Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I'm not really a tiger mom... am I?

Music lessons start back up with weekly regularity. The kids' teachers are expecting them to be more accountable for their own practice - but we all know (the teachers and me) that it's still up to me to encourage them to practice daily and to be focused on it when they are.

It's not that I wish to be a tiger mom. But I do want them to know that someone is helping them understand that they have responsibilities; even for stuff they don't like all the time. They have to learn that they can teach themselves new pieces when they learn how to critically listen to what they are doing. They can be conscious of what they make, as much as what sounds are being made around them. There will be a time when things click - and they will fly. We are at a hump stage right now. But I've seen them click before.

They can learn new things about themselves by sticking to this - especially when they don't want to. I'm not sure they've figured out that I'm not always interested in practicing with them either. This summer, I've finally found a way to help them get through the tough parts without losing my own patience. I'm sure this awareness will come in handy when it's time to teach them how to drive. (Oh Lord, please let their daddy do that!)

I've already told them - and their daddy (my dear husband) that they will not be allowed to quit their music lessons until they graduate from high school. I know that if something drastic happens when they are 12 years old, we'll re-evaluate. But I don't even want them to think that if they whine hard enough I'll give in. I told them the music lessons is just as important as going to school. You just do it. And if you go with it for a while, you might even see it's fun once in a while.

I know my mom struggled with getting me to practice. I also know that she didn't believe me when I said my piano teacher was a nut case. It took my going away to college for her to start getting the phone calls from said teacher because she no longer had students to talk to about her lonely life. Then she believed me.

The teachers we have for the kids are amazing. I'm still sticking to my guns on this. I won't complain about how much it's costing, or how much time it takes for me to drive them to their teachers' home. I will always reward them with generous affection after each practice session. I won't yell (or wince) when they are out of tune. I will stop the practice session when it goes longer than 30 minutes. I will let them go to the bathroom in the middle if they need to. They still get to watch TV. They still have play dates.

Each parent goes through a moment when they see themselves fully on the other side of line between being a child, and being a grown up. At moments like these, I thank God my mom didn't let me quit - even when my psycho teacher nearly drove me to crush my own hand in the car door just to avoid a lesson. Yes, it got that bad. Even though the piano teacher was insane, I still learned from her.  I think she's still alive.

I know there will be a moment when my own kids look back on these lessons and realize the patience, sacrifice and the restraint I needed to garner while they were pushing me to the edge of sanity.

I only hope that if they ever get so distressed that they want to slam their hand in a car door - I'll be aware. I know we're heading for more intense days of drama. I only hope that some how, we all make it through.

#75 of 90in90 for #LUBlogTribe

(honestly, Mom - that moment was also when I was going through a little bit of drama with other things. All is well)

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