Germany, Daughters and Dancing

Having a picture of your pastor appear in the newspaper (website), dancing at an Oktoberfest may raise a few eyebrows.

octfest002

“Big beers, chicken hats and lots of dancing at Addison Oktoberfest”
Dallas Morning News (9-20-13)

Let me explain.

First, I don’t like beer (not that I have a problem with beer in moderation – I just don’t like the taste).

But regarding the dancing – guilty as charged.

THE ALPINE DANCERS

For the past four years I have been part of a German dancing club called the Alpine Dancers G.T.E.V. Edelweiss. Last year I became the Vorplattler – which is the person in charge of the weekly practices. I get the dance room ready, set the agenda, teach dance techniques and search out new dances.

All that to say – that this has become a major commitment. In addition to being the busy pastor of a small church and teaching part-time at a seminary – I devote several hours a week, and many weekends to German dancing.

Why?

WILL YOU DANCE WITH ME?

While there are several answers to that – the main one has to do with my two daughters. Hayden and Taylor.

Hayden is now in college. But as a sophomore in high school she had a love for German culture, language and food. Because of this she was invited by a friend to come to a dance practice with the Alpine Dancers, who practice near our home. She enjoyed it and kept going.

I only paid it marginal attention, until she asked, “Dad, I’d rather not dance with other men. Will you come and dance with me?”

SONY DSCHayden and I – McKinney Oktoberfest, 2011.

Fathers – if you ever have a daughter ask you, “Will you come and dance with me,” you know there is only one answer. So I put on lederhosen and began to learn how to polka, waltz and Schuhuplatter.

Hayden and I danced together for two years. We drove to practices together. Learned dances together. Debriefed on the goings-on in the club. Helped with fund raisers. Went to a dance convention in Orlando. It was our thing.

WILL YOU DANCE, TOO?

When Hayden graduated from high school and left for college my second daughter Taylor was 14 years old. This time it was me asking her, “Taylor, would you come and dance with me?”

Daughters – if you have a father who asks you to dance with him – please know that this took some courage. And also please know there is only one good answer.

Actually, I was not going to assume that just because this was something special for me and her sister, that it would be something special for the two of us.

But she was a good sport,  came out to try it and was hooked.

Me and Taylor 2012

Taylor and I – Addison Oktoberfest, 2012.

And so, now Taylor and I drive to dance practice every Tuesday night (actually she drives as she has her learner’s permit), and we debrief on club goings-on. She usually dances with another dancer – a teenage boy in the group – but I cut in whenever I can, and we practice at home. We will perform at five Oktoberfests over the next few weeks. It is our thing, too.

And Hayden loves that the dancing tradition continues with her sister – she is the first to “like” all those pictures on Facebook!

A NOTE TO PARENTS

Moms and dads – allow me to encourage you to find “a thing” that works for you and each of your children – something special – for just the two of you.

Yes it will take time, and money and weekends. But it really is true that time flies and soon your baby girl or boy will leave the nest – and those opportunities to dance, camp, run, play sports or something else will be gone.

If you are interested in German dancing – give me a holler.

I am pretty sure that someday each of my girls will find a young man of their own. And if tradition holds, my wife and I will pay for the wedding reception. And that is fine with me – because I want to make sure there is dancing.

And when the father-daughter dance comes up and I take my daughter’s hand in mine – it will feel like old times.

You can be sure the song will be a waltz – probably a German one, and we will dance.

That is our thing.

“The young women will dance for joy,
and the men – young and old – will join in the celebration.”
Jeremiah 31:13

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