It’s Like Watching Music

It’s Like Watching Music

I have a long and complicated history with music.  I love music.  My mother is a music teacher at a Catholic school in Flushing. Music has been an active part of my life since I was 7 years old. Longer, I guess, if you including learning the recorder and kazoo as a preschooler. But when my brother, sister and I each entered 2nd grade, we were required to take piano lessons.

Now, parenting lesson #1, my mom is an excellent pianist, but she did not teach us piano.  We learned from Ms. Albertson, who happened to be our 2nd grade teacher. I took lessons from 2nd-8th grade, but continue to play to this day.  I also took up the trombone in 4th grade and played that through high school.  I was in 2 high school choirs, did musical theater, played recitals, received a scholarship to college for vocal performance, sang in 2 more groups in college, etc…

When I got to college, I started out in music education.  On my first day of class we went over the curriculum for music theory.  I felt pretty good. After all, I had been doing theory since I was 7 years old.  2 weeks into the course, we had completed everything I ever knew about music theory. Yikes. After I switched majors, my councilor, who was also the choir director, told me that the two hardest subjects with the highest turnover rates on campus are physics and music. I completely understood.  If you don’t believe me, or think he was exaggerating, try diagnosing a musical matrix for a piece written by Wagner; or composing a Bach style sonata using his 9 rules of composition… If you don’t know what I’m talking about, that’s ok.  I don’t either and I had to finish projects like that for a grade.

Everyone loves music.  Maybe not ALL music, but at least some kind of music.  The other night I was watching a video on Facebook that included a clip from one of those “Got Talent” shows. There are two things that make my cry every time. One is any video of a soldier coming home to their children or parents. The other is a person displaying a talent that you never would have guessed they had. A young man with a form of autism came on and performed a song by Bruno Mars that blew everyone away. What struck me the most, however, was this young man’s mother. She stood off to the side and watched him with tears flowing down her cheeks and a smile 9 miles wide plastered on her face, looking for all the world like she is a person who knew a wonderful, amazing secret and now it’s out there for everyone to see.

It was a moment that opened up a door in my brain.  Our kids show up in our lives and give us so many things.  They make us laugh, cry, smile, empathize, and feel young.  They are, quite literally, visual representations of the music of our lives.  They play with the same emotion ranges and can really make us feel when we least expect it.

What do we do with those emotions? If it’s like me watching the video of the young man performing, we sit, we enjoy, we feel moved for a moment, then we watch whatever cat video pops up next.  How can we more fully embrace the emotions our kids make us feel?  Let’s talk to them. As many people have already heard me say since I have been here at Blessed Sacrament, let’s treat our kids like people.  That may seem obvious, but the alternative happens frequently.  Sometimes we treat kids as something a little “less than” or underestimate their ability to understand a situation.

I encourage us to talk to our kids about why we get mad at them. Explain as best as we can why we love them so much when we have a surge of loving feelings. Express our frustration for an uncompleted task without using the words, “Because I said so!”

The whimsical joys our children bring can be forever cherished in our hearts, but they will mean so much more if we actually tell our children why they are so special to us. When Christ told his followers, “Let the children come to me,” I don’t think he meant us to be physically close, and emotionally distant. No matter how old we get, it still feels great to hear our parents love.

Have a wonderful week!


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