My Kids Make Me Brave

I’m really into Zumba. I love it. Give me a good beat and some synchronized dancing and I’m there. It’s like going to a club without all the parts that suck about a club – creepy guys, being out late, having to dress up.

This is mostly what I look like at Zumba:

and this is about how cool I think I look:

But I love Zumba regardless and go to classes at the Y as often as I can.

It was just any ole’ regular day and I was in class when the teacher mentioned that anyone who wanted to participate in a big group of Zumba instructors and students dancing during the half-time of a UT basketball game could sign-up with her. My immediate response (in my head) was that I’d rather Zumba across hot coals than dance in front of hundreds of people.

But then I thought about our girls. Kids need to see their mom do non-mommy things sometimes. Something that is just for herself. And if it’s athletic, even better. I thought about how it’s important for them to see me doing things that require me to be brave. That make me uncomfortable. Really the combination of these things is super rare. When else would an opportunity like this come along again?

And so, on Friday night, I, along with my wonderful instructor and about a hundred other Zumba-lovers, ran out onto the UT basketball court and performed. It wasn’t perfect but, man, was it fun. And everyone was so excited and pumped up. Of course the video cut out about halfway through but you get the gist (I’m in the third row, in the middle):

When Kraft and I lead marriage prep, one of my favorite questions to ask our speakers is how does having kids strengthen them. Well, this is my answer. My kids make me brave. In small things like this Zumba thing, but in bigger things, too. Like actually dragging myself out of the house to attend a protest with my kids so they see it is important to stand up for the things we believe in. Or talking to the guy asking for money on the corner so that they see that we should all treat each other with dignity and love. Or advocating for my kids at school or at the doctor’s office so that they see we sometimes have to have uncomfortable discussions. I would have felt like this even if I had never had kids, but I would probably not have been spurred to action as much as I am now.

Kids grow up too quick to not make every moment possible a teachable one. Being a parent means you have decision overload. Too many decisions have to be made to not be intentional about how you are letting these decisions shape you as a person and shape the culture of your family. I screw up pretty regularly. I freak out and yell and scream and get annoyed and say the wrong thing and am too hard on my kids and expect too much. But I want them to have as many memories as possible of me doing the right thing as often as I can muster (which usually isn’t much but I try). Don’t get me wrong, I think them seeing me mess up and apologize can be just as instructive as me doing the right thing. But when I am put together enough to make a good choice and show them I can be brave in totally new and unexpected ways, well, hot damn.

The best part of the whole video is Teresa yelling “MAMA!” at the beginning.



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