Thursday, May 3, 2012

Like A Child

Our SPAC (Spring Performing Arts Company) started our Utah tour two weeks ago. For one month we will visit over 50 elementary schools, put on about 60 shows, and perform for over 20,000 kids. It has been such a treat getting to go meet and interact with the children. It is amazing how much they look up to us "BYU Dancers" and it is indescribable the feelings we experience watching their faces light up while we dance. Though we are not sharing our testimony through words, our dances and the message that we share with our show always leaves an imprint on their hearts.

Thousands of the children that we dance for come from abusive, single-parent, or just extremely broken homes.  It is heart-wrenching at times to see the children who harbor feelings of self-doubt and fear. Even though we only dance for them for 45 minutes, or get to have a 1 or 2 minute conversation with them, it is amazing the difference that we observe in them. One of my favorite things is after the show they just surround all us dancers and everyone wants a high-five. In the past two weeks I've given well over 300 high fives. I've been doing a lot of thinking about the thousands of children I've seen in the past two weeks. Each one is a child of God, and he knows each of them by name. The scriptures are full of references referring to the innocence and power that little children carry. I am so incredibly blessed to be an example to these children and to remind them of their individual worth and bring hope into their lives. Though all of us dancers are tired and worn-out from performing show after show, but we are filled with motivation and are constantly witnessing blessings and miracles throughout our long days. I know without a doubt that if Christ were here, he would be doing the same thing.

 This little boy was named Hayden. I found him before the show sitting in a small room by himself, hidden in a corner, and drawing. I knelt down next to him and began a conversation. He was very scared and shy at first. I asked if he was going to the assembly, but he told me he didn't do well in crowds and that he had some "social problems". He then proceeded to explain that he was drawing friends on his paper to talk to him while everyone else was at the assembly. I showed him an area where he could hide from everyone but look through the glass window and watch our assembly. Periodically throughout the show I saw him peeking through the window and I waved at him. Afterwards I went back to him and asked to take a picture with him. He absolutely lit up and even gave me a hug afterwards. Even a small and simple action like reaching out to a lonely child made my testimony grow and this sweet little boy taught me that though we at times may feel forgotten, we are never alone because God is always there for us.

 While waiting to "check-in" in one of the elementary school offices today, Delynne (our director) pointed out a small boy who was sitting in the office. He'd apparently gotten into a fight and was waiting to talk to the principle. Delynne explained that she'd been observing him and that earlier a few little girls came in the office and he stood up to offer his chair because there wasn't enough. I was so impressed by this little boy's respect and it made me wonder what kind of a home he came from. I grabbed Amber and we went and sat next to him. He kept his head down and didn't really want to talk to us - you could tell he was worried about getting in trouble from the principle. But I told him that we saw him give his seat to the little girl and how much it impressed us. Antonio started to smile, but it quickly went back to a stern and worried face. I continued talking to him in a very sweet and kind voice, and he eventually warmed up and wasn't so afraid of me. When the principle walked out of his office, he got a big grin when he saw us talking to Antonio. He cheerfully asked him, "Do you know who these beautiful girls are talking to you?" Antonio, head hung low, shook his head no. "These are the BYU dancers!" the principle said. The change in Antonio was priceless. His jaw dropped and he quickly looked at us. I saw a sparkle in his eye and I instantly knew that all this boy needed was to feel important.

As the boys began un-loading our costumes, I had a couple of them go in the office and meet Antonio. While dancing our first number, I spotted him in the middle of the crowd - it helped that he was wearing a lime green shirt. Then after the show, I climbed over a few hundred kids and asked him for a picture. All his friends were ooing and awwwing and asking him how I knew his name. All the sudden I saw him turn into the popular boy and he got a small grin across his face. I hope Antonio never forgets that he has friends like Amber and I, and that people are always watching and noticing when you do good things.

These cute kids screamed and screamed the entire show in excitement and it kept all of us dancers going. After talking to these kids after the show, they were just completely star-struck by all of our dances and colorful costumes. I asked them to take a picture and they acted like I was Justin Bieber. Priceless.

1 comment:

  1. I am so happy that you posted about those little boys. They are so adorable.