the hokey pokey“You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out, you put your left foot in and you shake it all about, do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around – that’s what’s all about!” I’m not sure what body part the Hokey Pokey dance is is supposed to start with, but it covered just about every body part… including shaking your noggin’ like an imbecile.

Little kids love the Hokey Pokey… they even lured some of us older kids to do the Hokey Pokey at the skating rink, putting your left foot in with a heavy roles skate attached and shaking it like a lunatic took some serious balance. Probably half the show off skaters ended up on the seat of their pants… I know one for sure.

Before long we were a little too cool to be doing the Hokey Pokey, we were older, mature, slightly distinguished. Yes sir, we’d graduated from the Hokey Pokey and Duck, Duck, Goose. It was time to be grown, mature, time to show the world we’d come of age… We’d earned our way to be inducted into the world of the L.A. Shuffle.

Steps forward, (the exact count I couldn’t begin to remember) another so many steps to the right, leaning with your upper body before following with the lower half for effect, then the ever so clever clap, in time with all the other cool participants. Even the bad student could remember the lyrics to that song, and we shouted along with the choirs, “Do the Shuffle!”

Days rolled into years, tennis shoes were swapped for dress shoes, Levi’s 501’s for pleated dress pants, fine long sleeved shirts, and matching belts and ties added for effect. The Hokey Pokey rolled into Rock-N’-Pop, disco balls into strobe lights and curfews into all-nighters.

Funny how our perspectives change, and not always for the better. I remember thinking as a child the silly things like the Hokey Pokey were for children. Then somehow I believed that I looked mature, cool, as I moved my body to more refined tunes.

To put away childish things, as Paul wrote about, we miss the point sometimes. It’s not the form of dance, be it the Hokey Pokey, the Shuffle, the Twist, the Swim, or the dance of the King of Israel. It’s the understanding of the motivation behind the moves.

If it’s to teach children their body parts and to help form coordination, I say good deal. If it’s to move in joy and celebration and acknowledgment and worship to and for God, even better.

Dressing in slick duds and hairstyles because we’re older and can, doesn’t make us any wiser than the pre-schoolers doing the Hokey Pokey… and not nearly as cute.

Putting away childish ways is about how we think, and how we think will show in what we do… It shows in my wife…

She wants to take ballroom dance lessons… the Hokey Pokey isn’t looking so bad after all…