Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Piano and Scrambled Eggs...a Life Lesson

Alex is doing better in piano these days. At least with the teacher he is. Alex was never very delicate with piano. He was a keyboard masher until about a year ago when Rob showed him how to handle the keys one at a time. He gets fidgety pretty quickly too. So, I am thrilled to bits that he seems calmer during his lessons. He plays with the feet much less frequently than in the beginning. He is attentive and enjoys it very much. Until he has to practice.

Unfortunately he started piano when we started the kitchen. That meant little or no practicing at all the first month in. So he didn't start out with great habits. Add to the fact that he is his father's son (complains when things are challenging...thankfully many things come easy to the guys) and practice time becomes a battle of will. He will try a song. Make a mistake. Growl at himself. Declare it impossible. Be coaxed into trying again. Does better but is still sulky. Lather, rinse, repeat.

So we sit and chat. Yes, he likes piano. No, it is not fair to take up the teacher's time if we don't hold up our end of the bargain. Yes, we are better at practicing because we have the routine of doing it every day right after breakfast. No, we don't need a whole song and dance about how terrible he is at it every single day.

I needed a new angle. It came to me when I had cleared the table to start our weather diagrams. The kids were still sitting while while we had an animated discussion about all my failures in life. Like the pirate ship cake that was too square and I had to reshape. We talked about how and when I learned to bake. We laughed about all the hits and misses over the years and that one does not wake up one morning with the ability to make a castle cake. It starts with learning to bake a basic cake. So I grabbed two bowls and the carton of eggs. I passed each of them an egg and told them to crack it into the bowl...without shells, of course. Naturally, they wound up with fists full of crushed egg, complete with yolk drippings. I turned to Alex and said, "Wow, you really stink at this. Guess you should just give up and put the eggs away, huh?" We both chuckled. They each went on to crack two more eggs. The third being nearly perfect for both.

When we were cooking the eggs we talked about how most things in life take effort. Some more than others. Master egg cracking took about three tries. Piano, Alex agreed, was much more complicated than cracking an egg so should be approached with more patience. Anything worth having, like scrambled eggs for lunch or the ability to play piano takes time and effort. And much less complaining.

I don't know if this lesson will stick but I think I got my point across.

No comments: