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The Art of Fine Metalwork and the Art of Empathy and Nonviolent Communication- woven together for you....

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Wisdom from an eleven year old sage...

I have tears in my eyes.

My son, Tom wanted to stop playing piano. He said: It's just not fun for me! This brought up a lot of stuff for me. And yet I did my best to listen with empathy. To get my own pre-conceptions out of the way.

I guessed his different feelings and needs. His frustration. He didn't want his teacher to be hurt, he didn't want to face the moment of saying "goodbye" to her.  ( He knows she really cares for him and thinks he's good) And yet I heard my self saying things like: "if you want to succeed at anything you need to practice a lot and it's not always fun" (mmmm, is that true? ) He answered: what has that got to do with it? (he's right. what does it have to do with it?)

We went over different aspects, I offered solutions, ideas,  but mostly I heard his tears and his heart crying out for something.

I know how you feel, I said
You do?
How so?
Well I remember that when I was a child and playing piano, I stopped because the piano was in the basement and I was soooo scared to be there, and even more scared to tell my Mom I was scared. And then, played flute...and then we moved to Israel, for me a new land, though my homeland, and all the support system of the school in the States was gone. And no one else in my new class played...and... and I stopped. Also I know about the pitfalls of being an artist in any field. How easy distractions come in. How easily I doubt.

I also noticed that I was trying to convince him to continue. I noticed tension in my body.

Suddenly I said: Ok Tom, you can stop. you know I won't force you.
Really? he asked , suddenly surprised.
Yes, really
I let go, I really let go. I felt it in my body. I felt him relax.

Came to the computer ( which is in the living room, where the piano is too), Started to read , tweet etc. Suddenly, out of the blue, Tom starts playing. After a few moments, he says:
I've decided to continue.
Yes, he said
I remembered that sometimes there are obstacles in life. I can either overcome them, or get stuck.

And with that , he resumed playing for another half an hour, happily

He is eleven.
All I can say is I'm humbled, privileged to have this soul as my child.


  1. What a wonderful description of those moments in parenthood that could have been solved on autopilot. : )
    Loved it.

  2. Hello, I found you via Bob's Heroes Not zombies blog.
    This post really resonated in so many ways. I work in health care too. So many attempts to 'improve' peoples well-being following biomedical or psychological strategies fail dismally. Like your son, unless a person really takes hold of a situation , owns it and really embraces it will not blossom.
    I grew up in a fairly grim place and the music teacher was a robotic heartless individual --music seemed like another subject like maths. I had to wait until 40 to start flute and discover the hidden language of sound,rhythm and the great people that do a thing for the love of it. There is a whole world here in the traditional music revival that share ,play and swap music usually learned by ear.
    Have a look at Micheal McGoldrick on youtube or this by Matt Malloy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLaEaTZSKAs


  3. Hi Ian Thank you for commenting!I will have a look at the link you sent me.
    You're right! A person really needs to "own" what is his ( or hers) How many of us spend years in our adulthood trying to re-discover that simple thing?
    Thanks a lot!