Written by Teresa Goodnight
The Wiggles. Most people who have had a child in the last three decades have had at least a small dose of “Fruit Salad.” As the Wiggles have said, it is “Yummy. Yummy.” This group, launched in Australia by Anthony Field, sets most of life to funny little tunes for singing and dancing. Their shows are full of energy. The kids are up singing and dancing. It’s truly a big, super duper dose of fun. They sing about allergies, play games with song and dance, and employ the crazy antics of a singing pirate, Captain Feathersword. Plus, there’s Henry the Octopus, Wags the dog, and Dorothy the Dinosaur.
Our Wiggles journey has spread from NY to LA, because our daughter enjoys them so much. We dress her up in the standard Emma Wiggles garb with her bow, yellow shirt and a tutu. Our daughter really loves them all. Lachy delights with a piano, a little gymnastics, and a whole lot of singing and dancing. Simon dances and sings a nice little rendition of Simon Says in a playful game. Anthony? He sings while playing his guitar and even his bagpipes leading the fun and rhetoric of the show.
What’s been incredibly interesting to us is the large portion of the audience full of differently abled children, who are so excited to be there. At the show in Los Angeles, we sat next to a young autistic boy, who clapped the entire show with utter delight. At the show in Tulsa, the crowd was just full of children who couldn’t speak, walk or really communicate well—except there was no disguising their love for the Wiggles. The young boy next to us was 13. He was getting a little impatient waiting for them, but was in such a happy place for the entire show. In fact, of all the children’s shows we have seen—this was by far the most diverse audience all united in their love of giggles with the Wiggles.
After interviewing Eastland Assembly of God about their ministry for handicapped children and adults, we have come to understand the amazing appreciation of musical performances to the majority of the differently abled children and even adults. The expressive singing and dancing with the colorful attire seems to be the exact right mix for most of these kiddos. It’s a great program to watch to gain ideas for expanding church programs to teach these kids about Christ. It’s not complicated. In fact, there are likely lots of teens and even adults in the congregation, who would love to get a chance to express their sillier side with song and dance while making a difference in these precious lives.
We were able to see a young girl, maybe 13, participating in the “Make a Wish Foundation” program. I’m not sure of her exact condition, although most children participating in this program are not likely to live much longer. She had her sensory headset on to keep the music from being too loud for her little ears. She danced with amazing joy, even once clapping her hands with utter delight in a super happy moment she experienced. I snapped a few photos from my seat with tears running down my face. It was just the sweetest moment to share with her.
Sometimes being silly, having a little fun in your heart and sharing some singing and dancing is all you need to bring delight to any audience. It removes the walls put up by differences—mental, physical, financial or political (OK. I am hoping there!), It is an experiential reminder to us all that within each of our differences lies the joyful heart of our Father in Heaven. As Natalie Stitt reminds us of in her thesis, we are ALL made in God’s image. When you’re at a Wiggles show, it’s really a living, breathing example of what doing life together can be when you open your hearts and minds and take down the perceived barriers.