What I Hope My Girls Are Learning - Observations From a Dance Dad

I am a dad to three daughters and I learned a long time ago that they weren’t going to play basketball, softball or any sport that I would actually really understand. I have dancers. Three dancers to be exact. I only have two that competitively dance right now but the youngest has grown up at dance competitions and has a love of the stage at 4 years of age that has entrenched me in the role of driver and bag carrier for at least 14 more years. Most of my time at competitions is spent saving seats and notifying others how many numbers before their next dance. During the rest of the year most nights I am driving kids to and from dance and waiting for class to get out. All of that time you can’t help but observe things. As this year has come to an end I’ve been reflecting on what I really love about my girls dancing. I can see their dance teachers instilling these principles in them and they will serve them well wherever they go in life.

  1. Don’t ever compare yourself to someone else. There will always be someone better than you, but there will only ever be one you. All comparison does is steal your joy. The only competition you should ever worry about is who you were yesterday. Today is the opportunity to outshine the old you and show everyone what you have become.
  2. Work hard, period. Some days you are tired, bored, or just feel like you are stuck and you are never going to get that move down. Giving up will never get you anywhere. The only thing that will make you better is by working hard. Nothing in life is just given to you. For those that you think have it easy, you probably don’t see all of the work they’ve put in behind the scenes to get them to that point. The hard work you put in and the discipline to do it day after day is what it takes to achieve your goals.
  3. Understand you have more that you are capable of than what you believe. Just when you think this is all you will ever be able to accomplish, that you’ve reached your limit, there is another level that you can get to.
  4. A team will only be successful when every member cares more about the team than themselves. It breaks my heart to see the group where most of the girls want to be there and work together to do their best, but there are the one or two girls that just don’t seem to really care. We’ve all had those teammates that don’t give an equal share. That group project in school, the deadline at work or the member of a sports team that doesn’t give their all. It is everywhere in life. But the teams that can figure out how to be 100% unified is something special to behold. 
  5. Surround yourself with the best. I am amazed when I overhear parents and kids excited for someone to be quitting dance because it gives them a better shot at making the team they want. You want the best people on your team, so your team is as strong as it can be and it pushes you to be better. I would rather see a group of 10 very strong dancers over a group with 1 phenomenal dancer and 9 average dancers any day.
  6. Compete against the best. The same thing goes for the teams you compete against. There have been times where my daughters will perform the same dance at different competitions. At one they might place 2nd out of 10 dances and the next they place 6th out of 20 dances. The 6th place I was more proud of because of the level of competition they went against was at a much higher level.
  7. Passion and joy should be the foundation of anything you do. If you don’t love doing something and it doesn’t make you happy, why do you do it?
  8. When you are on the stage, shut out all the distractions and give it everything you have. All of your practice and preparation has led to this moment. Don’t hold anything back. Make this one dance the best performance you’ve ever given. When you come off the stage, get ready to do it again because there is another opportunity coming soon.

Life is a dance, so listen to the music of your heart, don’t try to be anyone but who God made you to be and dance!

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