April Jeppson: Watching hard work pay off can be moving

Published 8:45 pm Friday, June 7, 2024

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Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

Last week during summer camp, the kids put together a recital of sorts for their parents. During the week they had practiced a play, learned dances, made costumes and some even came up with their own dances and activities for the talent show. It was fun to see the cumulation of all their creativity and hard work. It was extra fun observing the parents and grandparents smile with adoration at their loved ones while they performed.

April Jeppson

The second song was the “Chicken Dance,” and I was instantly transported back 35 years. I was at a barn dance with my grandma and her friends. I loved when she would take me dancing. I distinctly remember one of my great uncles helping me refine my footwork for the polka. But the best dance of all? The “Chicken Dance.”

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Anytime it would come on, my grandmother’s eyes would light up and we’d get on the dance floor. As an adult looking back on these memories, I don’t know if she actually liked the song. She very well could have been playing into the grandparent card and just acting excited for her kindergarten dance partner. It doesn’t matter what her motivation was, the end result is the same. When I hear that song, it brings back memories as comforting as her hugs.

Running a business can be a lot like raising children. You do research then make decisions and hope that you’re doing the right thing. For instance my children don’t get a cell phone until they go into high school. I believe that small children don’t need access to that level of technology. The lifestyle that my husband and I have chosen to live also doesn’t require our kids to have cell phones. My gut says we are making a good choice for our family, however it could be years before I have any proof of that.

My job can be stressful and sometimes I question if I’m doing the right things. It’s easy to second guess yourself when you don’t see the fruits of your labor right away. How many diets have been given up on because the results didn’t come fast enough? How many people have stopped chasing their dreams because it was taking too long?

I don’t give up easily. I stick with people, jobs and dreams sometimes longer than I should. I honestly believe in getting up and trying again.

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” — Thomas Edison

So here I sit, watching these sweet children do this goofy dance and the tears start to pour from my eyes. It wasn’t just the culmination of their efforts, but a culmination of mine.

Working long hours and making some really difficult decisions has started to take its toll on me. As the music played it was as if my grandma was sitting next to me. I know I’m exactly where I need to be, surrounded by the best people and doing the most amazing work. I mean seriously — we get to introduce a new generation to the “Chicken Dance.” How cool is that, Grandma?

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.