Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Work ethic, the sequel

When I wrote last May about Erin's year of being turned tightly inward, I omitted any mention my inner angst over the fact that she seemed to be doing nothing at all. I didn't mention it because I was busy telling myself to trust her, to let her spend the time she needed growing into her new practically-an-adult self. I was busily hushing up that nagging voice in the back of my head that was telling me she was going to end up an anti-social lazy slob. I didn't really believe that little voice, but there's no doubt it was there.

Also last spring I wrote, in my "Work Ethic" post: "... one would expect that the ability to say "I'm gonna do this boring, tedious, prolonged, difficult work because ultimately it will produce some benefits that I value" is something that will evolve during the childhood and teen years as that maturity takes root."

Did I believe it? I hoped it, that's for sure.

Erin is spending less time in her cabin lately, though when she's in the house she's not exactly a highly interactive person. The photo above is quintessential Erin. Hunkered down with music on the headphones and a book or the laptop. I really don't have a clear idea of what she's doing on the laptop, or what music she listens to, but I am comfortable trusting her. She's a smart kid who has good instincts and makes good decisions, and she doesn't live in a bubble of naïveté. If she makes a few poor choices they won't be big problems and she'll learn from them.

But she isn't going to end up an anti-social lazy slob, I know that now. That work ethic, the one that I told myself would blossom as my kids matured, is showing up in spades. These days it's all pouring out in musical directions. Since yesterday afternoon she's done:

Violin practicing (2 hours), piano practicing (1 3/4 hours), orchestra rehearsal (1 1/2 hours), focused viewing of DVD performance of upcoming repertoire (1 hour), ethnic cooking club (3 hours), violin practicing (2 hours), piano practicing (2 hours).

Her days are not full from dawn to dusk. She has loads of down time to surf, write, read and listen to music. But 7 3/4 hours of practicing in the space of about 30 hours? On top of other musical activities? For no other reason than that she loves the repertoire she's trying to master, and wants to improve her playing as much as possible from one lesson to the next? There's a lot of maturity driving a pretty strong work ethic.

In August I declared a 3-month moratorium on obsessive hyper-analytical blog posts about Erin's musical issues, and I've made it half way. But I wanted to take a minute to revel in the fact that things are going very very well indeed right now. As I told J., Erin's new teacher's husband, over dinner last weekend, I think that being left high and dry without a violin teacher last spring was possibly exactly what Erin needed. All her life, poor kid, it's just been assumed that she'd be a violin student. Sure, she liked playing violin, but it had just always been there as a part of her life, rather than being a choice, a commitment, a decision. Maybe it's really good for someone like her to be handed a situation where she has to discover for herself whether she really wants to be doing it.

Apparently she does.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks! This post was very helpful to me right now, as I am sitting on my hands to hide my nails, bitten to the quick, because my boy appears to be doing a lot of nothing right now!


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