My son went through terrible sleeping stage recently. He’s never been a good sleeper, but  it at least felt like we were making progress for a while. Then, at 8.5 months, WHAM! We were back to 4+ night wakings, fighting bedtime, erratic naps, the whole deal. I know sleep regressions happen, but this one was a doozy. I felt like I was loosing my marbles. I dreaded dinnertime because it meant we were that much closer to bed. I had trouble sleeping even when he wasn’t awake, anticipating that he’d be up again at any moment. One night, while I was rocking him to sleep for what felt like the hundredth time, I looked down at his sweet face and thought, This little one is my greatest blessing. There are literally millions of people who would do anything to be in my position right now, sleep deprivation and all. Why on earth am I focusing on the burdensome part of raising him and not the blessing?

Treating our blessings like burdens. This happens to many of us, unintentionally and even subconsciously. When I think back to my dance education I realize I had this mindset more often than I care to admit. Professional dance training is a huge blessing. It is expensive, time consuming, and requires a huge family commitment. I am so grateful that my parents afforded me the opportunity, but I know at the time I sometimes took it for granted.

In the middle of a long rehearsal when I just couldn’t seem to get it right. 

On gorgeous spring days when I was stuck inside for 8 hours of class and rehearsal. 

When I had to give up outings with friends, school events, parties, and the trappings of a “normal” teenage life. 

In college as I watched my non-dance friends skip class to sleep in. 

Dance training requires intense determination, sacrifice, and plain old hard work. There are times when even the most devoted students can feel overwhelmed by the demands that come along with the serious study of dance.  But let’s make it our mission as their teachers to help them remember what a tremendous blessing it is. Not everyone finds what they love at an early age, and fewer still are able to pursue that passion. When we ourselves are tempted focus on our burdens, or when we sense our students adopting that mindset, let’s instead work together to try our best to see them as the blessings they are!

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