I hope it is worth it

Today starts the second semester of the school year. Today wipes clean the slate for two of my boys. I am sure that they are grateful for that. I am grateful they get to “start over” so to speak. The past semester has been a struggle for both of them and it is time to just look forward at what is ahead.

A few days ago I read an article about music education and how important it is in a child’s development and ultimately their performance academically. This weekend I have decided that there are some battles that are worth the fight. I have never been big of the fight for piano practice because it is something that they have got to want to do or it is just dragging your fingernails down a chalkboard. It is painful for everyone involved. If I got 5 minutes of practice, I was good with that. If I got half-hearted practice, I was okay with that. At least they practiced, right? After reading this article, I am still okay with that. However, I am putting in more of a concentrated effort on my part to make sure that my children put in that time to practice – half-hearted or not – to practice. That music education is so vital to their performance in so many aspects of their lives…it is worth the fight. It is worth the few painful minutes of whining and complaining.

This time, however, I was smart about it and I shared with my struggling children why it was important. I shared the article that explained what the studies have found. Music education radically alters their brain. What did my children take out of this article? “Practicing music makes you smarter.” I am glad they got something out of it. It is not what I wanted them to take away from it, but if that is what they got, then I am okay with that. Now to convince them that they still have to put in a lot of work on the “study” front to actually become smarter. They actually have to apply themselves harder to get smarter. The music just makes it a little easier for their brain to do what it needs to do perhaps.

There is a saying “pick your battles.” Today, I am “choosing” this battle. I want my children to enjoy the music, but I also want them to reap the rewards of what their music education will do for them. It does relieve stress. It does help them focus. It does in the end make them smarter…Today, I choose to encourage them to sit down with their instruments and practice. It may be 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or if I am lucky 30 minutes, but it is a “battle” that I am willing to fight if it will make their academic life a little easier. I hope if I make that concentrated effort, in the end they will see that it paid off.

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