Friday, November 20, 2015

Our Avon Park Middle Dance Parties

A couple of years ago, I had the joy of working with some special needs students at Avon Park Middle School in Florida.  I loved that job.  Those kids were great, and I will always look back on my time with them fondly.

I started this fun thing with them one day when I could tell they were in need of getting away from their desks and stretching some.  We had a dance party.  Yeah, you read that right.  A dance party!

In between classes I turned on some music, sat back, and cut them loose.  Man, those kids went absolutely nuts.  They danced like I've never seen people move before.  They had smiles the size of Texas on their faces.  And a few of them could really bust a move!

Well, I did this once a day for a while.  And it kind of spread throughout our little corner of the school.  Other kids, who I did not teach, also stopped by between their classes to join in on the fun.  I had the music cranked, and the kids were laughing, showing off their dance skills, and having a ball.  As for me, I sat at my desk smiling and laughing while these kids cut the rug.

It was a great time.  Most likely the "powers that be" would not have smiled too much at this, but I was at peace with it.  No harm was done.

After a while, however, I began to notice something.  Some of the kids expressed a lot more interest in the dance parties than in hitting the books.  A few of them were way more thrilled with busting a move than exercising their brains.  That opened the door for me to talk with them about the need for a little balance in life.  They were fine after that.

In Ecclesiastes 3, we read "There is a time for everything."  Then we see there is "a time to plant" and "a time to build".  This has to do with work.  But later we read there is "a time to dance".  Obviously this has to do with play.

A well-lived life has a healthy rhythm of work and play.  There is a time to get things done, and there is a time to kick up our heels and have some fun.  It seems to me that joyful people know how to do both at the appropriate moment.

I'm glad I got to talk with those kids about balance.  And I really hope we all keep it in mind.  When it's time to work, let's take care of business with focus, excellence, and passion.  And when it's time to relax, let's have some fun and maybe even dance like we don't care if someone is watching.

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