t know any of the steps. And I’m the oldest one there! Everyone else must surely think I’m an idiot, making mistakes all the time and being stuck with the younger classes.”

Ah-hah.

“If there was no one in the class, would you go?”

“Oh yes!”

“Do you enjoy dancing?”

“I love it!”

“Do you know those other girls? Do you know what they’re thinking, what they’re like? Does it affect you at all any time besides that half hour a week in the school hall?”

“Well … no. I suppose not.”

I explained to her that the other girls are probably very nice young ladies with no idea how old Goldilocks is, and no interest in her achievement since they’re all focusing on getting it right themselves.

But aren’t we like that sometimes? We give up our dreams because of potentially unfounded fears of what others will think of us.

Who cares? So what if someone laughs at you. You’re doing something you love, aren’t you? Does it really matter, after all, if someone you don’t know and almost never see thinks less of you for something outside of your control, like how old you are or how often your mom takes you to dance class? Surely not! The truth is that those people probably have no interest in your concerns. If they think about you at all, in all likelihood it’s probably to admire your courage. But the truth is that people are so wrapped up in themselves, they’re probably not thinking about you at all. Are you deriding them in your mind? Do you think less of them because of their age or race or experience or circumstances? I didn’t think so.

I explained to my dear Goldilocks that she needed to decide what mattered more to her: the imagined derision of her dancing partners, or the dancing itself. I assured her I would respect and support her requirements, whatever they turned out to be. But I encouraged her not to give up her dream simply because she thought someone might laugh at her.

Someone might. Someone almost always does. Dreamers unintentionally set themselves up as targets of ridicule. But that doesn’t stop them from changing the world. Don’t let it stop you, either. The mockers are too small to matter, and you are too awesome to let them.

A Pursuit of Passion

Unschooling has had some unexpected side effects. A lot of the literature we’re reading at the moment, online and off, encourages parents to pursue their own passions and interests almost as actively as they encourage their unschooled children to do. Essentially, we should be modeling our philosophy even as we develop it. If we demonstrate the process and results of finding what we love to do, learning to do it, and doing it to the best of our ability, the natural joy and growth that results are a boon to the entire family.

I love to dance. I’d assumed that I would train formally after leaving school (isn’t that how you get good at things, after all?). I did, in fact, enroll at theatre college after school, pursuing my lifelong ambition to act professionally. Unfortunately, I hated every moment of it. Disillusioned and bleak, I flip-flopped from one job to the next for a few years with no direct goal in mind, until I discovered an aptitude for and love of graphic design. Now, I certainly am not as incredibly talented as some, but I do love it, and I do get paid to do it every day of my life. So that’s a good thing.

Since my drama school experience, I’ve expended a fair amount of energy trying to work out how I should be, both at home and with others. What should I say? What can I do? What should I not do? What’s appropriate in terms of my strict faith? I’ve believed in the value of exercise but, for the most part, begrudged the practise of it at best, loathed it at worst. (Wow, that’s a long sentence!)

As I internalise, more and more, the notion that things that are learnt by doing are learnt in at least as valid a manner (if not more so) as things learned by instruction, I’ve begun to recognise many more opportunities to personal growth, without attending classes, buying special equipment or uniforms, or anything else at all besides passion.

When we got home from the market today, a friend asked if we could listen to one of our BeeGee CDs. We haven’t listened to it in ages as I wrestled with the “is-this-music-acceptable-in-my-house?” internal debate. The music was great. It filled the air with energy and exuberance, and I couldn’t help bopping along to it. Later, when Papa Bear and our guest nipped out to the shops, I put on some of my favourite dance music, cranked up the volume, and danced and sang my heart out! Goldilocks and Red Rising Hood had friends over, and I’m fairly sure all four of them thought I’d lost my mind. But I didn’t care. I didn’t care if the neighbours saw or heard, either. I was having FUN. I must have danced intensively for over half an hour, and I feel better than ever – so connected to myself and my passion, and ready for whatever the rest of the day has in store.

To my delight, the whole family seems to be feeling it, too. Everyone is happier and more relaxed than ever, laughing and questioning things and following their interests with wreckless abandon.

It makes me think of the charming and intriguing Zapp family and their epic journey.  Doesn’t it sound like fun? What about you? What sparks your passion

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