MegaMAID's Parenting Parables

Life moves fast! Taking time to write (or read) about it sometimes helps keep things in perspective. Below you'll find a few thoughts from Meg, a MAID in Maryland...

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Location: Maryland, United States

“Mother Addicted to Irish Dance” (MAID) is a title that I first began to earn in the summer of 2003. Watching my daughter express the music of my ancestry through this beautiful art form stirred in me a joy that was … all-consuming! It led to an “addiction” that I continue to feed as a parent, as a writer, as an adult dancer, and as an enthusiastic Craic participant.

July 29, 2006

Pondering Passionate Parenting

(written 2/24/06, originally posted at

As a neophyte in the world of Irish dance, I recently reflected on the path that my young daughter and I have traveled thus far. It began in a fairly common way, although maybe a bit younger than most. A borrowed copy of Riverdance from the library on a snowy day led to a purchase of it for an Easter basket, which led to begging for lessons. At the tender age of five, lessons began, and it was clear from the start that this was her first true passion. Recognizing that, the protective parent in me felt the need to learn more about this activity.

Exactly where is unclear, but somewhere in my research of talking to other parents, learning about feiseanna, and learning what a VoyForum is, my interests crossed a subtle line from protecting my daughter in the pursuit of her passion to discovering my own passion for Irish dance. I, too, became passionate about the energy of the music, the rhythm of the dance, the camaraderie of the events! And I found avenues to explore my own interests.

A mere eight months ago, we embarked upon my daughter’s first feis. There, I experienced the inexplicable magic of my gap-toothed, U7 dancer who, long before visiting the score room, smiled up at me and said, “That was so much fun, Mom! When can I do it again?” If I had not yet recognized my new addiction to Irish dance, that moment clarified it.

How much of this is my passion and how much of it is hers? Currently, there isn’t the need to draw a line dividing the two. But, there is indeed an important line that I hope never to cross. As parents, we want nothing more than to gift our children with the supportive parenting necessary to truly pursue the possibilities of their dreams. The dream of most young dancers entering the world of competitive Irish dance is, of course, to rise to the top as a champion. And a not-so-subtle line lies between where that dream is genuinely the child’s dream shared by her supportive parents, and where it becomes a parent’s dream supported by a loving child who doesn’t want to disappoint. Like a trip wire, that line lurks in the shadows of a temptation to coach just a moment too long, when instead a simple hug and smile are all that are needed.

Cautious eyes find this line and confidently avoid it. And lovingly the journey becomes that of passions shared. One way that my daughter feeds her passion is by performing and perfecting her dances in competition. One way that I feed my own passion is by writing about Irish dance. I perch at my PC, pausing to ponder passionate parenting, while poised at the precipice of my daughter placing into Prizewinner, the precursor to Prelim. Where will this lead? Will she one day dance at a champion level? Truly, the answer is not important! We savor each smile shared along the way ... purposefully practicing patient persistence.

There are, of course, positive and negative sides to every activity. Many of the positive aspects of Irish dance are shared on the message boards. Occasionally, a few too many of the negative aspects are shared. So I offer a small twist on a familiar prayer …

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things about competitive Irish Dance that I cannot change, the courage to change for the better the things that I can, and the wisdom to visit Zebadiah and Beauregard’s Front Porch often enough to recognize the difference.



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