Monday, February 08, 2010

just dance...

When Michaela was 2 years old, Steve's boss kept pushing us to get a portfolio and start her in pageants. So in order to stop the barrage from Sandy, we entered Michaela in a local beauty pageant. The pageant was held on a Sunday afternoon, so we headed over to the auditorium after church services--hair curled under and a simple church dress. We kept it simple, it was just for fun. As we entered the pageant room, the eyes of the mothers immediately turned to us to determine if she was competition. With their daughters in huge pageant dresses, tackle boxes full of make-up, and rollers in their hair, they immediately looked away from us and towards the next contestant to enter the room, convinced that we were in no way competition for the Little Miss Sunshine title. We did not have the pageant 'look'. This spectacle continued until the pageant began--grown adults sizing up 2 and 3 year old children; pointing out 'flaws' that would make that child unworthy of competing with their daughters. Snarls and eye rolls when the winners were crowned could be seen throughout the room. That pageant was our first...and last pageant we ever entered. Teaching my child that looks and the value placed on them by others is what defined you was not a lesson I wanted Michaela to learn. Imposing that much ugliness and hatred on the innocent heart of my child was inconceivable to me. Our tiara was put into retirement--NEVER to be dusted off.

As a side note....Michaela won the Little Miss Sunshine title in her age group :p

This weekend was the first competition for Michaela's dance team. Having never attended a dance competition I was not sure what to expect. I was certainly unprepared for the attitudes and arrogance that were exhibited by many of the dancers. But more surprising was the superior attitudes of some of the mothers. It was like the beauty pageant all over again. The looks. The inspections. The sizing up of worthiness. Often you could see them observe a little closer. And often you could see them write us off and move on to the next team.

Another side note... Junior team earned 2nd places in all three of their dances :)

Maybe I am seen as having the wrong attitude, but it's JUST DANCE. It is an activity that should be done for enjoyment. It is a great team sport. But it is just dance. I understand wanting to score well after the hours of rehearsals and the hard work that is put into each dance. Wanting to showcase your talents is only natural. But scoring well does not make you successful. Nor does scoring poorly make you less of a winner. Your 'worthiness' should not be defined by your talents. Your worth is defined by the attitude you exhibit as you do your best--whether your best results in a trophy or not. Winning is achieved by exerting a 100% effort, maintaining a humble attitude, and by showing others respect and kindness. Success is being the best you can be and being meek as you get there.

So while I may risk the wrath of 'dance moms' everywhere, it is JUST DANCE---it is not who we are; it does not determine our worth. Whether or not Michaela walks away with a trophy, as long as she is able to laugh with her teammates and smile as she walks off the stage she is a winner. And while others will determine her 'worthiness' by the level of competition they feel she poses as a dancer, I will continue to define her 'worth' by the pure heart that she possesses and the unconditional love that she shows others.

As a dancer, as long as she remembers that it is just dance, she will walk off every stage a winner!