Life Lessons from Dancing with the Stars
Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) is one of those TV programs that is not only high on entertainment value, but also teaches life lessons. This year as always, I’ve been quite impressed with the selection of stars and the lessons we learn from them. Nowhere is it more obvious that in life, talent alone is not the answer. These are some of the lessons I’ve learned from the amazing people on the show.
1. No excuses
Noah Galloway, one of the contestants on the show this year, truly embodies what his foundation “No excuses charitable fund” stands for. I look at this man, who has every right to feel sorry for himself and be angry at the world, and instead, he is dancing and inspiring all of us. Noah lost his left arm above the elbow and left leg above the knee in an IED attack in December 2005, during his deployment to the Iraq war. Noah chose to make no excuses and decided not to give up on life. He instead became a motivational speaker and personal trainer, both of which require so much discipline and dedication and strength. Noah is a great example for our teens. We as parents need to stop making excuses for ourselves and for our teens. We should teach our teens to stand up and discover the strength, talent and discipline that lies within them and to fight for what they believe. By sheer determination, Noah is not only fighting but has made it to the semi-finals. He is truly one who makes no excuses and we need to learn that trait for ourselves and teach our teens to do the same.
I think “perseverance” when I see Robert Herjavec. The son of Croatian immigrants to Canada, his father taught him to “Never complain” and he learned to persevere no matter what the odds against him. Robert apparently convinced a company in Canada to give him a job that he was underqualified for, by offering to work for free for six months. He waited tables to make ends meet. He has not looked back since and eventually went on to form his first company BRAK systems which he sold in 2005 for $30 million dollars. Robert knew how to delay gratification and persevere and now we all see him as one of the “Sharks” on the program “Shark Tank” and he was also on DWTS. Our youth today look at successful people and want to be like them, right now. They don’t stop to think of the long road the person may have travelled and the trials they endured to be where they are today. Our teens are quick to give up on their dreams when they encounter any hardship and unfortunately even we parents do the same. We give up on our dreams or the new job we want so badly. We talk ourselves out of persevering to achieve our goals. We really should be willing to do what it takes to be successful, whichever way we define success for ourselves. Our teens will look at us and learn the enduring quality of perseverance which will serve them extremely well as they go through life’s journey.
3. Family values
I have long since admired Bruce Willis and Demi Moore and I was very disappointed when their marriage ended in divorce. As their daughter Rumer who is also a semi-finalist said, her parents made such an effort to provide a stable home for she and her siblings. As Dr. Phil says, “You must love your children more than you hate your ex.” and I think this family exemplifies that. Rumer had parents who loved and supported her even after they got divorced. I’m sometimes amazed at the extent an ex-spouse will go to punish the other person, not realizing or caring all the while that they are harming their children in the process. Remember it’s not your child’s fault that your marriage was unsuccessful but you can and should set aside all bitterness and anger to raise well-adjusted happy and productive teens. Your teens will learn from you, the value you place on family and will respect you and love you for it.
4. The power of prayer
I’ve enjoyed watching Carrie Ann Inaba as a judge on the show and I came to admire and respect her even more when I read her story in the Guideposts magazine (March 2015 issue). Carrie Anne talks about how prayer has helped her in all the many challenges she’s faced. We see this beautiful, smiling lady on DWTS and don’t realize that she suffers from Spinal stenosis, has arthritis of her feet, is legally blind and has Sjogren’s syndrome. Yet, she still praises God and lives her life with such grace. Her secret she says is in believing in a God, who cares for her and directs her, always. She says, God put her on DWTS before her diagnosis of spinal stenosis because he knew her dancing career was going to be abruptly cut short. God provided for her.
There was an article last week about how Americans are becoming less religious. I don’t know what the word “religious” really means to people, but I truly believe in the power of prayer and in a God who loves me, directs and protects me. I don’t know how I would have made it raising teens if I did not have my faith. Like Carrie Anne, I truly believe in the power of prayer and know how important it is to teach our teens to pray. According to a study from Princeton University and University of Pennsylvania, (Adolescent Risk Behaviors and Religion: Findings from a national study) the youth perceive religion as important and are active in religious worship and activities. The study also finds that youth with perceived importance of religion as well as participation in religious activities are associated with decreased risky behaviors, including smoking, alcohol use, truancy, sexual activity and marijuana use and depression. I say during the tumultuous teenage years, you need the power of prayer to guide your teens to a successful adulthood.
As the season of DWTS comes to an end, I’m really looking forward to all the challenging and exotic dance moves I know we’ll see on the dance floor, but I’m also so grateful to the show for all the lessons learned along the way. To make no excuses in life and always challenge oneself to persevere and succeed against all odds. To love our children and teach them our family values and instill in them the power of prayer.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars, to change the world.” Harriet Tubman.
Photo Credit: Here