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What My Kids Teach Me

Louisa and her two awards!

My daughter Louisa (aka Wheezie-Bob)  is 14 years old and today she is on top of the world!  Why?  She auditioned for the  Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra (highest level at the local high school) and made it in!  Then she was surprised and delighted by receiving two school awards:  the “Most Valuable Player in the Intermediate Orchestra”, and “Outstanding in Orchestra”.  This may be a normal event for musical families, but I struggle to stay on tune.  Music is not my forte.  But my daughter has grown beyond that.

Louisa started learning to play the violin on a whim last summer when a very generous mother in our homeschooling support group offered to teach a Strings Class to our kids for free.  My daughters Louisa and Emily, and I, rented violins and started our lessons eagerly. It is really fun to play the violin, but mothering duties distracted me. Emily had college, so she neglected to practice.  Ultimately the class ended, but Louisa kept on playing, and eventually took private lessons, and joined the local school orchestra, her only school class.  She loves the mellow sounds of the viola, so she borrowed her friend’s, and dove in full force.  I didn’t mention her unfinished math, as I could see far more important things were happening. After two days, she had taught herself to play the viola, and had also figured out how to play the viola part on her violin.  This was all her doing.  All I had to do was give her the encouragement and space to let her explore and learn.  So, to see her musical progress and to have this school year end in such a rewarding way is delightful!  And it taught me something important about following your dreams, how persistence pays off, and expecting the unexpected!

I watch my daughter Emily handle people especially well, setting boundaries and not letting people take advantage or pressure her into things.  She is pleasant, kind, and amiable. People often comment on her friendliness.  And she is non-yielding. She knows her own mind, knows right from wrong, and won’t cave in just to please others.  A good lesson for a mother who tends to always want to keep everyone happy. Even at the cost of her own happiness.

Ammon, my future botanist college-student son, wanted a job working with his beloved plants for the summer.  Jobs are scarce. We live in a rural area near a university town, where there are hundreds, or thousands, of applicants for each job, and the college students are willing to work cheap.  Plus, it is a recession.  Ammon kept printing off resumes, going from nursery to nursery to talk to the owners, asking for a job. He just kept at it for weeks, in spite of no response.  I tried to prep him for disappointment. Finally, a phone call came and he now enjoys his nursery job: watering petunias, planting raspberries, and helping customers find just the right plant.  To his great joy!  And to my instruction: always keep hope alive!

I’m a homeschool mom, but the teaching goes both ways.  I’m the student just as often as the teacher.

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