Somewhere in a shoebox are a handful of photos taken of me in my tutu when I was around 7 or 8. Grinning ear to ear, I am posing with my arms awkwardly rounded overhead and my toes pointed somewhere. Back in the day, my parents thought I would make a fine dancer and signed me up for every dance class imaginable: ballet, tap, and jazz. I loved going to dance class, and I especially loved the recitals.
Unfortunately, my future as a dancer never got off the ground. I was pretty clumsy, and the grace and precision required in dance eluded me. Still the experience was worthwhile. I learned to appreciate the beauty of movement and the joy of self-expression. Even today watching dancers perform evokes a sense of joy in me and, like the arts in general, serves to remind us to appreciate beauty in all its forms.
I am sure you will agree that the dancers on this month’s cover epitomize beauty, and I am so pleased to introduce you to them and the magic that takes place in Todd Rosenlieb’s adaptive dance class every year. A very proud grandmother contacted me about this story idea, and to paraphrase Todd’s quote in the story, “How could I say no?”
The people involved in the adaptive dance class—instructors, parents, volunteers, health professionals—do it for the kids and feel blessed as a result. Their dedication reminds us that there is much more to the art of living than buying a fancy house or a new car. Every day we have the power to make a positive impression on those around us—even those we don’t know. Something as simple as a smile or a bouquet of flowers can brighten the day of friends and strangers alike.
Teaching our children to be giving and kind is one of the most important jobs we do as parents and requires us to be generous in spirit ourselves. We have to practice what we preach since, as you know, kids learn best by example. Take a little time in the coming days to examine your own habits and ways. And then embark with your child on a path of goodwill and see how many nice things you can do for others this month.
It’s easy. All it takes is a smile.