A Dance between Parent and Child
By Julia Mitchell-Hoffman (2013)
Dance is freedom and control wrapped into a beautiful
performance. Like parenting, dance is a
challenge and takes enormous energy. It
is not only the physical vigor but there are mental and emotional drives. Variables
also stem from the social and spiritual aspects of the environment in which the
entire family is exposed as individuals and as a unit. As a dancer flows in (responds) and out (expresses)
while the partner moves toward (inspiring) and back (motivating)
so does a parent when interacting with their child’s temperament.
We live and breathe our children just as a dedicated dancer
lives and breathes the dance. We are all
born with style in which we are able to survive in this world and interact
within our culture and surroundings (people, things, places, etc.). Like a ballet, the dancer is on stage, the
lights lower, the music starts and nothing else matters. She or he freely expresses feelings, thoughts
and emotions. The dance becomes their
A child’s ability to express themselves comes
from their temperament. It is as
individualized as it can be and their temperament is their puzzle piece.When we consider temperament it is important to know that
each person’s temperament is steadfast. It does not change. Our personality is a combination of our
experiences and temperament.
dance is often a language you feel and not hear understanding that some of the
behavioral trends in our children are natural and inborn. A dancer shows us how they feel without
telling us and as we watch our children dance (interact and react) we can get
to know who they really are. With this
perception we learn how to motivate and inspire our children.
To be a dancer takes many different characteristics and I
would imagine one of the most important ones is dedication. The ability to continue on when their feet
are killing them, or the body is in pain, when they have to practice, and then
practice and then even practice some more.
The heartbreak of trying so hard and still is not the one chosen. Then one day: on that stage, those lights lower, and the music starts…magic
happens…they are flying, swaying…allowing us to see the beauty of themselves
and even the rawness.
As a child moves through life, they develop what they will
need to perform also. They will learn by
doing (over and over again), by interacting with others (parents, teachers,
friends, bullies), by joys, passions, happiness, and by experiences (school,
home, community), by exposure (arts, music, sports, hobbies) and through
disappointment, heartbreak and pain.
they enter onto the world’s stage our desire is as the lights lower, and the
music starts we see a young adult who is actively moving with rhythm,
approaches life with assertiveness, transitions and adapts changes when needed,
has intense passion and advocates, is persistent and even-tempered, determined
and yet has empathy and compassion. And we watch as they move and express the
beauty of who they are.