My Little Ferdinand

My daughter plays an instrument in our city orchestra. There are essentially four main levels. She is in the second to the bottom level. This group played with the top level. In the program was a girl who won a competition in the orchestra. She plays the piano and the cello. She speaks four languages. She is in the same grade as my daughter.

In spite of myself, I felt disappointment in my own child. Her motivation to play waxes and wanes. When she is wanting to play and is practicing, as should be expected, she improves considerably. But the times between when she isn’t so interested are frequent. I thought I had let go of any ego related to this, yet in my envy of this other child, and disappointment in my own, I realize that I have most certainly not let go of ego related to this.

On the one hand I feel almost sorry for these dog and pony show children, like those of that Tiger Mom woman. Gag. We push our children toward our cultural versions of success so early. What do they gain? Do we really buy them security? Do we hand them happiness? I can’t say for sure, only in my heart I doubt it. I have purposefully tried to guide my older daughter without pushing, but she generally lacks motivation to do much except infrequently. The best descriptor of my daughter is that she is Ferdinand the Bull. She would be happiest sitting in a field chewing clover flowers and sniffing the wind. She is not Type A. She is not much motivated. She would like to knit and sing and play horse games on her phone. She is like a little fairy. She is not an engine striving striving striving for the top awards, playing two instruments while learning multiple languages. She has never been that child; she will never be that person. And I’m cool with it. I love how she is. I love who she is. Yes, she drives me batty sometimes when she is languishing about when things really do have to be done, but I believe in the long run she will be the happier person.

So why is it that I felt that twinge of disappointment? Has my culture seeped so far into my bones that even when I can say without equivocation that the western Type A version of success is not what I want for anyone in my family, I would still be disappointed in my little Ferdinand?

I don’t know the answer to this. I have no clue. It just is what it is, I guess.

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