This morning before camp, I gave Bella a piano lesson. I probably need to take this story back a few decades…
You see, I started playing the piano at the ripe old age of three. I began competing at the age of 12. I attended Manhattan School of Music’s pre-college division every Saturday for several years and performed widely. By the time I was 16, I was practicing six hours a day (except during the month I was preparing for my solo recital – I was practicing 12 hours a day then). I found time before and after school to practice my craft. It was a lot of work, but I got so much out of it. Accolades, sure. More important though, was the skills I acquired.
Back to this morning…
Bella sat down at the piano and I quickly joined her. Seven minutes into our lesson, she started to get frustrated because it was hard. She wanted to stop and quit without really trying. So, I taught her something that I have learned many times throughout my life:
Everything worthwhile takes hard work. At first, a task may seem daunting, but if you do it over and over, it becomes easier and more manageable.
I gave Bella an example from her own life: reading. When she was four, Bella could identify every letter, but stringing them together to form words and sentences seemed nearly impossible. By this December, after she’d just turned five, Bella was reading (slowly) by sounding out every syllable. Nowadays, she sees whole words instead of piecing them together and her reading flows. I explained that it’s the same with every task we encounter in life. When it is unknown, it seems insurmountable. As soon as we become familiar and practice over and over, everything gets easier.
We can all achieve so much if we just put our minds to it and do the work. That’s a lesson I hope to teach my kids each and every day through my own actions. I want them to know that they can achieve anything they want to do in life. The harder you work, the better you get.
How do you impart this important lesson on your kids?
Here are some wonderful quotes about hard work:
“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.” - Michelangelo
“No one ever drowned in sweat.” - United States Marine Corps
“Good things come to those who work their asses off and never give up.” – Unknown
“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.” – Mohandas Gandhi