I come from a very musical family.
Many Generations of family orchestras.
This picture is of the " Wright Family Orchestra."
My Dad is on the back row ( far right ) playing the trumpet.
My Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles would travel all over Utah and the United States performing.
They were amazing.
My Dad and his siblings all grew up knowing how to play the piano.. and I believe two other instruments. ( I know at least my Dad did )
I am continually amazed at how my Grandmother had 12 children.. and did all of this.
She was quite the woman.
Growing up.. I have always loved to listen to my Father play the piano.. and the Trumpet.
The other instrument he learned --the French Horn.. I never heard him play.
While I know he was super grateful to learn these two instruments... he also felt like there was so much " Urging and Pushing" and discipline related to these things..that he decided that when he had a family.. he wouldn't force us to play a musical instrument.
I started piano from a lady in our stake when I was 8.
I don't remember anything about it.. other than her house always smelled like food.
And it made me hungry.
I remember nothing about the piano though.
I also had lessons from a different teacher in my ward. Sister Stewart.
I don't remember how long I took lessons for ( it wasn't too long ) but all I know.. is that I loathed it.
And I mean... really disliked piano playing.
I am sure part of it was laziness... but it was also -- just not interesting to me.
Because of the way my Father felt with being urged to play in the Orchestra.. he and my Mother did not force us to keep going.
They let us quit.
And I am forever grateful.
I know... most people my age -- that don't play the piano say -- how they wished that they had learned. How they wish they had the opportunity ( if they were not offered ) and how they wish they could go back in time and change things.
They had regrets.
I have zero regrets.
I love to listen to others play ( especially my Mom and Dad ) but.. I still have had no desire to sit down and play myself. I wanted an old piano in my house.. more for the look than for it's playing reasons.
When my oldest daughter Tenney turned 8... I decided to start her in Piano lessons.
I wondered if she would take after me.. or get the family music gene.
She caught on quickly....the teacher always praised her.. and even when Tenney didn't feel like she was doing too well.. the teacher assured me.. she was wonderful.
She went for over 2 years.. and then begged me to stop.
We had a discussion... and....
We let her stop.
It's been interesting.
I feel like in the Utah - Mormon culture that I live in.. I am looked down upon for not forcing my children to play the piano.
I do feel very strongly about being adamant about certain things as a parent.
Teaching them that they are good and loved. Teaching how to do chores, learning manners, cleaning, organizing, learning about the Gospel and being a good person and citizen are the things that I feel are the most important for them to learn and for me to be diligent with.
-- Because it will greatly affect them in the future.
Some may be passionate about music or activities the same way I am about these other things.. and that's OK.
I feel like I am doing what I feel is best for my family.
When our children were growing and we started wondering how to handle extra curricular activities and such.. Chad and I made a rule that each child could only do one activity
( like a sport or dance and etc.. and play one instrument )
I may be selfish.. but I refused to be a slave to their activities.. and I feel that the most important things in their life -- that they will learn will all be in our home.
Sometimes I think parents put their kids in too many things.. and like to be:
" Keeping up with the Joneses."
I see some friends who have spent every week of their lives at Sports activites.. and it makes me sad.
I feel oh so grateful that I married a husband that feels the way I do about sports... and extra activities that keep our children "busy".
When Tenney was 7.. she asked me if she could take Dance.
She adored her babysitter Charly.. and Charly took " Irish Celtic Dancing."
It looks similar to clogging.. and I always loved that -- and I was impressed that the costumes were modest and there wouldn't be any sort of inappropriate dance moves either.
It was a win-win situation.
Tenney started dance.. and loved it.
She got better every year.. and the company was so wonderful.. that they even let her keep dancing through Chad's unemployment.. and other hardships.
I can't say enough good things about the company.. or the teachers.
It has been exciting to me to see her growth and technique get better every year.
When Celtic Celebration comes every June.. we see her progress.. and enjoy it all.
The company is quite unique.. and while they dance in the traditional costumes for the most part.. they also do " themed " dances. They are super fun!
Tenney in her traditional dress in the purple on the far right
This year.. ( the 6th grade ) has been interesting.
She has changed a lot.
She comes to me often wanting to play Volleyball.. or take singing lessons.. or modeling.. or acting lessons. Pretty much.. whatever her friends are into at the moment.
We talk about it.. and the answer has always come back as No.
I feel like now that she is entering Jr. High.. she will get to do many things that she has asked to do within the hours of school time.
And she was OK with my answer.. so it must not have been that much of a "want."
I was thrown a curve ball 2 weeks ago.. when she came to me and said she didn't want to Dance anymore.
I was shocked! Are you sure??? .. is this hormones speaking?
But.... she is a good dancer!!
We just bought hard shoes!!~ And an expensive costume!!
I found out that it mostly came down to the fact that she hated getting up early on Saturday mornings to go practice for two hours.
And.. so we talked about it for a few weeks.. and just like piano.. I let her stop.
But.. I told her she had to break the news to her teacher.
" But she will try and talk me out of it. She will be sad! "
But.. I insisted.
And so she told her -- the next time she went to Dance.
The teacher called me that day.. just sick about it.
I felt the same way.. but I also felt like I needed to let her make some of the decisions in her life -- and this was one of those not so important decisions --that she could make on her own.
Although --saving money and saving on a 40 minute dance driving commute
sounded good to me and Chad.... we were still sad.
I still feel bad -- at how the teacher was so heartbroken.. but she told me that if Tenney changes her mind.. they will always have an open door for her.
That made me feel better.
I hope I'm doing the right thing.
I'm always hoping that as a parent.
But.. just in case I'm not.. I did tell her that when she is older.. she can't blame me for not pushing this.. or piano.
I should have made up a contract.
Today I am Grateful for:
My Visiting Teachers. They are amazing. Just what I needed Sunday.
Our New Dishwasher delivered to our house a week early? Grateful!
Feeling my Grandpa Tenney with me last night.
Today is his birthday.. and it was extra sweet.
My Patriarchal Blessing. I cherish it more than words can express.
Help is on the way. Hoping life goes up from here.
PS: Christian started piano lessons 2 weeks ago.
We'll see what the future holds!!