character training · Family · Motherhood · Parenting · Preaching , Teaching & Writing

how the everyday & your attitude about the everyday matters

Dear Son,

I know, I know – I’m sounding like a noisy gong to you.

I know – how it might have felt like your Dad and I, we’re just pulling teeth out of you.

Trying to get you to warm up to those scales, getting you to practice those same old songs, hoping your love would lap up on that old piano.

I know you don’t want it —  because I’m just like you. 

We’re both blinded at times to the value of what the everyday could achieve.

And I know that you don’t feel like practicing your fingers up and down the scale when the exam seems so yonks away.

We both don’t feel like playing it up for the everyday —  because there ain’t no spotlight, and we’re not in the limelight.  

But Child, especially when there seems to be no glamour, nor applause, nor rewards to the plain old everyday, we need to exercise the spirit of excellence all the more.

Because the truth is that those daily drills matter. Our daily life is only preparing us for our eventual success.

I too, Child, am still perfecting this finesse to the daily life. To a household that needs me in the big, the small, and the very minute ways…

Can we still approach our daily life – the simple, the basic, with the greatest attitude, the happiest heart, the biggest smile?

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So you’re going 7, and you’ve got energy to burn, and things that interest you, and play ideas that keep you up all night…

I get it – who’s got the time to concentrate, to sit and play Quadrille, every single day? And why would I bother being your boring nag?

I know – because I see it in your eyes, the way they divert away when I call your name.

Coming to me right away, coming to me completely, coming to me happily and wholeheartedly seem like something we’ve forever been working on.

I know that our everyday matters because I saw something in your eyes that Monday morning that I don’t think you’ve ever seen in yourself.

I saw a different shade of you. A new determination, a new focus.

That day in the waiting room, you sat all straight up and not say a single word.

You were in a space no one could enter.

Not even my softest breath could puncture the air of your silent, quiet waiting.

It was the moment you’ve been waiting for, the day you’ve been practicing hard for, the moment you’d shine or stutter.

You were slaying your own Goliath in the quietness of your heart, and I, praying quietly to see a David in the making.

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I wish I could say something to you, Son? Wish in that moment I could enter into your space, take your hands and go with you where you need to go? 

Yeah, I may wish to mummy you everywhere, but here in that place, you need to be on your own, be your very best, with God on your side and I cheering you on.

And it’s true that it’s hard work and preparation that will put you out there one day, and that what you do today that will determine where you’re gonna end up tomorrow.

You waited for your name to be called, waited for the culmination of all those hours of practice. And you knew this was no more dress rehearsals, and that this was the day.

You looked down in silence, fingers interlocked and I couldn’t get a smile out of you.

I tried to soothe you – relax you a bit, offered you a little distraction, a nice mind deviation, and you said “no”.

I know how ridiculous it seems to be.

How could those numberless hours spent practicing Quadrille , timing it right with Funny Event and perfecting O, The Scent of Roses culminate into a mere 12 minutes of performance?

I know, Son, but do you know how God prepared David to battle Goliath?

He prepared him at the back of the desert, away from the distraction of others, away from the applause of anyone, to faithfully protect his father’s sheep.

It was his everyday battles with the lions and the bears that prepared him for his victory to slay the giant of Goliath.

And how it’s the finesse of our everyday life that will prepare us for to excel in our spotlight moments.

It’s the attitude that we have approaching everyday that will determine the altitude of where we will go one day.

So when you were finally called in, you stood up and walked briskly and waved me a little goodbye.

I tried to smile, tried mouthing “You’re gonna be O.K”, a faint smile, palm on my heart, praying up a storm while you played behind that closed door.

You played your pieces in that room. I could only catch only snippets of those melody.

I silently thanked God – that this is becoming a habit now. How this thing about playing and practicing daily is becoming ingrained in you. A part of you.

It’s not a bad thing trying to push past your own natural barrier.

Because in that room, it’s just you and the Examiner. There’s no Dad and it’s how you hold yourself and how you give it your best that speaks volumes of what’s inside of you, what  have gotten you there.

It’s in the everyday.

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That one day you’d have to stand up to face the music yourself. The music of your life. The decisions that you make daily. The choices that are formed as you choose what attitudes you will put on daily.

And there’s no way around escaping what consequences our own decisions will bring. Those tedious, monotonous details of life? They’re paying you forward – when you approach them with David’s spirit of excellence.

 

“…in the monotonous assignments of daily living, God can take something that seems routine and dull and use it as a platform on which to do his significant work.” (Chuck Swindoll)

And so Child, together we will get there.

You and I – both learners on how to do the everyday well.

How we will both learn to adjust our attitudes right every single day.

How we’d approach the simple, the normal, the basic everyday with the same attitude of excellence.

And when we  push through our barrier, we break out open into the wide expanse.

And discover that these daily drills of disciplines can truly give us true and tried delight. 

That in doing our daily chores? We’re not just going through the motions, we are making moments. We are not just merely existing, we’re truly living. So that we don’t discount the small, we don’t disdain humble beginnings. We don’t loathe discipline, we follow instructions. And how this is the way we’re taking down our mountains one single chomp at a time.

So I think we might persist with piano practices for a while now.

Because we are all called to be Davids in our own rights, each called to face the music of our own lives, each to slay our own Goliath with our own slings of faith.

And yes it’s true. It wasn’t David’s slings that got Goliath’s head – it was his faith in God that made the shepherd boy a king.

So we’ll partner up with God in life. Give God the result we desire as we commit to the daily process of living with excellence. 

That when our eyes are fixed on Him, we can live the small moments with every largeness of heart.

And Child, this too is precious. 

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