Brooklyn did an excellent job at her piano recital last week. Despite the practically-daily-after-dinner-battle to get her to practice, we are very proud of her and all she has accomplished in the last year.
However, all those after-dinner-piano-battles have got Brett and I mulling over this question (its a doozy of a parenting question that has really got me thinking)...
As parents, how do we know when to push our children to stick with something in order to develop self-discipline and commitment (not to mention the skill itself), and when to concede to their wishes and just let them quit.
How many times have kids joined the soccer team to quit after the first season, or ballet after the first recital, or piano after the first year (or in my case 5th year)? We definitely don't want to raise quitters. Hanging in there though the hard times develops character and perseverance, qualities far superior than knowing how to hit a baseball or do a handspring. Qualities that benefit them their entire lives.
But, we definitely don't want to be Tiger moms (or dads), pushing too hard for the wrong reasons. This kind of pressure not only stresses us out of our minds, it is incredibly hard on the little ones under our paws. We also don't want to breed resentment over hours of forced art lessons, flute practice, or endless gym workouts. Not to mention all the time of just being a kid that is lost to these hours of training.
Our desire is to cultivate the gifts and talents God has blessed our children with. But as everyone knows, cultivation is not an easy process. It requires work and sacrifice. And in this case the effort and sacrifices are required of both parents and children. At these young ages, they aren't capable to seeing the long term benefits of the practice, effort, and work that they are putting in know. It is our job then, to help them develop the self discipline, drive, and vision to take the small daily steps that will lead them into a successful future. Even if it means we're pulling out hair out sitting next to them as they reluctantly plunk out the notes.