My hubby and I are one of those couples who like to dance. But honestly, “we got no rhythm in our genes.” When out on the dance floor at weddings I love to see the couples who make it look so fun, so easy, so natural! But US? We’re the ones who just kinda bounce and sway to the beat as best we can. We follow the crowd in line dancing. (Okay, so my hubby’s best dance moves include “the lawn mower” and “clipping shears!” Can you now appreciate our awkwardness?) And yes. We can certainly chicken dance and Hokie Pokie with the best of ‘em!
But ya know what? At least we’re out on the dance floor putting our best foot forward rather than sitting glued to a chair only watching the action from afar! We may appear super awkward when it comes to dancing at weddings (and when it comes to developing our parenting rhythm) but at least we’re movin’ and groovin’- and havin’ fun doin’ it! So if you’re a momma, like me, who can’t dance but would like to develop some new godly rhythms as a parent, these simple two-step instructions can help us move more grace-fully in our homes this new year:
Step #1: Take time for Impromptu dances.
One of my dear friends is a fabulous dancer! I’ve known Jill and her husband since we were children ourselves. We carried our first-born daughters at the same time. Holly and Teal have been “built-in best friends” since birth. Jill and I? Well we’ve parented infants, toddlers, and teens together. These gals were among the first to inspire and enjoy the mother-daughter Bible studies we offer at Heart of Womanhood ministry. Their family has the same heart for family discipleship that beats in our own souls. However, we have one distinct difference: They’ve got rhythm! Their family can dance. And ours? Not so much.
At every family gathering after dinner this fun family heads to the living room, pushes back the coffee table, turns on the music, and they DANCE! Grandma and grandpa, toddlers and teens, all moving to the music. It doesn’t require money or advanced prep. Just a desire to enjoy being in the moment with each other.
These women taught us to enjoy the impromptu dance parties of life! Inspired by them, when my girls were young, one would yell at random moments “DANCE PARTY IN THE KITCHEN!”
This proclamation resulted in turning up the volume on our favorite songs, singing into our make-believe microphones, and dancing till our hearts were content. Were we awkward? You betcha! Gloriously geeky. Were we silly? Absolutely! But impromptu dance parties filled our souls with smiles when life got too serious; lightheartedness when life weighed us down.
Even though my hubby and I rarely initiated actual “dancing” into the rhythm of family time activities, we did learn this parenting lesson: dancing is more of a mindset than a quickstep. It’s seizing joy in the moments. We may not share the latest dance moves as a family, but we take time to delight in the impromptu opportunities. Different ages and stages need different rhythms. Your best moves during this parenting season might be bundling up for impromptu walks in the snow, hot cocoa and story-telling by the fire, or game time around the kitchen table.
When the weather is warm, we love frequent family walks, bike rides, cornhole or tennis golf competitions. What’s tennis golf, you say? Good question! It’s a Wigginton original. Think Frisbee Golf only played throughout the neighborhood! Do our neighbors think we’re a bit silly? Maybe. But frequently they say, “We love seeing your family out doing things together!”
Yes. We enjoy “dancing” together as a family. Our family is proof that you don’t have to be a good dancer to engage and enjoy new rhythms of life. The Message version of Matthew 11:29-30 invites us as individuals and families to join God in His “dance” routine.
“Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace…Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
As His child and as a parent, I want to keep in step with God’s rhythms of grace, don’t you? So, let’s step up and take time for impromptu dances in life with our families!
Step #2: Make time for intentional dances.
Sometimes the dance floors in life open up before you unplanned. When that happens, grab your make-believe microphone and make your move! However, sometimes we miss our “dance” opportunities because we don’t MAKE the time for them. Dancing may not always come “naturally” but instead needs to be pursued “intentionally.” While taking time for impromptu dances can add freedom and lightness to our homes, MAKING time for INTENTIONAL dances adds closeness and compassion to our hearts!
There’s something super special about someone asking you to dance. Do you remember your feelings when a person specifically invited you to share a “moment” on the dance floor? Group dancing as a family can be powerful. No doubt. But dancing one on one? It’s PERSONAL. And I love the fact that anyone can slow dance! It doesn’t take any rhythm. It just takes closeness. No dancing A-game needed. Just bring your stand up and sway game! Thankfully, one-on-one “dancing” is not about talent, just timing; simply taking the time to connect and get in step with each other at a more personal level. As my mom wisely said throughout my childhood, “Children spell love T.I.M.E.!”
Alongside our Manhood Journey ministry partners, Heart of Womanhood is co-hosting a city-wide Dad Daughter Diamond Dance at our Louisville AAA Baseball Slugger Field Stadium on February 9th. Why? Because making time for intentional dancing is important to strengthening our parenting rhythm! Unlike some Dad Daughter dances, this is a choreographed event designed to encourage intentional partnership between a dad and his daughter.
- Blending their two unique styles develops mutual appreciation.
- Learning new dance moves together develops teamwork.
- Enjoying magical moments develops cherished memories.
- Sharing directed conversation? Well, that develops depth.
We have a generation of daughters who are staggering to experience their father’s love—THE FATHER’S LOVE! It is intentional “dances” like this that God can use to “turn the hearts of the fathers to their children (daughters) and the hearts of the daughters to their fathers.” —Malachi 4:6.
Two of the most common responses to those who attend our Dad Daughter Dances? First, dancing together brings increased Joy. Secondly, their time together on the dance floor stirs their hearts to want more intentional moments.
Your intentional slow “dances” as a parent may not involve a dance floor at all. Instead your one-on-one moments can include inviting your preschool daughter to a tea party for two. Or your teen daughter to a day trip. Not creative? No problem. Feel like you have two left parenting feet? We all do. Truth is: Kids really don’t care if we have good rhythm. They care that we care. So be encouraged. Your intentional times together may be riddled with little mis-steps. But remember, our dancing doesn’t need to be perfect to be beautiful!
Stepping up to dance in the New Year: Move confidently as a Grace-full Momma.
God’s New Year good news is that our confidence as moms comes not from our coordinated dancing ability but from our daily one-on-one slow dancing with Jesus. As we follow His Spirit’s lead, we may not feel graceful on the dance floor of life, but our parenting rhythms will be Grace-FULL!
Can you hear God’s invitation to dance from Psalm 149:3-4?
“Hallelujah! Sing to God a brand-new song, praise Him in the company of all who love Him…Let them praise His name in the dance; strike up the band and make great music! And why? Because God delights in His people; He festoons plain folk with salvation garlands!”
God’s inviting US (His uncoordinated mommas, daughters, and grand-moms) to both slow dance and quick-step with Him; to join Him for both impromptu and intentional dancing in this new year! Yes, my sisters, it is time to push back the coffee tables in our homes and in our hearts; to delight our God by “dancing” more in our marriages, our homes, our parenting!
As Ecclesiastes 3:4 says, “There’s a time for everything…a time to dance.” Let’s be mommas who make more “time to dance” this new year!