The barn dance
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Last night, my neighbor and I went to a barn dance. It was quite an event - the first for the Historical Society in a small town near here. Round and square. It was so much fun to see the adult square dancers allow young kids to join their squares. I watched 2 kids, maybe about 10, in one square. Both in lime colored shirts, I don't know if they were brother and sister, related or not. At the beginning, they didn't want any actual physical contact with each other. The shyness of youth. Instead of the promenade, they'd walk side by side. When it came to circling the square with a hand on the shoulder of the person ahead of them, she held onto his shirt; he held onto her sweatshirt hood. There was no swinging. I watched them through several sets. By the end of the evening, they were swinging arm and arm. They were actually 'touching' each other though the promenades and circling the square. Smiling and clapping along with the adults. And the adults were so patient with them – gently pushing and putting them where they should be. On the final set, the same group searched them out to complete their square. Those adults were those kids' teachers in a new activity in their lives.
I would guess this would be a great lesson in starting with Spark. I got a lot of input from others, deciding what advice I wanted to take and then gradually grew more comfortable with my part and plan. I let myself be gently ‘pushed’ into the spot I wanted to be in and that would suit me as I moved through the 'dance'. And I had encouragement along the way. By the end of the evening, these 2 young people were doing pretty well. If they were to have the opportunity, I'd bet they would enjoy moving on with their 'lessons' of what they learned that night. I've learned many lessons in my few months with Spark and hope to continue.
For me, participating in Spark is a lot like these 2 kids learning to square dance. They had input from the others in the square and then decided, gradually, what would be comfortable for them. I received many replies concerning my original posts. Over these months, and by returning many posts, I've become comfortable with the part of the 'dance' I want to participate in. They stumbled, a lot, as it was their beginning. But were complimented on their progress and encouraged to keep going. I stumbled a lot as it was my beginning to what I wanted to accomplish. But I've experienced and learned from those stumbles and each day, I'm aware of where I want to be and how I want to get there. I hung onto 'shirts' and 'hoods' until I become more comfortable with doing it on my own.
I've not been as successful as I hoped in my original time frame; but better the progress I've made than not having made any progress at all. Had those 2 kids given up after that first rough square dance, they never would have had the joy of saying "I did it”.
I've still got just a few pounds to go but like the 2 kids did last night, I'm going to keep at it. My fellow team members' posts are so encouraging to me. Their issues and hopes may be different than mine but it's the determination to get where they (and I) want to be that is most impressive. And I want to be able to say "I did it".