Conscience, reason, character and more. All part of a child’s human spirit–ready for us to explore and cultivate with them.

Where are you seeing growth and change in the children you love?  How are you helping to make it possible?

A story from my own childhood comes to mind as I reflect upon these questions. Last week I recognized one way my mother did this for me. It was last week when the doctor  questioned me about my foot pain: “Do you wear pointy shoes or did you used to?”

I thought about my pointy shoes and those long-ago piano lessons


When I was 8 or 9, my piano teacher participated in NFSM and all her piano students had a yearly audition, a non-competitive adjudication. We were judged on individual merit in the areas of accuracy, continuity, phrasing, dynamics, rhythm, interpretation, style and technique. That meant four years of daily piano practice.

After going many tearful rounds with me about skipping out on practicing

my mother thought of a game-changer. We went to the thrift store and got dress-up clothes, including beautiful satin high heels. My father sawed off the heels so drastically that they were only slightly higher than my sneakers. But they were stunningly pointed.

640787_49155367 Hollywood Bowl

After school, for at least one year, I got all dressed up, made dramatic entrances into the living room, walked across the Hollywood Bowl stage and, to deafening applause, began to play Czerny. Frequently I stood to bow before the adoring crowd of furniture.

With one small idea, my mother kept me in the game

so that fruits of character had a chance to ripen. In those four years I grew in diligence, reliability, consistency, and the wherewithal to push through when I don’t feel like it.

Tweetable: Does your child complain constantly about practicing a musical instrument?  Try this idea. Click to Tweet