About two years ago, we discovered that my youngest son has something called “perfect pitch.” He can essentially hear any note played on any instrument and tell you exactly what that note is.
Now this may not be the most “practical” gift a person could have but it is one nonetheless. In fact, my concentration on what he didn’t have nearly blinded me to what he does have.
We were in a music store looking into trombone lessons a couple of years ago when Lan began talking with one of the salespeople which was a rarity in itself. Somehow or another, an instrument was played and Lan stated the correct note in response. The salesman began playing different instruments to see if Lan could continuously give the correct answer. He explained that Lan has “perfect pitch.”
Lan’s “talent” is now somewhat of a novelty with his fellow students in band class. The kids take turns playing various instruments and notes to see if they can stump him. So far no one has. It is something he is good at and it gives him pride and confidence I hadn’t seen before.
I admit I pushed Lan toward his musical inclinations. Not that he doesn’t love music, but my motives were deeper than that. I started him in piano lessons to strengthen his hands. This was my answer to out-of-pocket occupational therapy expenses. Lan was unable to grasp a pencil firmly and write legibly like his classmates. I figured piano lessons would not only strengthen his fingers and develop dexterity but stimulate his brain as well. Coordinating the notes he read on paper to the activity of his fingers would be a great mental exercise.
It would take the music teacher and me roughly two years before we realized Lan was rarely reading the notes! He can read music however we learned (slowly) that Lan has to only hear a simple melody once before he can play it on the piano. The joke was on us!
Sometimes in life we pay so much attention to what we don’t have, we miss out on what we do have. In my case, I was trying to develop certain skills in my child and focused so intently on that goal I was nearly oblivious to his emerging musical talents. I now encourage his musical pursuits not to facilitate a goal but because music is something in which he can succeed and enjoy.
Lately Lan has mentioned a desire to play the trumpet. I suspect the piano and trombone have become boring. I will indulge his musical pursuits with the appreciation that for him, music is more than a pastime but rather a way that he can express himself and do it well.
I’m glad my eyes are now open to what he can do instead of fixated on what he cannot do. Now, if only I had this revelation all the time.
I will encourage Lan to nurture his gifts, not based on practicality but rather instead because God blessed him with those things.
Each of us lacks certain talents for sure, yet we probably possess so many more if only we would have eyes to see…
“And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability,” Matthew 25:15 NKJV