don't think. dance.



On Saturday afternoon, Brooke went to a classmate’s birthday party. I decided to take Katie to a movie while Luau took Brooke to the party.

Wait – you like how I made that sound all casual? Like, “Oh, sure here’s what I’ll do.” Like I didn’t agonize over it and twist myself into a knot trying to decide if it was better to have quality time with Katie or to get to know some of Brooke’s classmates’ parents at the party? Anyway, back to casual.

Katie and I stuffed ourselves silly with popcorn and blue raspberry slush as we made a mid-day date of Madagascar 2. The movie was predictably cute. We cuddled and slurped and laughed and (I) shushed (her) throughout.

There were a couple of different plot lines in the movie, but one that really got me. Like GOT ME as in hit me in the chest and said, “Hey, you. Yeah, you, with that ridiculously huge mouthful of popcorn. Are you paying attention? An animated lion is telling you something that you need to hear!” Yes, I have those moments. Often.

The Readers Digest version of the story is that the young lion, Alex, has to prove himself to his father upon returning to his pride. 

Those of you who saw the first movie might recall that Alex was separated from his family as a cub. He was subsequently raised in the Central Park Zoo in Manhattan. He was dubbed ‘The King of New York” by the adoring crowds that gathered at the zoo to see him dance. In New York, he was beloved and revered for his incredible dancing.

Back in Africa, his talents mean nothing to his father. He can find no value in what he sees only as his son’s odd, impractical and unlionine behavior.

I’ll do my best not to ruin the story for you (as though you’d go see Madagascar 2 for the suspense), but at one point, father and son find themselves in front of an angry and frightened mob of tourists who are lost on safari in their animal preserve. To fend off the crowd, the father growls and roars. The crowd gets angrier and more menacing. His offense as defense method is failing miserably. The people raise their weapons and take aim.

Alex slowly begins to do what he does best – he dances. As he does, the crowd quiets. They watch, mesmerized as he builds momentum.

The dad joins him, awkwardly trying to follow his son’s lead. He looks (and obviously feels) absurd.

“Dad, what are you doing?” Alex asks.

“Dancing, I think.”

“Don’t think, Dad. Dance!”

The father lets loose and, grinning like fools, they dance. Together.

A New Yorker recognizes Alex’s moves. “Hey that’s Alex! I’d know that lion anywhere!” The cheers are deafening.

“That’s my boy!” beams the dad, dancing away. “The king of New York!”

Our children’s talents may not always be what the pride (or our pride) expects or demands. The value of their particular skills may not seem obvious at first.

But if we let ourselves stop thinking and we join them in the dance, we may just see what we’re all meant to do. The crowd may see it too. And even better, we may all just have some fun.

11 thoughts on “don't think. dance.

  1. We saw it on Saturday too! I kept looking at Nigel, sitting next to me with his ear plugs in, munching his popcorn and staring at the screen, taking it all in. Great movie – great message – thanks for putting it into words, Jess. You are so good at that.

  2. For what it’s worth, I think you’re a mighty fine dancer. I really do. You work hard to meet Brooke on her level, wherever that may be on any given day. Yes, it’s work, but some dancers WORK HARD to achieve their grace and agility; those who get it naturally are few and far between.

  3. So true! Thanks for the reminder. Lately I’ve been praying for guidance on how to recognize my daughter’s talents and help her further develop them. I really want to celebrate her gifts.

  4. i’m all for bajillion word comments .. but you knew that already, M 😉

    .. and i love the interplay, the push and pull of this constant conversation. we learn from each other, don’t we? all of us. and i am so grateful for it.

  5. lion dad stands in stark contrast to the haircut dad…that willingness to go where the other is, or at least be pushed there by experiences.

    there’s more to this comment, but it turned into one bajillion words, so i’m just going to make it a post. this seems to happen a lot…things here, on other blogs, are moving…inspires posts. this interplay takes place and it feels like bits and boards of a larger structure.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s