One of the life lessons I think is so important to our youth and to many young adults today has to be perseverance. I had almost decided against actually defining the word for y'all, but I like it too much so here it is - "perseverance - steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success". I think almost any challenge in our lives can be managed through perseverance. Yet it’s not a natural quality. We are not naturally born with the gift of perseverance. It’s not even really encouraged in our society anymore. But in spite of this, the old adage attributed to Andrew Carnegie "anything worth having is worth working for" is true. If it was easy everyone would do it. More and more though, I find that people aren’t willing to put in the extra effort when things get tough. Perseverance is not gained by walking down an easy road. Only when we come across some kind of adversity or obstacle can we really learn how to persevere. This lesson is never learned beforehand either, it’s always learned in the middle of the "doing". Sometimes in this regard, I think we play too much to our kids natural strengths and allow them to do those things that are easy for them because of natural ability. But there will still come a time when they discover that this thing they want to do will require work. And when that day comes, things start to get difficult and then they want to quit.
As you might imagine this happens in the music studio a lot. Students come for singing lessons because they love to sing to the radio, at church or just in general. What they don’t count on is the amount of work it takes to really work and develop their instrument - their voice.
- It takes work to breathe correctly, to enunciate words, and to communicate the words with attention to phrasing.
- It takes work to color their phrases with dynamic contrast and accents on the right words.
- It takes work to count out beats and plan their breathing for their entrances and exits.
- It takes work to learn a song in a genre they are unfamiliar with or dislike.
So naturally a little while into voice lessons, their gets to be a lag. They need persistence to push themselves to excel and to get to the next level.
This lesson was very apparent with even my own child. When she first started to play the piano, she did really well, just like most other students seem to do. Of course, the inevitable plateau occurs and she began to feel like she wasn’t good at the piano because she had to work at it. Where does this idea come from? Is our society so programmed to believe that unless it comes easily, we aren’t any good and shouldn’t work at it? Needless to see I could see she needed lessons in perseverance. She also needed a new teacher - but that’s another whole blog post of its own!
This isn’t just a problem with our children though, it’s even something we adults encounter frequently. Not too long ago, as I was working on finishing my very first book proposal, I looked at my husband and said “This is hard work!” His instant reply “Well if it was easy, I guess everybody would be doing it!” And it’s true - the things that we really want most in life, whatever they may be, will require effort, and desire, and a whole lot of perseverance. But the desire accomplished is SWEET to the soul - even Proverbs validates this. The things we appreciate the most, are the things we have worked the hardest for.
Don’t give up.
Stay the Course.
Enjoy the sweet taste of victory!