Wednesday, April 05, 2006
"Expectations are just premature resentments."
Someone shared the above quote recently on an unschooling list. I wrote to my Suzuki list that I was finally discovering the magic of a Suzuki parenting relationship free of concrete short-term expectations courtesy of Fiona. Fiona is (so far) a little easier-going and a lot more outgoing than her older siblings. But the difference I notice in being her Suzuki parent is mostly due to the fact that I'd pretty much decided that age 4-5 was the optimal time for me to start my kids as Suzuki students, and so when she decided at 2 1/2 that she wanted to get busy with lessons and daily practising, I just decided to humour her. We started working together doing all the standard pre-Twinkler stuff, but I was pretty sure that she would not make clear progress until after the honeymoon period wore off, she ditched the violin for a year or two, and then started back at it at age 4 1/2. I was not invested in the idea of daily practising or forward progress. We were totally just doing it to have fun.
I was the one who was taken aback when my mom suggested moving her officially off a box to a real violin before Christmas. And then I was surprised again when it was time to start using fingers and bow together. I was not waiting for the next step to fall into place. It did and I almost had to be shaken out of my little "isn't-this-cute-and-fun" reverie to recognize that it had. But here she is, age 3 years 2 months, playing the A section and the B section of all the Twinkle variations (not putting them together very often yet but within spitting distance).
The magic is that she is the one who is driving the endeavour. She asks to practice. She is willing to do hard repetitive work even when it's not totally fun in the moment. She owns her violin-playing. There are no autonomy issues. I always knew she would learn to play an instrument (likely violin) very well, but when she started the work she's doing, I had absolutely no expectations about how or when she would get there.
When one is both the teacher and the parent, and is the one setting forth the goals, it is doubly hard not to get over-invested in the attainment of those goals. With Fiona I've finally got a glimpse of what happens when you don't. If only I can hang onto this orientation as she progresses!
Labels: Family Matters