Maddy slid open the van door and threw her piano books on the floor so hard they scattered across the gray carpet. “I’m quitting piano.”
"What?" I glanced in the rearview mirror at my ten-year-old daughter, piano prodigy extraordinaire.
"I messed up." Giant tears hit first, heavy sobs lagging only a second behind. "I practiced all week." She sunk in the seat, yanked on the belt, and clicked the buckle in place. "And it was hard."
“I get it,” I said. “You put in the time and effort and you wanted her to tell you what a great job you did and how fabulous the piece sounded.”
“I wanted a sticker.” She sniffed and kicked the back of the seat. “A sticker means I played it perfect.”
Do you ever have moments like that? I do.
Aiming to be the best at what I do, I slave at something, put in the hours, forgo other activities, with the hope that my hard work will pay off. I want the validation. I want the pat on the back. I want the sticker. And it kills me when I don’t get it.
Questions plague me. Why? What did I do wrong? How could it have been better? The failure eats me up inside, crushes my heart, kills my motivation. And sometimes the failure, even the near miss to perfection, hurts so bad, so deep, so much that quitting feels the right thing to do.
With great passion comes great pain. The frustration and hurt when I fail is the other side of the greatness of success. And if I rid myself of one, I lose the other.
It’s my passion that makes me shine. My passion that sets me apart. My passion that pushes me to compete against myself and strive to do better every single time. It’s my passion that makes me who I am.
Here’s the rest of the conversation from the van.
“Maddy, if you didn't get so upset about the mistakes, you wouldn't push yourself so hard to be better.”
“What do you mean?” She crossed her arms and sniffed.
“The thing that makes you hurt so much inside when you don't get it right, is the thing that makes you great when you finally master the piece. Hate piano today. Quit until the morning, And tomorrow take a deep breath, get back on the bench, and let your fingers fly across the keys because you are amazing.”
Passion and pain. What do you think?
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About Lori Freeland
Lori Freeland, a freelance writer from the Dallas area, holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In her other life, the one BK—before kids—she has worked as a social worker and a certified dyslexic reading tutor. Currently, she embraces her status as full-time homeschool mom to three awesome children. Her big dream? Becoming a Young Adult novelist, a goal she diligently pursues during the wee hours of the morning with help from a very large mug of coffee and occasionally some chocolate-covered peanuts. In addition to blogging and contributing regular inspirational articles to Crosswalk.com, The Christian Pulse, and Believe.com, she loves to mentor new writers and encourage people to share their life stories. As a member of the Cancer Mom club, she desires to connect with others in hopes of giving support to those struggling down the messy paths of life. You can find her hanging with the North Texas Christian Writers as a Critique Group Leader and Writing Coach or cheering on her writers on the Faith Team at The Christian Pulse where she recently took on the role of editor. She also loves to attend Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators meetings where she has begun a critique workshop for new writers. You can visit her website at LAFREELAND.COM.
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