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The Dance Lesson

Teachings of a Three Year Old.

by Hal Evan Caplan
May 29, 2007

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The Dance Lesson
My son is my Teacher and he holds that title for a reason. I am actually amazed at the number of lessons that he teaches me. Most of the time, I am blindsided by the lesson, not realizing it is taking place at that moment. My teacher is quite good at pointing out what should be "the obvious".

My teacher loves to dance...and dance he does. He dances any chance he gets, but this should not surprise me since my wife has been a dance teacher for over 15 years. Because she continued to teach just before he was born, she and I had an ongoing joke during her pregnancy. The joke was that our little boy was going to come out dancing.

Since my wife is a dance teacher, she introduced a wide variety of music to him, pre and post birth. This ranged from Pop, Rap, Dance, Techno, Country, Big Band/Swing and Classic Rock. To date, Brian Setzer and his former band, "The Stray Cats", is his favorite music of all. Since they originally recorded in the late 1980's, Brian has gone solo, but the style of his music is still Big Band...My Teacher LOVES Big Band music.

During the periods when we are in the house, it is not hard to figure out where my Teacher is. All I have to do is listen. It's so funny that at three years old, he is already being told to turn down his music. However, besides the obvious answer of hearing the music "blaring" from his room, the blaring itself is not what I'm talking about. It is the loud thumping sounds coming from his bedroom upstairs, due to his dancing. Sometimes he enjoys dancing by himself. I like to think that he is practicing during these times, but most of the time not only does he enjoy an audience, but requires one.

Sometimes, if I am resting on the couch, he will stop his music and come downstairs and round me up as his audience to watch. If I don't budge from the couch, he sets off in a series of actions where the end result is me on the floor. At that point, it is pointless to get back on the couch and I might as well go watch his moves.

During a recent visit to the local mall, my Teacher, my wife and I decided to get something to eat from the food court. The time that we chose to eat happened to be around dinnertime, so the food court was very busy and we were lucky to find a table. As it turned out, the table was on the outskirts of the food court, near some stores. We didn?t realize it at the time, but these stores play loud Dance and Techno music to attract people to come in.

Apparently, my wife and I had tuned out this music and thought nothing of it. BUT it seemed that my teacher was NOT going to waste such a good opportunity. He decided that it was not a good time to eat, but rather the BEST time to dance. Not really aware of it, the lesson that I was to learn was about to begin, whether I liked it or not.

My teacher jumped up and shimmied over to an area where there was an opening in the middle of a handful of tables and began to dance. Now, I'm not talking about a little "head-bobbing action", I mean full-out dancing. He was pushing off the tables using them as props in his dance and even occasionally dropping to the floor and showing off some of his slick moves. Then, he began to hop and sway and skip and laugh. I noticed that people started to point; giggle and a small crowd began to gather.

I'm not 100% sure how my wife felt at that moment. Her face was blank as she watched. I could be wrong, but for a second, I was sure her mouth was dropped open. Because she is a dance teacher, I think she was proud and also feeling a little embarrassed at the same time. I, on the other hand felt embarrassed; therefore, I raced over to my teacher and began to let him know that what he was doing was not a good idea.

"You can't do that". I said in a low tone.
"Sure I can." He replied
"Stop it!" I continued.
"Dad, I'm just dancing." He expressed.
"But everybody is watching." I conveyed.
"So, Dad...who cares, I just like to dance." He voiced.
"All I want to do is just dance". He continued.
"But, you are in the way of all these people". I said back, hoping this statement would make him understand.
"No I'm not." He replied.
"Yes you are, look at all of these people around here - you are in their way." I repeated.
"But Dad, they stopped to watch me, I didn't stop them." He returned.
He actually had a valid point...

Finally, he decided to eat his dinner and came back to the table after "all of his energy was out", as he put it.

"Weren't you embarrassed by all of those people watching?" I asked.
"What does 'embarrassed' mean?"
"It means 'silly' - didn't you feel silly dancing in front of those people?' I said, rewording my question to him.
"Why would I feel silly, all I was doing was just dancing."

Okay, once again his point was well taken and I learned my lesson...

In a nutshell: Don't be embarrassed to be yourself; especially, doing what you love to do.

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PO BOOKS BY HAL EVAN CAPLAN
Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke
Published September 28, 2010

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

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Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
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A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

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