Middle got to have a lesson with her Grandpa Bjork on Saturday. It was fun to watch, and fun to be the practicing parent for the day, instead of the teacher. Middle absolutely glowed--she was proud to be working with Grandpa and proud to display her new skills.
My favorite part of the lesson was when, after working with her on loosening up her thumb at the neck of the violin, he had her ask me to help her work on it at home. After having her repeat after him, "Will you please help me work on my thumb?" he said, "Now what do you say when somebody agrees to help you? You say thank you. Your mom has a lot of things to do, but she takes the time to practice with you, too, so you need to thank her."
Now it's always nice when someone acknowledges the sacrifices I make as a mother. But the really beautiful point here was that in learning violin my daughter is the beneficiary of something valuable. Her role as a violin student isn't about consumerism or slavery. She is a participant in her own education, with the emphasis placed on the value of that education--it is a gift of which she is a grateful recipient.
Education is a gift. Now I know firsthand it doesn't always feel like that for the people involved. My children often feel put-upon to do things they don't want to do (like practice, or do math, or learn cursive, or even brush their teeth) and I often feel like a prison guard making sure they do all these thtings. But keeping in mind that it is an honor and a blessing to be able to partake in education (and fluoride) can help us take a longer view of these things. We're working on it, anyway!
So how can you cultivate an attitude of thankfulness? Better yet, how can you cultivate an attitude of thankfulness without lecturing or preaching?