Featured Local Business

Most Read: Parent Tips

Building Our World: Women Ar…

Meet local women who are paving the way to careers in archit... Read more

Growing Up Gardening

Finding time to play outside is a challenge for today’s chil... Read more

A Salute to Special Olympics

Last December Cierra Winn swept her long chestnut hair over ... Read more

Changing for the Better

Early on a recent Sunday morning near Kids’ Cove at Mount Tr... Read more

Doulas on Duty

You’re a few months along in your pregnancy and beginning to... Read more

Getting Better with Art

The inpatient playroom at the Children’s Hospital of the Kin... Read more

Set Sail with Sea Scouts

Something exciting is happening in Tidewater. Here, where th... Read more

A Heart for Kids

After a successful battle with cervical cancer, Tracy LaGatt... Read more

My Mentor, My Friend

Kids need adult role models to look up to and trust. Parents... Read more

Connecting with Horses

In this more-than-one-horse town, kids and adults take pleas... Read more

Kiddies & Kitties

There is nothing so heartwarming as when a family visits an ... Read more

Growing with Gymnastics

Gymnastics is a sport of strength, dexterity, and grace, a s... Read more

Parenting with No Regrets

My son just turned 18, so he is no longer legally a child. I... Read more

A Gift of Life

At the age of five, Shutong Hao (“Tong Tong”) had already un... Read more

Learning from WHRO

When my oldest was six, he came to me with a cape and a pict... Read more

Sea and Sky

Dear Friends, I was lucky to grow up on the shores of Sandb... Read more

Tips for Kids Dining Out

Going out to eat with your children should be a relaxing and... Read more

Eating on a Budget

Get the most for your food budget! There are many ways to sa... Read more

Explore the World with NATO

When NATO Festival organizers realized Luxembourg would be t... Read more

Hit the Pause Button: Read

One of my favorite photographs is a picture of my mom readin... Read more

2014 Jul

All It Takes is a Smile

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.

Love, Peggy

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and publisher of Tidewater Family Plus magazine. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com

Enter to Win a 90-Minute Massage Gift Certificate

Win a gift certificate for a relaxing 90-minute massage from Diane’s Hands in Virginia Beach and a beautiful Himalayan salt lamp!

Free to Enter!