This morning I listened as my son sat at the piano and played classical music. He’s 13, quite a talented pianist, and has come as far as he has because of great work ethic. But part of his success comes from the encouragement of his parents too.
My wife isn’t a musician herself, but she knows that success in any field only comes from practice. She has been the dominant force in getting all of our kids to practice their instruments. (And their math, and their science, and their athletics.) I spent a few years as a professional musician and am a helpful person to have around to help them too.
It can be a slog to get kids to practice their music. At times I have worried that our pushing and insistence to practice would harm our relationship. So far it hasn’t, and it’s created some amazing moments for the kids (getting first chair in a district orchestra, performing in a real jazz club, winning awards at festivals) as well as for us as parents.
Listening to my son sit at the piano, of his own accord, and play real classical pieces that he’s never practiced before but can play all on his own was amazing. He doesn’t know it, but that half hour of playing paid me back for many years of effort.
It’s kind of like a relief station on the side of the road in the middle of a marathon. The race is still a long one, but for now, in this moment, it feels really good.