Friday, December 08, 2006

Cello Cares

Yesterday, my older daughter was in tears because she doesn't want to take cello lessons. A family member had offered to pay for these lessons, and we thought it would be a good idea. But, the tears.

What to do? My first reaction was anger. Words swirled in my head, You are so lucky; you don't even know!

My second reaction was confusion. How can she not want this beautiful thing? She loves cello music. She loves music, period. And she can make the piano sing. Besides, our schedule is quite fluid as the kids are educated at home. She has no lack of personal time.

I still don't know what decision we'll make. Kids don't always see the future benefits. They can get stuck in the moment.

In any case, this will be on my mind as we move forward...

"If children...are sought for pleasure, they are likely to disappoint us, and may even be sources of displeasure that threaten [a] marriage. Children are a long-term investment of the highest sort, and we need to build that investment steadily with painstaking faith, love, and prayer."

Any thoughts on my cello cares?

Quote is from How Much is Enough? by Arthur Simon, p.83.

"Consideration" Painting by Stefani M. Rossi Used with permission.


Blogger Andrea said...

Pray. Then make her do it. (I guess I'm a mean mama. But paid-for cello lessons! Come on!) *smile*

10:17 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Great quote. A friend of mine views it as a lifelong discipleship opportunity. Pleasure and enjoyment are an added bonus.
Love the art piece for today. Appropos in light of the decision stance.
As a music lesson teacher: I have students that love it, love to practice (and persevere through the non-loving practice days), love the music. And I have students that are doing this because their parents are forcing them to. Life hangs somewhere in between. If every lesson is forced, and she never enjoys what she is doing, it will be miserable for her and for the teacher. However, sometimes once kids receive a hefty encouragement, they find they really do enjoy it. Maybe have her start and after a couple of months, re-evaluate the situation.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Craver VII said...

I apologize for sending in triplicate on that last post. I kept trying, 'cause it looked like it wasn't going through. I'm dull that way, I guess.

And now, let's pretend I'm not so dull as I respond to the string situation.

I would not allow my child to make the decision to quit in the middle of lessons. But if they protested before buying a cello, I might oblige. But she reads music and loves the sound, so I would really want to know why she doesn't want to do it. Maybe there's a possibility to offer a compromise.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Martin Stickland said...

I am with Heather on this one!

Have you got another distant relative who could offer to pay for pig poo pottery lessons and then Cello lessons would be a bit more appealing to your daughter!

(Can you make pottery out of pigs poo?)

12:24 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Andrea... funny, but even though I said I would pray, I actually didn't think of doing it until you said so!

Heather... oh, good one... the discipleship thought. Yes, I agree that life hangs somewhere between... she hasn't even started, so I think she can't really know. My dilemma is how to get her to the first lesson without a major flood.

Craver... ah... she's hard to get info out of... I did try. I wonder if she's just afraid of it somehow. Wish I could see inside her head!

Martin... pig poo!! what a novel idea. I think you can make just about anything from poo... the question is whether you'd want to store your food or flowers in it. :)

1:26 PM  
Blogger Ex-Shammickite said...

Perhaps a coupls of trial lessons could be suggested to her (as long as the teacher agrees). Possibly her reluctance is the thought of not being able to live up to expectations, and therefore she doesn't even want to start? Or perhaps the piano fulfills her musical needs right now and she doesn't have room in her heart for another instrument?

1:56 PM  
Blogger Craver VII said...

(snickering) Martin said "pig poo."

1:57 PM  
Blogger Mark Goodyear said...

I posted an "Open Letter" to L.L.'s daughter on my blog. My comment just got too long to post the whole thing here. She invited me to drop a link in the comments.

2:26 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

ExS... yes, I think you are right about the piano. It does fill her soul.

Craver... (snickering) And now Craver did too! :)

Mark... thank you, thank you. She may just take lessons because of you!

2:47 PM  
Blogger The GateKeeper said...

I'm not sure if I have enough wisdom to answer this. Both my kids confuse the heck out of me. But I do know to pray and sometimes, I'm guessing, we have to be the one who knows better, right? My daughter wishes she never stopped with piano lessons. I see here you have good friends with wise counsel.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Ted Gossard said...


I'm a believer in helping them learn to appreciate something if they're young enough. When they get older, then more and more we're letting go, and letting go may include a painful allowing of them to let go of something we think they should keep.

But when younger, I think it is fine to have them do some things they don't like initially.

And cello music is great.

1:19 AM  
Blogger eph2810 said...

Hm - that is a tough one. We tried to encourage our son with the things he wanted to do. I know it is a blessing that your family member will pay for the lessons, but maybe your daughter is not ready for it right now. Maybe next year - or the year after. I know that we have made a mistake with some things and encouraged our son that weren't in his plans...Not sure if that advise is helpful to you...

11:11 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

I definitely agree that you need to pray about it. But why not try it and see if she likes it. Sometimes you have to try something before you know if you'll really like it or not. Oh, and I don't mind if you keep me on your earth loving friends list. I'm honored to be on it :)

9:57 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Gatekeeper... oh, what a relief to hear that other people's kids confuse the heck out of them! :)

Ted... how old are your children? Curious.

Eph2810... did your encouragements seem to harm him in any way? just wondering.

Stephanie... yes, you're reminding me that if I never made her eat broccoli, it wouldn't be her favorite veggie now! :)

11:22 AM  
Blogger andre said...

Reminds me of when my daughter wanted to quit piano lessons six years ago. She was nine - after speaking to her about it, I didn't let her quit.

Here was my rationale -

1. The hardest part of learning a skill is the beginning. It's 90% investment of hard work with 10% return of gratification. That's a life lesson I wanted her to understand

2. She wanted to give up for all the wrong reasons - didn't like her teacher, it's not fun, etc...

3. We agreed that she'll take it for another year and if she still felt the same way, I'd let her quit next year. She had to give it a fair shake

4. I'm the dad and I decided that it was a good time to exercise my executive powers as dad (conveyed to all dads at time of the birth of child!) :-)

She didn't quit after the year and loves playing. Strangely, it's now fun.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Wow, this is a good discussion for ANY parent to read.

All three of miy kids are different, and it's very evident which parent they resemble in their approach to life.
My husband took music lessons and hated them. To this day, he says he could be in a church service with NO MUSIC and be totally fine with it. Music and the arts just don't grab his soul. We have one child that seems to go the same way. Though she's pretty young still (8) I think we will get her into some kind of music lesson, just for the personal growth. But will I force her to continue ad infinitum? I dunno. Time and God will have to tell.

Me, on the other hand, I LOVE the arts! I took music lessons as a kid, complained the entire time, then my parents let me quit. And I so regret it now.
I could think of nothing more delightful than an ENTIRE worship service full of nothing BUT music, art and dance. Those things are vital to who I am. And I have 2 kids who tend to agree with me. They're much easier when it comes to things like this. Always ready to be interested in the arts.

I was always intimidated by the guitar. I just couldn't comprehend moving fingers and keeping a rhythm, and strumming and, and, and... ack! Finally, at the age of 30, I learned to play and I'm so grateful. It's been such a gift to me. Perhaps your daughter thinks she will be expected to be the next Yo-Yo Ma right off the bat. Or maybe that's what she desires, and feels hopeless.

As a parent in this situation, we get to see a little bit of what God sees with us. We can take the long view of music lessons. It might be stinky and boring and painful today, but we can see into the future, when these music lesson will be invaluable.

But you also have to ask yourself, "Do I want these lessons so badly for her because I wanted to be Yo-Yo Ma?" (Ooops, convicted myself right there.)

Um, I don't really think I answered the question.

11:28 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Andre... I love that "conveyed to all kids at birth"... when my daughters were born, my husband said, "Hi, xxxx, I'm your daddy, and you're not going to date until you're 40. The doctor laughed so hard at that! (I think she saw the futility. :)

Erin...thanks for your very transparent addition to the conversation here! Read the Babysitting, Free post up above to get the end of this cliffhanger story. :)

1:12 PM  

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