This Tuesday night looked a lot like our family’s recent Tuesday nights.
I left work and drove to the studio to pick up my eleven-year-old daughter after three hours of dance lessons. She excitedly opened the door, got in the car, and asked for my phone, explaining, “I need to dance when I get home, so I have to find the right song.” I was finally able to get a few more words out of her after she found her song.
When we walked through the door, she put the music on and again began to dance. In those last few minutes before bed, she danced to three or four additional songs, grinning the whole time. My wife and I enjoyed it as least as much as she did, delighting in her joy and progress. Later that night as we reflected on what we were seeing, we wholeheartedly agreed that the investment in her classes was paying off.
What will come of her countless hours of dancing? We don’t know. Like most parents, we are practical and realistic about this activity. It’s going to be good for a time, and there’s value in learning the arts, but unless she shows herself to be exceptionally talented (which is possible), it’s something that will probably end as a happy memory or at best a hobby.
And that’s enough. Because we realize that it’s vital for her to learn, to work hard and passionately pursue these things as a child so that she learns to pursue other, important things with passion and grit as an adult. If it teaches her that, we are willing to invest in dance lessons for a long, long time. We’re convinced that such passion brings vitality to life.
I see the same passion and vitality in the students who attend our Murrieta Campus. Many work a full-time job before they come to class in the evening. Some balance caring for their family with their schoolwork. A fair number have made the decision to leave one career and pursue another because they were passionate about their new path. Like my daughter, their passion carries them forward.
Such energy is indispensable if we want to really live. The alternative to passionate engagement is not simply boredom or a mundane life; rather, it’s a slow death…a gradual drift into numbness and nothingness. This is true for both individuals and organizations; those that live long without this life-fuel turn into zombies.
So, stoke the fire within. Learn to dance if that will do it. Be attentive to what drives you at work. Or complete that degree you’ve been putting off. Passion isn’t only for the young.