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  • Writer's pictureJaci Mun-Gavin

Lessons on Success from an Aspiring Ballerina

Kiara (dd2) received her ballet exam report the other day. She waited until her father and I were both home before opening it in our presence. We stood so we could all three see it simultaneously as it was pulled out of the A4 brown envelope. 


I turned, elated, to congratulate her but her eyes were still scanning the page. She flipped it over, found the section headed ‘Pirouettes‘ and read hungrily: "A strong relevé." The grin broke out on her face.

"I've been practising that," she told us. "My last report said I should work on my relevé." And she demonstrated the strong rise-before-the-turn that she had now mastered.

She amazes me daily, this child of mine. She is thirteen now; her last exam was two years ago. And part of her private preparation for this exam was digging out all her previous reports and seeing where she had room for improvement. The reports she received when she was nine and eleven had indicated a need to focus on the relevé and not just brush over it and rush into the turn. On this current report, although she was clearly pleased with her result, her only other comment was that she was glad the examiner had been helpful enough to note a few new areas that she could work on to get better.

How many of us enjoy correction, and actually feel grateful for it? I guess we too easily let constructive advice threaten our identities and so we can react defensively. Or perhaps we just don't like being told what we should and shouldn't be by know-it-all's. But deep down, Kiara believes she has what it takes to dance. Her favourite quote is, "You've got what it takes, but it's going to take everything you've got."

We need to know that, deep down, we were created for glory. Not the weak, flitting, temporary glory of our own superiority. But the unchanging, undeniable glory of being made in the image of God, and being redeemed by a perfect Saviour. When we know that, when we know that we are inherently made in such a way that we have got what it takes, then we are willing to give everything we've got in order to be everything we were meant to be. And you can be sure that that process is going to need to include receiving heaps and heaps of helpful advice from those wiser than us.

Proverbs 9:7-9 says:

If you try to correct an arrogant cynic,

expect an angry insult in return.

And if you try to confront an evil man,

don’t be surprised if all you get is a slap in the face!

So don’t even bother to correct a mocker,

for he’ll only hate you for it.

But go ahead and correct the wise;

they’ll love you even more.

Teach a wise man what is right

and he’ll grow even wiser.

Instruct the lovers of God

and they’ll learn even more.

Today, I think it's worth taking a leaf out of this little girl's book and being grateful for those who show us where we could improve. Not only that, but actually taking the time to write down what they've said, refer back to it, and train ourselves towards a better future. In the picture below, taken today, she is doing her school work - reading 'The Pursuit of Holiness' - while pacing around the house on her pointe's. Because they're new and her teacher says she needs to get used to them like a second skin. And in her own pursuit of holiness and excellence, she is not afraid of pushing herself beyond the pain to reach the glory.

The thing is, we've got what it takes. But it really is going to take everything we've got. Are we willing to partner with the Spirit of God, and with wise counsellors, not just hearing, but putting into practice the things we're taught?

Teach a wise man what is right

and he’ll grow even wiser.

Instruct the lovers of God

and they’ll learn even more.

Kiara on pointe

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