Thursday, January 25, 2007

What parts yourself do you hope that your child gets from you?

That's the question posed by the crazy, hip, blog mamas for next week. Since I always seem to miss the deadline, I'm writing this entry early and maybe I'll make it on time.

The husband and I are quite similar in many ways. We seem able to withstand the same degree of messiness (very little), we have goofy senses of humor, we both write well and were good students, we play well with others, and we like television, books, movies, and music (in no particular order) more than most other pursuits. And eating out, although we don't do that as much as we used to.

The biggest difference between the two of us is that while we both love music, he's not a bit musical. Not that he's opposed to being musical - he wishes he were. But he's not. And really, he's a wonderful, wonderful guy, but you don't want to hear him sing. Sorry, honey.

On the other hand, I started taking piano lessons at age 5, and took through most of high school and even in college. I was in all the choir groups I could be in junior and senior high, and loved performing in musicals. I sing at church, I sing in the Memphis Vocal Arts Ensemble, and I sing in the car. (I never sing in the shower, though.) Along with the singing and playing piano comes a knowledge of how music works, thanks to my wonderful parents for sending me to advanced music theory classes when I was nine. That deeper understanding of music, I think, allows me a different appreciation for it.

Fortunately, I hear a lot of music in both of the kids. Susie was tapped for an audition-only community chorus and has been chosen to represent her school's piano program in more than one recital. Alex hasn't had any formal piano lessons (yet) but has an amazing ability to noodle out some familiar melodies (and by "familiar" I refer to the Habanera from Carmen - pretty cool for seven, right?). His sister has also proven to be a pretty good piano teacher; he's learning a whole level (the one she took last year) from her. Honestly, I think we can skip that year of instruction for him and move straight to the level she's in now. He also has a really sweet singing voice that will likely improve to something quite special with a little instruction and practice.

Beyond music, however, there are some other things I hope my kids get from me.

I deeply believe in engaging with the community around me. I do that by being extremely involved at church as well as with the vocal arts group. I also know my neighbors and strive to be a good neighbor. There are other community organizations with which I would like to be involved, but there's only so much time in the day, and honestly, if I took on more activities I'd be selling my family short.

The kids already have a strong sense of family unity, and I hope they keep that with them into their adult lives. A strong family unit will serve them well in childhood and (hopefully) will inform their parenting, so my grandchildren will be just as wonderful as my children.

I'm also trying to impart to them:

  • a sense of right and wrong

  • a healthy skepticism of so-called authority

  • the desire to leave things better than they found them

  • compassion for others

  • the knowledge that playing is important

  • a love of real food

  • an appreciation of local history and a sense of place

  • the knowledge that skin color is meaningless

  • the belief that working for justice is the most important work we can do
Now, if the question were different: what parts of yourself do you hope your children DON'T get, we might get a much longer post!


Belle said...

I think it's great that your children are so musically talented. Sometimes I think that sort of thing really has to be born into a child, though I know you can get far with determination and practice.

Good to meet you! Just here from the carnival!

Jenn said...

music is so important, and it's great to see you kids have such a wonderful start (though, really, it sounds like they're well beyond 'start'!).

and a love of real food - I assume you mean other than fast/fried/processed? - also a most worthwhile thing to pass on. lucky kids! :)

(via CHBM)

amaras_mom said...

Carmen at 7?! That's phenomenal! I took piano lessons as a child and quit (because once my elderly piano teacher died, my mom was too lazy to find another!). So I can only wish I had a musical talent to share with my daughter!

Here via the CHBM!

Janean said...

I totally agree. One of the things on my list is that I hope my kids at least can carry a tune well enough to sing with their children. It is wonderful to share that experience with them.
Have a good week from a fellow Crazy Hip Blog Mama! :D

The Mad Momma said...

ohmigod.. this might very well have been my post!! I wrote a similar one some days back...

got here via CHBM and enjoyed it...