Lately, Nolan has been saying he’s afraid of certain things, certain unknowns – asking the substitute school librarian for an “I Spy” book because they don’t know one another, attending to his first ever dance class, and apparently nightmares where monsters are chasing him. Seems like rational fear.
As I drove him to dance class the other night – his third one – I put on some music that we could move to. It started with his request: Lady Gaga’s “Applause.” Then, at a stop sign, I looked at the song library and noticed a bunch of Eminem songs. I had assumed (correctly) that Lindsay added them as music to run to – she’s currently training for her fifth half-marathon.
I recommended Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” for reasons unknown. “Ooooh, I like Eminem.”
Maybe the recommendation was because I enjoy an anticipatory lead-in. Maybe it’s just a great song to nod your head to. But as I looked in the rearview to Nolan listening intently, nodding his head, it hit me: maybe this song can help teach a life lesson: don’t be afraid to go all in. And maybe the actual meaning of the song is light years from the meaning I began explaining to Nolan as he kept one ear to the music and the other to me.
I asked him if he remembered being scared when he started dance. He did, “and now I love it.” He lost himself.
Lose yourself in the music, in the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
Me: “So you know th…”
Nolan: “Shhh, dad, I’m trying to listen to the song!”
So I let him listen for a few more seconds before pausing it to speak about losing yourself.
“You mean like getting lost?”
I nodded/shrugged simultaneously before explaining that it can also mean just going for it, being all in.
Whatever you’re doing, in that moment, just got for it. Be all in.
“Like dance class?”
EXACTLY! I reminded him that when he was at dance to just worry about dancing and having fun, to get lost in the music, in the dance.
Eminem” “Success is my only motherfuckin’ optio…”
Nolan: (giggling) “Ooooooh, bad word! Mom, I love you.”
He quickly regrouped and went back to listening to the lyrics, asking me what this meant or what that mean.
Granted, it’s an Eminem song and it’s got two words that aren’t child-friendly, but it was just the two of us, he’s heard the f-word before, so we lost ourselves.
In trying to explain to a six-year-old that opportunity presents itself only so many times and it’s important to not be afraid and just go for it, I might’ve lost him. But I think the other lesson (?) of just losing yourself in whatever it is you’re doing, being all in – whether it be dance, gymnastics, sports, reading – got through to him.
And the same could be applied to us as parents – lose yourself in the moment. With your significant other or kids, with your dog or just doing something you enjoy. Be all in.
When we pulled up, I asked what he was gonna do.
“Dance. I’m gonna lose myself!”
See, sometimes kids listen.