The Joy of Vulnerability

"Sing? ME? Oh, no — I have a terrible voice."

I'm amazed at how often I hear comments like this from parents when they first bring their children to Prelude Music Classes. Many of them share with me that they haven't sung — really sung — since they were children themselves, and most of them can't explain why.

I believe it's because when we sing (and dance and play), we let ourselves be vulnerable. We let our guard down and risk showing who we really are in the moment. Children have little problem with this. But as we grow into adults, many of us take on the idea that vulnerability is dangerous, that we need to keep that invisible suit of armor on to avoid "looking stupid" or facing possible criticism — even with our own families.

Recently I read Brené Brown's excellent book Daring Greatly, and every page reminded me so much of our experiences here at Prelude. Brené talks about how, during vulnerable times, we often grow the most and therefore are capable of loving all the more. I especially love this passage:

      “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the       source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our       purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”

Isn't that a beautiful thought? It reminded me of so many stories from Prelude Music Classes.

One story in particular stands out in my mind. One day, one of our students came to class accompanied by Dad instead of Mom (who had just had a baby), and I could tell immediately that the father was uncomfortable. A successful businessman, he had clearly never done these kinds of activities with his son — singing, dancing, wiggling, waving scarves, banging on drums — at home by themselves, let alone in front of 11 other grownups and their kiddos.

After we said goodbye that day, I thought we might never see him again … but he kept coming back, week after week. Slowly I began to see him open up — singing along, moving his feet to the rhythm, clapping to the beat of the music.

Then one day after class, he told me something that moved me to tears. "Miss Ana," he said, "I just want to thank you for all you do. This class has taught me how to play with my son."

What a beautiful thing to share! By allowing himself to become vulnerable, this dad was now able to share the joy of music with his son and connect with him on a whole new level.

That's exactly what Brené Brown is talking about when she says

      "Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the       world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance."

So if you are new to Prelude Music Classes and feel a little awkward taking part, please know that your feelings are perfectly normal. I also want you to know that this is a safe place, and that we only ask four things of you:

         · Show up

         · Be engaged

         · Connect

         · Don't try to be perfect

Be patient with yourself, and before you know it, those inhibitions will start melting away, allowing you to discover the true joy of vulnerability.

As parents, allowing our children to see us being vulnerable is one of the most precious gifts we can give them. Through our actions, we send the message that it's okay to be yourself, to embrace the moment and let the spirit of music take you wherever it will.

I want to take this opportunity to extend a huge THANK YOU to all our Prelude parents for taking the time to sing and dance with your children — inside and outside of class — and to let yourselves be vulnerable in front of them! On behalf of the children, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Has your experience at Prelude allowed you to create a deeper bond with your child by embracing vulnerability? If you're comfortable sharing your story, we would love to hear it!