Michael Wallace: Why I Want My Daughter To Dance
(The following post is written by Michael Wallace, of fascinnovation.com)
I’m not sure what is more difficult for my daughter Cassandra: telling someone in an interview about one of her strengths, or listing one hundred of her weaknesses. In her mind, I think they are both equal.
That breaks my heart.
How is it that my wonderful, fifteen year old daughter can be so in touch with her weaknesses and yet can’t think of one strength? I know how. She has spent her life focusing on the things that are wrong with her, and has never really appreciated what’s wonderful about her.
I guess that is where a father needs to step in.
I am realizing that Cassandra doesn’t hear enough from me about the many things she’s good at. I don’t tell her enough about how I marvel at her ability to get up and speak in front group. Her ability to lead twenty kids through a magical Simon Says game, using a straw as a magic wand. I am amazed at the awe and excitement I see in the kids faces; they look at Cassandra as a near goddess.
I love the way she starts conversations with anyone around her, and how she gets excited telling her own story. I love her ability to improvise with anything. She finds an obstacle in her way, and she is able to creatively find a solution that solves it.
When I think of what the future holds for her, I get excited and scared at the same time. I get excited for all the adventures she will have, and afraid for the times she will stumble.
My hope for her is that she unleashes her urges. To not care about what people think, but follow her passion in life.
Last weekend, we were at a wedding up north. It was the typical affair, with a ceremony and dinner, followed by a party. Where there is a party, there is dancing. I love to dance, and at that party, I could see it in Cassandra that she loves to dance as well.
I also see that she is “closet dancer.” Secretly she wants to dance, but she is embarrassed to get up there and move. I understand it, and this is to be expected from a fifteen year old.
What I hope for her is that, at weddings and in life, she gets on the dance floor.
When she feels the music in her body and has the urge to move, I hope she will take that leap and dance. Let the music sink into her bones and feel it, let it make her legs want to move. Claim that space on the dance floor and move to the rhythms of the music.
There will come a time in Cassandra’s young life when she will feel a tug to follow an urge. That urge might be something that goes against the grain, or what her gut tells her to do.
I am hoping she will follow that urge.
Wonderful things happen in life by following those urges. Five years ago, I followed the urge to leave a secure and well paying job to start up my consulting company. I can’t say that it was a dream of mine, it was just and urge I had after an eventful lunch with a colleague.
I didn’t know at the time what was waiting for me, I just knew that my gut was telling me to move.
Five years later, and I only wish I had made the jump ten years ago.
I have found that we rarely regret the urges we follow. The regrets we usually have are the ones that we didn’t act on.
So she will always have a choice: she can get on the dance floor, or she can stand aside and watch others get up and move to the music.
My hope for Cassandra is for her to have as many urge-regrets as possible.
Later in the evening of that wedding, Cassandra got up and danced. She moved to the music as her body told her to. She claimed her space on the dance floor.
I think in life, Cassandra will get on the dance floor.
I just need to keep telling her what a great dancer she is.