Do you remember Raffi, the children’s troubadour? For decades now, he has been writing and singing wonderful songs and music for little kids. Baby Beluga and Banana Phone have become classics. You may currently be playing Raffi music to your grandkids or maybe you remember his songs from when you played them for your own children. Perhaps you even heard them as a toddler yourself.
Raffi is a wonderful entertainer. Not only has his music brought joy to many generations. He has also devoted time, energy and resources to make the world a better place for children and all of us through his foundation for child honouring. All this good work has brought Raffi well deserved recognition including an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Victoria.
At the convocation ceremony where this degree was awarded, family and friends of the graduates were in the audience and those about to graduate were seated in tiers at the back of the stage facing them. When Raffi was called on stage to receive his degree, he did not make a speech. Instead, he sang a song he had prepared for the occasion. In true Raffi fashion, the tune was lilting and lively and easy to pick up. The words about good things like peace on earth were meaningful and memorable. The chorus could be learned in one listening.
With Raffi eagerly bounding across the stage, singing and playing his guitar, the whole song became an invitation to enjoy yourself, to join in; to sing, to clap, even to get up and dance. But nobody did. The graduating students sat in their tiers like a bunch of Egyptian mummies with their feet flat on the floor, their hands in their laps and their lips firmly closed. No smiles, no clapping, no singing along, not even any toe tapping and certainly no dancing.
Graduations are not the only occasions to celebrate. Sophia Financial, is a financial advisory company in Vancouver, Canada, founded by prime woman, Tracy Theemes, with women like us as a major customer group. They put on a lovely party to mark their 10th anniversary in business. For a start-up to last 10 years is an accomplishment worth celebrating. Not many new businesses last that long. Over 90% fail before reaching that mark. So party time it was with a great buffet, a bar serving a specially designed cocktail, a singer with a live band, great music and space to dance. People enjoyed the food, drink and company; but even though the music was really inviting – the kind that one could dance to as a couple or a single, very few got up and danced. What a waste of a great opportunity!
As we reach our prime years, we learn things; often things we wish we had learned earlier. Here is one thing that I have learned. No matter how great our life is (and may we all have great lives!) we will never have too many occasions to sing and dance. So when such an occasion comes along, take advantage of it. Dancing and singing makes us healthier and happier. Young children like Raffi’s original fans sing and dance naturally when the occasion arises or even spontaneously.
Unfortunately, as we grow, we suppress that happy energy. Our singing voices are not as good as a rock star or an opera star. We are not as graceful on the dance floor as a prima ballerina. Who cares? Let the good times roll. Let your voice join the chorus. Get up and move and enjoy life. Remember that all the folks who are sitting silent watching you are probably wishing that they had the guts to get into the action.
I have one problem with giving good advice like this. I have to follow it myself. Whenever there is dance music, I get up and dance. Don’t let me dance by myself.