Tag Archives: music

Pot Luck!

Yesterday, I went to my boys’ annual High School Band Pot Luck Dinner. If you can imagine a high school marching band, plus the concert, symphonic and woodwind ensembles in addition to their families gathered together…let’s just say it was a bit hectic.

Years ago, Lan would have been hesitant to go, anxious and afraid. This year, not so much!

I watched as he hunted for people he knew, talked to a few friends and even managed to hustle his way through the masses to get a plate of food.

Afterwards, we moved to the stadium to watch the marching band give us a preview of their hard work.

Lan watched from the forty yard line. I am well aware that if he could, Lan would be on that band field in a heartbeat. I don’t doubt he could do well in the marching program. The problem is the time marching band consumes would wreak havoc on his academics.   DSC_0956 (2)

Lan has had to work extremely hard putting in twice the effort of the average student to come up with that B or C at the end of the semester.

Do I feel a bit guilty that he can’t march with his brother? Definitely. Especially because I know that it would bring him so much joy.

However, right now he needs to work on getting that academic balance just right. Lan has expressed a desire to go to college.

Now some people would say we are dreaming. But that’s okay. I don’t have a problem with dreams. Joseph had a dream for his future and didn’t lose hope despite years of obstacles. (ref. Genesis Chapters 37-42)

I have faith for what God can do.

And apparently Lan has faith for his future too! Just today, he mentioned that even though he likes Clemson, he is thinking about Clayton State.

When I questioned him, he told me, “Don’t hate on my choice of Clayton State,” somewhat annoyed!

Now, as my dear friend laughed and I’m thinking to myself “just who does this kid think he’s talking too?”  I almost miss the point that Lan is giving college more and more thought!

I have dreams for my kids, but our dreams and their reality aren’t necessarily one in the same. Yet, I am proud that Lan isn’t letting anyone, including me, deter him from what he envisions for his future.

Thankfully, we don’t have to rely on luck when thinking about the future. Faith is far more dependable! DSC_1084 (3)

Lan continues to surprise people. Including me.

Who knows what the next two years of high school will bring? Lan may very well find himself performing on that field after all.

And if he does, I’m confident luck will nothing to do with it.

“But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” Hebrews 11:6 KJV

Advertisements

Let the Music Play!

As parents and caregivers of kids on the spectrum or any special need, we are often motivated, guided, or pushed toward focusing on those target skills our kids are lacking. We are often caught up in therapies, tutoring or trying to catch up to whatever norm “they” deem deficient in our children.

How different would our kid’s lives be if we could instead focus on their positives instead of always trying to compensate for those things regarded as negatives?

My youngest has generally struggled with school. He works hard. Really, really hard just to pass his classes which is especially frustrating as his older brother excels in school. Lan was very disappointed when his brother and childhood friends were off to the Magnet school and he simply could not join them.

However, Lan does have a talent for music in which his brother has been unable to best him. Both boys play piano along with other instruments. Yet, Lan has been gifted with “perfect pitch” something most musicians would love to have. Unlike other things that are difficult for him, anything musical comes much easier with a joy that surprisingly spreads to the people around him.

I started Lan in piano lessons as my version of occupational therapy. When he began writing in preschool, his fingers weren’t quite as strong as they should be. Piano lessons strengthened fingers that struggled to hold a pencil. Best of all, Lan enjoyed the lessons. Now, these same fingers draw intricate cartoon characters with very little effort. By focusing on what he could do, the door opened for another talent to emerge as well!DSC_7293 (2)

The more I hear incredible stories about so many kids on the spectrum and their thoughts, gifts and talents; the more I believe that everyone has something to give. Some people bring positive qualities out in others. Then there are others also on the spectrum blessed with things us “neurotypicals” can only dream of, skills or talents that often amaze and leave others speechless.

If only the time we spend during the school year striving to meet “goals” designated by other people, (I’m still trying to figure out who they are) could be used to cultivate those gems that lie dormant within, I wonder how many “atypicals” could more positively impact our world?

There are people whose gifts go unearthed because as a society we don’t prioritize searching those talents out. Instead we hammer people to conform.

I’ve seen a few miracles in the health care realm. I’m optimistic I’ll see many more with God’s grace and His power. The advances in science and technology lead me to believe there is so much more yet unseen. But we have to look for it!

So until “they” decide to focus on the person and not on an arbitrary set of goals and “normal” is designated for the individual instead of the masses, I will continue to encourage kids to search out and nurture the talents God gave them.  DSC_1350 (2)

If we don’t make searching out God’s gifts within our kids a priority, if we don’t build them up so they can unearth the beauty within and give them a sense of pride in what they can do instead of continually emphasizing what they can’t…who will?

As for me and my crew, we will continue to let the music play.

“The LORD [is] my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.” Psalms 28:7 NKJV 

  

 

Perfect Pitch!

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