Friday, February 27, 2009

A Child's Lenten Discipline




My daughter surprised me yesterday. She had her Note Speller out and was putting little sticky notes on every page. This is something that her piano teacher usually does to mark pages in her theory book that need to be completed before the next lesson. When I asked her what she was doing, she said, "I want to finish this Note Speller for my lenten discipline. "

"O.K.," I said, almost speechless.

First, I know how much she hates the theory part of music practice (I did too, by the way). She likes learning piano by ear much more than learning to read the notes on the page. This week's material to practice featured a piece with lots of sharps and flats, and she hated it. She learned it, but she also memorized it so that she doesn't have to read the notes on the page.

Second, I didn't know that she had been contemplating either giving something up or taking something on for lent. Of course, we recognize the season of lent in our house. We live with an Episcopal priest. We sang our "alleluias" at Mardi Gras the night before Ash Wednesday. We wore ash crosses on our foreheads Wednesday evening. She still had hers on her forehead and had to wipe it off before school on Thursday. At the end of lent, Holy week will take over our house and schedule.

Lent is not something we avoid. But, I didn't know that she would use the words "lenten discipline" to describe her own spiritual practices. "Lenten discipline" is something her father would say.

I'm proud of my daughter for identifying something that is truly difficult for her and for committing to tackling it through discipline. After talking with her, there is no doubt in my mind that completing her Note Speller is a spiritual task even if we may not understand exactly why.


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3 comments:

Carrie Bevell Partridge said...

That is so great! We learn so much and are challenged by our children so often, aren't we?

Jen said...

I pulled up your blog as I sat at the dining room table while Charlie did his note speller. He and Mary Emerson are kindred spirits in their approach to learning music...

Bryan Owen said...

I'm so proud of our daughter! Wow!