Real issue maybe is concern with symptoms rather than causes. People are annoyed about a single instance of wasted spilled juice, money, time, or other resource that is, realistically, quite abundant if you really want to have it.

What sense is there in making a deal that my daughter will attend all the piano lessons even if she turns out to really hate it? What benefit results from her suffering; as opposed to just admitting that money has been wasted this one time and there's nothing she can do to improve the situation. The reasonable thing is to forget about it and be wiser in the future if possible. Forcing her to the lessons hurts her, me, and potentially other people at the lessons who would genuinely enjoy attending.

The only reason I would want her to attend all the lessons is to get petty revenge over lost money. There must be an underlying psychological reason for this--perhaps I subconsciously see her refusing the lessons as symbolic for disrespect toward me and my work. She doesn't see how hard we work for money while we don't see how much she suffers at the lessons. This, too, may distort the perceptions of each. In my experience people almost always act humanely and respectfully when they find out personally about other's actual emotions, but may be cold and selfish otherwise.

In any case, think about the proportions. Which is worse: one evening of me feeling upset about wasted money or one month or more of my daughter enduring the tedious lessons? A sound outcome requires no martyrdom from either her or me. Surely the solution here is for her to quit the lessons and for me and her to find out about each other's emotions rather than engage in psychological warfare.

The deal for the lessons is "fair." Like most people, I once had this abstract notion of fairness and respect that has everything to do with appearances and nothing to do with reasonable, efficient behavior that results from taking into account the people involved. It was always an ugly sight when I tried to rationalize my destructive behavior with abstract logical principles. It was especially sad when I could persuade others to believe I was right (read my "I am Fallible" theory.)

If the lessons were a "fair" deal in some abstract sense, what did that matter at all? What matters in life is that the people involved felt content at each moment. My conclusion: When a person has a healthy set of conscious values, the problems of waste and disrespect will disappear as a side effect.


3 encouragements:

Kaylynn's Mommy said...

WoW! You are quite the philosopher!
I tend to think it is alright for a mother to make their child learn the piano. Perhaps down the road, the child will thank their mother for providing this learning experience. Some children need more discipline and guidance than others. Sometimes kids need to learn that life is not always about playing. Maybe I am too strict...but you definetely remind me of my friends in Texas! You can check out her blog.

Makita said...

Coincidentally, there is a child in my daughter's dance class that clearly doesn't want to be there. She is always running around and seldom follows the instructions of the teacher. She runs in and out of the room and is generally a distraction to the other students. I'm all about allowing a child freedom to express themselves but it is unfortunate that this little girl is acting out and frequently preventing the teacher from teaching and working with the girls that are trying their best to learn the steps, etc.

Last week, I overheard her mother remark to another, "I think ___ doesn't want to take dance anymore. But I've already paid for the recital costume!"

It is frustrating for me. I don't know this mom well enough to say anything.

Sarah said...

Thanks, MOMMYLICIOUS, for sharing your thoughtful beliefs. I appreciate and value different perspective of life. Ironically, I saw your friend's work at one of my favorite artzy magazines Somerset last month. Yes, I would love to know your friends--better yet--have them as neighbor next door!

Makita, I know you get my post becauase I have seen you first hand at a show last year where you took your precious out half-way through the performance. I admire and salute to parents like you who honor their children regardless of financial implication. I knew then you are someone I'd love to have as a friend and hang out with. To change your header, go to DASHBOARD, click on EDIT LAYOUT, then PAGE ELEMENT, then HEADER, input TITLE, DESCRIPTION as you see fit. Select IMAGe you like to display saved on your computer. If it doesn't change, I will have to send to you via email to change your html language as it doesn't accept html codes here in commentary.

True learning-learning that is permanent and useful,that leads to intelligent action and further learning, can arise only out of the experience, interest, and concerns of the learner.
John Holt
Real heroes are men who fall, fail and are flawed, but win out in the end because they stayed true to their ideals, beliefs and commitments.
Actor Kevin Costner

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