I was hanging out by a public pool the other day and was watching the little kids playing and interacting with each other. There was one young boy, maybe 5 or 6 years old, who seemed to be by himself. The other kids had siblings or friends that they were with.
The boy REALLY wanted to play with the other kids, but didn’t seem to know quite how to go about it. He would see kids splashing each other, and he would start to splash them, hoping he would be included in their playing. They just ignored him. Or he would take the toy of another kid to play with her, but then told to give the toy back to the other kid by the parent.
“Hi, can I help you?” he would plead to other kids. When really what he wanted to ask was, “Hey, can I play with you?”
His parents didn’t seem to be around or didn’t seem to be minding him.
It broke my heart watching him, remembering some of my own awkwardness in my childhood years.
The learning doesn’t stop, even into your 40s, it seems. I’m still learning how to play nicely with others. This time on the dance floor.
In urban dance culture, there was various ways you can dance. You can of course just rock out by yourself. You can battle someone else. You can dance in the cypher.
But there are lots of other ways of engaging with others who are dancing that I’m still working on and learning about.
Often it’s two people who are dancing together — they might be friends or complete strangers. They might mirror each other’s movements, or trade moves, or do some kind of coordinated dance. Some of my favorite moments in the club have been when I’ve connected with someone else, even if just for a few moments like this.
I’m trying to get better at initiating this with others. I know how great it feels when someone does that for me, and trying to pay it forward.
You can’t really say “hey, do you want to dance?” in a loud-ass club. But you can engage them with your eyes, with your body language, with your energy. It’s pretty fantastic when it works you get to share a moment in time with someone.