The piano was a big part of my life when I was growing up.
I got my first piano when I was six years old and practiced at least two hours a day every day for ten years. I competed in over 10 piano contests. I earned my performance diploma from the Trinity College of Music, United Kingdom at the age of 14.
Though I became pretty good at playing the piano, I have to admit I didn’t love it. I do love music but I certainly am not one of those piano geniuses that cannot live without playing the piano.
Growing up, the daily 2-hour long piano practice was a constant struggle for me. Like most kids, I wanted to go out and play with other kids instead of sitting there alone stuck in front of a piano. However, being the responsible child that I was, I didn’t want to disappoint my mother so I stayed with it.
Once in a while, when I really wanted to go out to play, I would protest and ask my mother why didn’t she play the piano when she was a kid? Her response would go something like this: “I really wanted to become a great pianist. Unfortunately my teacher told me my fingers were too short, so I had to give it up. I know you can fulfill this dream for me.”
That was a lot of pressure for a six year old.
After I came to the U.S., playing the piano became less and less important in my life. Ten moves in ten years made it difficult to own a piano, let alone keeping up with the practice. Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate the skills that I was able to build, but it just wasn’t my passion.
Still to this day, once in a while my mom calls and asks me, “Have you been practicing the piano lately?” As I mumble my answer on the phone, my mind wanders with thoughts like “I am not a child anymore …doesn’t she know that I have better things to do now? …doesn’t she know that I haven’t had a piano at home since I moved to the U.S. 14 years ago?”
It took me a long time to understand. My mother was not trying to give me pressure. She was not trying to make me feel bad. She was not trying to force me to do anything that I didn’t want to do.
Being a great pianist was one of her dreams. She wanted me to have the best and so she tried to give me the best the only way she knew how. I now see her questions as her way of expressing her best intentions and love for me.
In that new light, I am able to accept and welcome her questions, warm wishes and her love even though it may not always be the right thing for me to focus on at that moment in time. This is the understanding I want to pass on to you, the reader, that you may have a similar experience with your parents. Your parents may do something annoying or irritating to you, but if you reflect for a moment, you may realize it is really just their way of packaging how they express their care and love for you. I believe parents everywhere always have the best intentions for their children at heart.
- The Perfect 8
- You Are Just Not Good Enough
- The Story of My Mother
- What is your Dream?
- Be Extraordinary Good at Something Else
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