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, trying to get you practising those songs all over again, and somehow, hoping against all hopes that your love would finally lap up…

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 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 reward to our plain everyday life; that’s when we need to exercise the spirit of excellence all the more.

Because the truth is —- those daily drills matter. 

Our daily life is only preparing us for our eventual success.

And I too, Child, am still perfecting this finesse to the daily life —and to a household needing me in the big, small and very minutia moment of life.

Tell me, can we still approach our daily life 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 when I call your name. Coming to me right away, completely, 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 exam 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 examination waiting room, you sat all straight up and did 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, serious waiting.

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

You were slaying your own Goliath in the quietness of your heart –— and I — I’m 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? 

It’s hard work and preparation that will put you out there one day, and what you do today is what determines where you will end up tomorrow.

So you waited for your name to be called.

You waited for the culmination of all those hours of practice. This was no more dress rehearsal; that was the day, this was the time.

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

I tried to soothe you; relax you a bit, offer you a little distraction, a nice mind deviation on my phome, and you said a straight, plain “no”.

I know how ridiculous it seemed 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?

And how did we learn God prepared David for battle against Goliath, again?

He prepared him at the back of the desert, away from the distraction of others, away from the applause of people — to the mere meagre task of faithfully protecting his father’s sheep.

It was his everyday battle with the lions and the bears that prepared him for victory to slay the giant of Goliath one day, and sometimes — the whole of life may just be preparing you for one single deployment.

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 smiling, mouthing “You’re gonna be O.K”, palm on my heart while praying up a storm while you walked into that closed door.

You played your pieces in that room. I could only hear snippets. And I silently thanked God — this is becoming a habit now — the daily play and practice is becoming ingrained in you, a part of you.

And we now know it: It’s not a bad thing trying to push past your own natural barrier.

Because in that room, when it was just you and the Examiner, it’s how you hold yourself and give your best that speaks volumes of what is inside of you and what have gotten you there.

It really is in the everyday.

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It’s true — one day we all have to stand up to face the music ourselves.

The music of our life.

And there’s no way around escaping what consequences our own decision will bring.

And when that moment comes; the tedious, monotonous detail of hard slog will paint a much larger portrait of fruit.

They will pay us forward, when we approach our task 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.

We are committed to this: we will learn and adjust our attitude right every single day.

And when we  push through our barrier, we break out open into a wide expanse, and discover that daily drill gives 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 we remember not to discount the small, not to disdain humble beginnings, because this is the way we’re taking down our mountain 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 right, each called to face the music of our own life, each to slay our own Goliath with our own sling 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. We’ll 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 moment with every largeness of heart.

And Child, this too is precious. 

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