What I’ve Learned from Bill Engvall

I’m a fan of Dancing with the Stars.  No, it’s not a guilty pleasure.  I’m not ashamed to say that I am.  Matter of fact, I’m proud to say that I am.  Why?  Maybe because I took dance when I was a kid, I’ve had an appreciation for it.  To me, the body’s movements in the form of dance, be it a hard-hitting Paso Doble, a teasing cha cha, or an expressive rumba, is beauty in motion.  For the pros, it’s amazing to see them use the gifts God has given them.  For the stars, I enjoy watching several of them start out as non-dancers and transform into pretty decent dancers in a short amount of time.  And for the ones who check their egos at the door, their growth in confidence is also amazing.

Season 17 of Dancing with the Stars has contained tons of surprises and shows that, thanks to the new format of the show, dancers cannot afford to have a bad week.  The likes of Elizabeth Berkley Brant Daugherty have been eliminated by one couple:  Bill Engvall and his partner, newcomer Emma Slater.   Bill isn’t the greatest dancer.  Sometimes his dances has made me cringe.  That’s okay because I’ve learned a lot from him.

He’s humble.  I understand that for each person to be on this show, there has to be a reason why they did it.  Maybe it’s to build a career.  Maybe it’s to get more exposure to a wider audience.  Whatever Bill’s reason, I haven’t detected traces of excessive ego, and to me, that’s refreshing.  I imagine it’s refreshing to everyone who watches this show.

He surrounds himself with good people outside of the ballroom.  One of the things I like about Bill is that it’s clear how he’s surrounding himself with people who he trusts and who will build him up and aren’t in it for themselves.  The first one I noticed is his wife.  I love hearing about couples who have been married for 30 years and seem happy together.  The cynic might say, “Well, that’s what we only see in public.”  I doubt that.  I think this happiness runs true and deep.  I know how hard marriage is, and couples who truly have a sacrificial love will work to build the other up. I know too that his son and daughter are right there cheering him on.

He’s willing to learn.  Dancing is hard.  What little ballroom dance I’ve had proves it.  And that’s just learning Cha Cha and Foxtrot.  Learning several other dances in a short spell?  That would overwhelm most people.  His partner, Emma, has done a terrific job in teaching him the dances, and it’s neat to see how she, a newcomer, is now in the finals.  As the other half of the equation, Bill has been a willing partner.  He’s paid attention.  He’s listened to her.  He’s listened to the judges.  Most importantly, he’s practiced.

He gives it his best and  has fun.  I don’t think I’ve seen an episode where Bill hasn’t given it one hundred percent when he’s performed.  He may not be the most technical and artistic, but it’s clear from at least this person that he’s not slacked a bit.  Also, Bill’s a comedian by trade.  I understand that.  But I’m sure that week after week, it takes guts to go out there, perform, and know that it’s a shambles in some cases.  Each week, I’ve noticed how he puts a positive spin to it and laughs it off.

Who knows what will happen on Monday and Tuesday of next week?  Just by statistical odds, Bill will be eliminated.  Regardless, he’ll get out there.  He’ll dance.  We’ll probably laugh.  And that’s okay.  We’ve learned.  Hopefully.

What will we have learned?

We can be humble.  In this day and age and in this society, humility is refreshing when we encounter it.  If we’re not blinded by our own egos, we’ll spot it easily.

We should surround ourselves with good people.  This includes our spouses.  Our friends.  Our families.  They have our best interests at heart and will do their best to encourage us keep us honest.

We should be willing to learn.  Growth ceases when we think we know it all (teenagers, beware!).  Learning will never cease until we draw our last breaths, and it expands our views, even if we have to learn about an opposing viewpoint.

We should give it our all and have fun.  We only have one life to live.  Whether it’s in our chosen profession, our calling, or in our personal lives, we should strive to give our best.  I think that ties into humility because if we are humble, we’ll want the best for those around us.  We also need to have fun.  I’ll admit that sometimes, there are situations in life I wouldn’t call fun.  But the more we smile, the more we laugh, the more uplifted we’ll be and will impact others.

So, Bill, you’ve taught me so much these past several weeks and have been an encouragement as I further my endeavor in a very tough calling.  Thank you and Godspeed.

Now go out there, dance, and have fun.

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