December 18, 2006

For The Love Of Music

Ah. . . music! Beautiful music! It has been a very important part of this family's life for many years. I guess it is only natural because my beloved Grammy was very musical. She was well known in our community for her accordion and harmonica skills! She was a "ham" at heart and delighted in playing for others! She played at many different church functions and she loved every single minute of it. She never had a lesson in her life, she has always played by ear. She grew up on the Prairie in the early 1900's. At night her family would entertain themselves by playing music together. Each had their own special instrument they could play and I can imagine the fun they must have shared. BTW, my Grammy could dance a "mean" polka all the while playing her harmonica, and this was well into her 90's!

As a young boy my son would ask to play basketball, football, etc... on our city ball leagues. We were happy to let him participate and took him to practices and cheered him on at games. However, shortly after joining each sport he found that he really didn't like it. It was very obvious that sports was just not for him. I think in some ways it affected his self esteem because most of the young boys were all out playing ball and that was just not "his thing." What we did start to notice was that he seemed to have a good ear for music. I asked him if he would be interested in pursuing a musical instrument and his face just lit up. That was the beginning of what I know will be a life long love for him. I never once had to force him to practice and I never once had to tell him he couldn't skip a lesson because he didn't feel like going. It was obvious that he was "hooked." It was obvious that he had found his "niche." It was obvious that music is his God given talent. As a parent I can't tell you how happy that makes me feel to know that my child has found his gift and absolutely delights in it!

Growing up we spent a lot of time in the car going back and forth to piano lessons. He continued with this same wonderful piano teacher for years until she told me that he could start teaching her. We also spent a lot of time on the high school bleachers, not to watch him play in the football game but to watch our son play the saxophone at half-time! We spent many a proud moment at piano recitals and one of my proudest moments is when he played piano at his own Baccalaureate service in High School. As the children marched down the aisle they were marching down to HIS music. Oh, what a happy and proud Mama I was! Let me tell you, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat because it was what made my son so happy.

As an older, more seasoned Mom I want to speak to some of you younger Moms. I have learned through the years that you CANNOT make your child into something they are not. You CANNOT put unfair, societal expectations on him/her just so they "fit" in with their peers. Not every young man is going to excel or like football/baseball, just like not every young women is going to like and excel in dancing or music. If your child is not happy doing most of the activities his/her peers are doing that is perfectly okay. As a Mom you need to keep a watchful eye out for what you think they might be gifted in. What sparks their interest? What makes their face light up? There are a myriad of choices out there, your child doesn't have to fit into the cookie cutter mold. If we want truly happy children then we need to let THEM determine what they love and what they want to pursue. We need to take DELIGHT in what DELIGHTS THEM! We have to let go of these silly notions that boys can only do certain things and girls can only do certain things. If we let our child follow their OWN heart then I know it will lead them down a path to true happiness. Okay, end of lecture! LOL

Come this Christmas Eve you will find my family gathered around this piano. Seated at the bench will be my big, burly Firefighter son who can not only save people from burning buildings he can also make this Mama cry with the beautiful music he plays. As a family we will sing all of the beautiful Christmas songs and we end up with one of our most favorite things. We have a "rousing" rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas! We each take a part and we invariably mess up something terrible! That's the fun part, y'all!!! Mr. P always takes the part of "five gold rings" because that doesn't require singing:) Oh what fun we have! I wish you could join us! So, if you happen to hear some beautiful music playing, some REALLY BAD voices singing, and lots and lots of laughter in the distance on Christmas Eve you will know that it is probably Susan P.'s family! I am ONE blessed lady!

This post is dedicated to my son of whom I am most proud.


Debi said...

How wonderful...for some reason I always enjoy watching a man play the piano and the fact that your son is a firefighter well rounded is that?
You are so right about not trying to squeeze our children into a specific mold...each is fashioned for their own purpose.
Don't you love that time when family gathers around the piano and sings...enjoy!

Mississippi Girl said...

What a wonderful post, Susan! These are great "words of wisdom" for me, too to ponder before we embark upon the years of "activities" for our little ones. You are very blessed to have a son to play the piano for you... I think that is WONDERFUL!! I can just imagine how proud you are of him! Thanks for writing this.
Jennifer R.

Naturegirl said...

A beautiful story and post this is and I agree with what you said about allowing children to pursue their chosen interests.I see so many little ones programmed by their parents and forgetting to allow them to be children.I can hear the singing from here and wish I was there part of it!
There is so much ~*JOY*~ when there is music!

Senkyoshi said...

Thank you for your post. Your words of wisdom are so encouraging. My husband always regretted that he didn't have music lessons at an early age. He made sure that each of our children had them. Although my boys aren't Beethovens, they are talented and use their abilities at church for the Lord. My daughter is a natural and is now learning the flute also. Since we live in a foreign country, she is mostly teaching herself right now. We hope to have a teacher soon. I would add one thing to what you said. Don't make your kids do too, sports, every activity that comes down the pike....They feel stressed out from too much to do, just like we adults do. Sometimes I have felt a little guilt at not allowing my kids to do everything, but then I notice the stress and bickering going on in the families that do. I think we have chosen the way that was right for us. Have a wonderful Christmas!

thehomespunheart said...

This is lovely, Susan! Thank you for the reminder as I am on the beginning end of mothering that I need to be open to let each of my children be themselves and help them discover what they enjoy and what their God-given talents are!

PS: I've never heard of Blue Plate mayo either - maybe it's new?

Sarah said...

It sounds so fun to gather around your family piano. What a lovely word picture. And your sentiments are very wise that we cannot force any child into something they will later resent and we should to encourage boys to enjoy music (if that is what they want to do instead of sports) as much as the girls. Hugs to you and your own this Christmas.

Kelli said...

What a wonderful gift of music lessons you gave your son many years ago, Susan! I can tell you are very proud of him and how fun to spend time singing around the piano! I'm sure you will all sound wonderful!

Anonymous said...

I thought our singing was wonderful!! I am so happy that your family tradition is now going to be mine(we never did anything like that in my family) Mr. P evan sang two lines!!! I can't wait to see the, your future daughter-in-love, Ashley

Susan P. said...

Dear Ashley, you just made my heart smile:) We feel very blessed that you will be singing around the piano with us from now on AND that we have a wonderful new daughter to love!