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Monday, May 23, 2011

The Master Teacher

Dear Friend S,

Bumping into you at church today was way too short for me.  I wanted to invite you to my student's upcoming piano recital, but it all happened so fast.  It does sound like you have a busy week anyways, but I wanted you to know that you are still invited.  I know how much you love children and watching all of their accomplishments.  They are so smart, much more than adults ever give them credit.

With the piano recital coming up, I have been thinking and reflecting.  I love my students and the time we have together in our lessons.  They have made so much progress over the past few months.  I love presenting new concepts and musical ideas to them and watching their "aha" moments as they understand and master them.  I love when they surprise me and completely exceed higher than my expectations (which are high to begin with).  Sometimes they make me cry.  Sometimes it is tears of joy during their lesson (which I never let them see) or when I burst with pride telling Husband or my mom.  Sometimes it is tears of sorrow as I watch potential and talent go to waste, because the student does not understand the capabilities that they have, or I know my teaching has not been the best it could be to help their growth.

One thing I have decided.  I could make triple the amount of money, if I tweaked how I charged my tuition.

I should just charge a fee for when a student says, "This is hard."  I hear that SO much.  Way too much.

Sometimes, the comment is valid, because I truly am asking the student to work on something really difficult and at a higher level than their current skill level (and I empathize).  Most times, the comment is just an excuse because the student is unwilling to put out a little effort, and figure it out.  They want to just be able to do the scale, the song, the fingering, the rhythm, etc.  They do not want to WORK.  They want it easy.  I am the teacher.  I know the progression that I want them to make.  I know the order I want them to learn things (to actually make it easiest for them to succeed).  I know what they will become, because I see the potential in them.  I just need them to believe a little in themselves, trust me, and recognize that they just need to TRY, keep going, and not give up.  I sit and mentally roll my eyes, just waiting for them to stop complaining and start working.  Often times they do not see their progress or understand, but I do, and get really excited after they have mastered something, even if it was really small, because it is all part of perfecting their piano abilities.

Ahhhh.  I can't wait for the recital!!!!

I have one more story for you....you really breezed by me fast today.

This past week, I was supposed to go Visiting Teaching, but something came up and I needed to stay home with my family.  I needed to call my visiting teaching companion, but I could not find the paper anywhere that had her phone number on it.  I thought of other people I could call that might know her number.  The only ones that I knew who would be home at that time do not speak English well.  I tried to look up her number in the directory on the internet, and it was unlisted.  Due to the circumstances, and being tired and stressed, I started to panic.  I kept imagining how the phone conversation would go, me trying to communicate in English with almost no Spanish, and these ladies trying to communicate to me in Spanish with almost no English.  Without seeing them face to face I was afraid we would not be able to figure things out, and I always imagined the phone call ending with me hanging up in tears.  (I guess I am still traumatized a little from my talk last Sunday.)  I finally was able to call K. A. who didn't know the person that I needed to reach, but her husband did, so she called him, ALL FOR ONE PHONE NUMBER.  (Everything did turn out okay.)

At this point I remember saying out loud, "This is hard" while I thought about all that I was being asked to do right now.  Serving in the Spanish Branch, Girl's Camp, Youth Conference, and my upcoming piano recital (yeah, I dropped the marathon a long time ago) all are happening and taking a toll on my family.

As I sulked, my mind wandered to my piano students, and I realized that I am just like them.

My comment might be valid, because I truly am being asked to serve with a very high capacity, more than I have ever been asked to before.......but I definitely want it easy.  I sometimes don't want to put out a little effort, and figure it out on my own.  I want Heavenly Father to tell me what to do.  I don't want to have to figure it out.  I just want to be able to enjoy myself at Girl's Camp, or watch the finished Youth Conference performance.  I don't always want to WORK.  Heavenly Father is the master teacher.  He knows the eternal progression that He wants me to make.  He knows the order that I should learn things (to actually make it easiest to succeed).  God knows what I will become, because He sees the potential in ME.  He just needs me to believe a little in myself, trust Him, and recognize that I just need to TRY, keep going, and not give up.  He patiently waits for me to stop complaining and start working.  Often times I do not see my progress or understand, but Heavenly Father does, and He gets really excited after I have mastered something, even if it was really small, because it is all part of perfecting myself preparing to live with Him again.

Now there's a lot to think to think about.  Husband says these thoughts remind him of the popular story about the currant bush by Hugh B. Brown.  That reminded me that Elder Christofferson also mentioned that story in his most recent Conference talk.  Not exactly the same, but similar.

God is patient.  God is kind.  He loves me.

Your friend,
Lindsay

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