Sunday, August 14, 2005

The music mom

I'm walking on the knife-edge now of being the sort of mother who encourages her child to make the most of her talents vs. the sort of mother who pushes her child to follow paths in which the child has no interest. My daughter's been playing the trombone since 4th grade, and I've really kept the pressure on for her to keep at it and practice and take lessons and try out for things and take the instrument seriously. Sometimes she seems interested, sometimes she hates it, most of the time it's more my thing than hers. And philosophically, I believe that's bad: Parents shouldn't put their thing on their kids. The fact that music was a big help to me in getting through high school shouldn't mean that my children have to pursue music, too. Maybe she is meant to bloom in another direction. But then, down here at street level in the real world, I worry that if she's not cultivated with a heavy hand, she may not bloom at all. It's not like she's passionate about something else. She talks about joining sports teams but doesn't pursue it. Music is something she has some ability in, and learning it has increased her brainpower for reading as well. And darn it, I do worry about her getting through high school. It's a big school, and band is a tight community. Is it bad for me to push her in that direction? Hard? How do you know when you've crossed the line?

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