Virtuoso of Life
Only once did I ever get up in front of an audience and play the piano. It was for church, special music. You know, show off the children of our church type of thing. It did not go well. I was embarrassed, am still embarrassed. I messed up my lines, skipped some notes, the whole thing. I know what went wrong. I know I did not practice enough. I never was good at practicing. I did not put in the time required to hone a gift I did not have. Mostly I was apathetic. I choked and fumbled and flubbed. I remember it all these years later and wish I had done things differently.
Yesterday my son got up in front of an audience. He walked jauntily up the stairs towards a Grand piano he had never played before. He stood tall as he announced his performance pieces. He sat straight and played his two pieces and did not miss a single note. Then he stood, smiled and walked back down to his seat.
I couldn’t help but compare our two markedly different performances. Yes, I know my son is smart but he is not a master pianist. When I asked him if he would be playing like the sixth grader who performed a masterpiece that left us all breathless, he responded by telling me matter-of-factly that he had other interests he would also like to pursue besides piano.
No, my son will not be a virtuoso. What I hope for him, wish to instill in him, is a love of discipline. The ability to look at a task and say, ‘I know this requires work. I know it needs to get done. Let’s do this.’ I want him to put in the work. I think we feel good when we put in the work.
I definitely saw that when he walked off the stage beaming. He looked at us with his head held high knowing that he had done his best. That’s all I ask of my children, that they do their best. Because if you are going to do anything in life why do it any other way. I know the feeling of doing something less than best. It certainly taught me a lesson I didn’t want to repeat. I hope my children don’t have to learn anything the hard way. That’s asking a lot though. So, if they do, I hope they get back up, dust themselves off and try harder the next time around. As my son is so fond of saying currently, “that’s life.” He’s right. For a seven year old he’s pretty wise.