Where do I even begin?

Oh, sweet Shannon. I know at this moment you are not thinking that you will dance professionally or own a dance studio. You don’t realize how much dance will teach you about life in general.

But I want you to listen to your teachers.

Shannon, they are teaching you more than just dance steps and how to take care of your body!

I realize you are moody and you want to hang out with your friends, and I know all you want to do is sit on the couch eating pizza every Friday night, but mom and dad won’t let you.

And I’m SO glad now that they didn’t.

There will be nights when you are cursing the thought of rehearsal and as you peel yourself off the couch know that every moment of this is teaching you about how strong you are and that you can navigate through the tough times in your life.

No matter how lazy or tired you are feeling, these people around you won’t let you slack and it’s not because they are crabby adults – they CARE about you and see in you the potential of what you can BECOME.

You’re not the easiest teenager in the world, you know, and your parents are working just as hard as you are driving and supporting you in this bold adventure. Every time you think “Ugh! All of my friends are hanging out and I’m in ballet class! It’s just not fair!” know your parents are equipping you something epic – it’s called perseverance.

This staying power is a tool you will need because you are an entrepreneur in the future.

It doesn’t matter how sick you are or how tired you are, the world is not going to stop for you. The bills have to be paid, classes have to be taught, the lives of your students still have to be influenced in a positive way – no matter how much you want to check out.

Shan, your teachers are going to tell you to “Do it again!” and again and again and again. This strength they are helping you build, this tenacity, is preparing you for the curveballs that life will throw at you.

And you’re going to fail, Shannon. But because of this persistent guidance you’re going to get up – and you’re going to DO IT AGAIN.

Now let’s talk about your body. Mom and dad are right when they won’t let you eat McDonald’s all the time and instead, they fill the pantry with healthy food. You’re going to find it easy to take advantage of the drive-thru once you get that driver’s license. There’s nothing I can tell you to stop you from downing those fries and Mountain Dews, but now that I know how the food you eat effects your body – I want the best for you – just like mom and dad do.

SLEEP for goodness sake! Don’t stay up until 3 am and sleep until noon. You’ll miss naps when you are an adult…

I look at my students now and I see you in their eyes. I see you, Shannon, and I wish we could talk for just a few moments to reassure you that all this hard work is not in vain. That your teachers love you and your parents want the best for you so badly that it hurts their hearts.

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”

Live. Love. Dance.