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Tiny dancer: Encouraging kids to be more awesome

Morning, UP

July 28, 2012
RENEE?PRUSI - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

The little girl stood on the concrete platform surrounding the flagpole at the Gladstone Beach House and danced with total abandon.

She might have been 5 or maybe 6 years old, dressed in a slightly rumpled purple and white romper and pink sparkly flip-flops. Her dark hair was in side ponytails that were a bit askew and she had on sunglasses with hot pink frames.

It was Music in the Park Night in Gladstone and this little lady was enjoying every minute of it. She rocked to the music and when another girl of about the same age, this one with blonde curls, stood at the bottom of the six or so steps leading to the landing where she danced, the sweet child did not hesitate for a second: "Come on up," she signaled, "join the fun."

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The little blonde was a bit more timid, but the original dancer was having none of that. She choreographed some moves and got her new friend into the groove in a big hurry.

They were so cute, these youngsters dancing to the music. Everyone in the park that evening, including the pair of musicians providing the wonderful tunes, smiled as they watched the joyfulness of it all.

It got me to thinking about an email that went around a few months back. It came in an email to me from a friend, I don't remember who right now. The words originated with a blogger named Melissa Wardy (blog.pigtailpals. com/author/administrator) and the email was passed between me and many of my friends. This is part of it:

"Waking up full of awesome: There was a time when you were five years old, and you woke up full of awesome. You knew you were awesome. You loved yourself. You thought you were beautiful, even with missing teeth and messy hair and mismatched socks inside your grubby sneakers. You loved your body, and the things it could do. You thought you were strong. You knew you were smart. Do you still have it? The awesome. Did someone take it from you? Did you let them? Did you hand it over, because someone told you weren't beautiful enough, thin enough, smart enough, good enough? Why the hell would you listen to them?"

The little girl we all watched that night in Gladstone still had her awesome. She didn't care a bit what anyone thought of her. She was moved to dance to the music and by gosh, she did, with pure joy and complete abandon.

At one point, the tiny dancer did the two fingers to the eyes and then out into space move that means "I'm watching you." I turned and an older woman, perhaps her grandmother, was returning the gesture, an enormous smile wreathing her face.

Which means this little girl has a great shot at keeping her awesome. She has people encouraging her, letting her know she doesn't have to be anybody but herself to be OK.

My hope is that other families out there encourage their sons and daughters to wake up full of awesome every single day of their lives, that they foster the dreams of these children and make them aware of the wonder each of them truly are.

Next time I'm inspired by the music, I'll think of this little girl and dance, as they say, like no one is watching, even if everyone is. And I will smile.

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is



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