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The Season of Patience

As you feel fall wrap its frosty arms around you, the word patience comes to mind – patience to endure the winter ahead; patience in the wait for spring; patience in remembering that flowers sleeping underground will once again brighten your lives with their presence.

There is a story Dr. Suzuki was fond of telling. He said we must have patience with our children as a gardener has patience waiting for flowers to emerge in spring. Suzuki said if we pull up the plant to examine its growth, the plant would not thrive.

When I first started raising orchids, I felt very impatient. As a gardener, I was used to buying plants ready to bloom, putting them in the ground and soon enjoying their flowers. Orchids have a cycle of one leaf and one flower spike per year. They have one growing time and one flowering time. I was anxious to see the flowers. I stared at my plants every day thinking I could will them into growing faster. In doing so, I often mistook a root for a flower spike. But, I learned as I became willing to wait out the cycle for the beauty of the blossoms. I looked forward to each new leaf in summer which meant a spike would follow in early winter. To see what it becomes in February is truly worth the wait!  The gentle spray of a white phaleanopsis is beyond compare. They come at a time when we are weary of the cold and slush of winter, when spring is not yet ready to unfold her palette of color and warmth. The wait for the flowers is insignificant compared to their beauty.

So it is with our children when they are learning a musical instrument. Our patience at each small step is crucial to their development and esteem. We must not “pull them up by the roots” so to speak to continually check their progress. We must remember the process is what is important. How did your child get to the place he is today? As Suzuki parents you have been bathed in the philosophy of “all children can learn” and “man is the son of his environment.” Both of these sayings carry great joy as well a responsibility for you as a parent. The child learns willingly when the environment, like the soil, is enriched with praise and care. Cultivation, even in inclement weather is often necessary for the optimum growth of our plants. Much of parenting feels like gardening in forty degree temperatures with rain. But, the outcome later in the season is well worth the effort.

By now, those of you who have committed yourselves to the Suzuki method for music lessons have figured out that the music lessons are only a part of the benefit. Isn’t it amazing how Suzuki figured out how he could use playing a musical instrument to develop the character of a child? Along with that, he would give parents the opportunity to nurture their children in a way that makes the family system stronger than ever.

I am grateful for every parent who takes the challenge of participating in Suzuki education. It is a way of strengthening you, your child, your family and your teacher. Please remember when the “temperature plummets” in your music lesson, there is “spring” coming. The nurturing and love you provide will go deep into the roots of your child who will present you with a life that is enriched and beautiful for all to see.

Lamar Blum
(November, 2002)


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