The toddler was bee-bopping in the seat of that BJs shopping cart, perfectly in rhythm with the music piped quietly, unobtrusively, barely perceptibly through the speakers into our shopping experience. And the young mom was dancing along as they cruised down the aisle of canned goods.
“Amazing how they arrive with rhythm, isn’t it?” I said to this mom as she rocked on by.
“Yeah, she’s got way better rhythm than I do!” she replied, smiling as she left-turned around the corner past the dip chips.
I stopped and smiled, unable to get the image of my romper-clad 18 month old out of my mind. That memory was more than 20 years old, but I can still see it like it was yesterday. Put the music on and she would shake her booty like nobody’s business. No one ever taught her that; she came to me that way, with a body that resonated to sound and a beat. And here is this other small girl, one of many, with the same sensory response. It is not carefully consider or pre-meditated or planned. It just plays.
Kids are naturally kinesthetic. They experience the world, in all its sights and sounds and smells and tastes, with a visceral, full-bodied response. Somehow absent are the adult inhibitions and learnings that prohibit it. We delight to see it in them and even join along in the fun; they give us permission to be kids again. Perhaps, it calls on a bit of us that once was the leading edge of us but now is buried under layers of people telling us we’re not good dancers or don’t have good bodies. Shame sucks the rhythm out of us.
Thank goodness for toddlers! They’re life’s best advertisement for Fit2Finish. They remind us that we were built to move and designed to love it. Giving kids the chance for physical expression from an early age is a perfect way to extend that gift. Let’s not quash it out of ’em by telling them how or where to move or who to pass the ball to.
Can we take a moment, just a moment out of our practice plan, just to watch, laugh, and maybe even to dance along?
For more about kids and movement:
What’s the saying, we spend the first two years teaching our kids to walk and talk, and the rest of their lives to sit down and shut up! Most kids want to move because it’s fun! It’s only when we get older that moving takes on this negative connotation. How many little kids do you know that would say no to tag because they don’t like to run?
So true, Jodi. It’s one reason I like working with kids – they are not resistant to movement like adults are. For adults, it’s work and drudgery. Kids are happy to comply. Who would argue with that?
I also use the opportunity to move and play with the kids. Standing by and watching someone else have all the fun is ridiculous!