My daughter loves to dance.  If one were to pick a single activity that this almost-two-year-old loves more than any other, I think dancing would top that list.  When she hears any type of music, she can’t help but move to it.  Whether it’s the Hawaiian music at her friend Ty’s baby luau, or the various Putamayo Kids albums we play (not just for kids, btw) or even gettin’ down to Jasan Mraz’s Beautiful Mess (I know, not exactly music for two year olds – she loves it though), she can’t keep her body still when she hears anything even remotely resembling music.

When Ellie dances, she works through a whole repertoire of moves from hip-shakes to little toddler jumps to endless spins.  She looks so happy and proud as she moves around but I notice she looks to us to make sure we notice that she is doing well.  Ellie is not perfect, she has a strong will and doesn’t mind rebelling, but she is definitely innocent.  She dances with all her heart and might because she loves to and because her mommy and daddy see it and encourage her and she is proud of that.  No one has ruined her innocence by telling her she’s bad or she’ll never be a dancer or whatever other ‘realities’ we tell kids, and so she dances with all of who she is.

We adults have a great responsibility to our children.  They are looking at us, watching to see if we notice they are doing something and are trying hard and are having fun.  They are waiting expectantly to hear that they dance or draw or sing beautifully, or that they run fast or build so well, or think so creatively.  Too often we fail them, we give them the truth, when they need encouragement; we give them realities when they need care; we knock them down when we have the greatest chance to build them up.  We have such an important role and we must work hard to build up children when they need it most, and trust that they will realize the realities later (or maybe we’ll realize that those realities really aren’t that important).  I dread the day when someone breaks my little daughter’s heart by telling her she can’t dance, but til then (and probably long after) I will keep watching her dance with a father’s pride, and I will keep telling her how beautifully she dances and I will keep playing the music for her.

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