Remembering to Trust

Our family is problem solving. The oven is broken so we can’t cook scones, muffins, cakes and biscuits, all those treats we really enjoy. We talked over the problem while we ate lunch.

“We do have a microwave…” I started to say. And then someone mentioned the donut maker, the toaster and the sandwich toaster. We began to
wonder what treats we could possibly cook using these bits of equipment.

“We’ll do some research this afternoon,” Imogen decided, “and then Charlotte and I will cook something for afternoon tea.”

“Don’t forget to do your music practices as well,” I said. I looked at Charlotte’s face. It had dropped to the floor.  I knew instantly I had said the wrong thing.

“Of course we’ll do our music practices,” she replied.

“Don’t we always?” added Imogen.

“I know you don’t need reminding about such things,” I said. So why did I say it? “When I was a child, I needed to be reminded. I wasn’t self-motivated. Sometimes I forget you are different.”

How often do we remind children to do things? I remember a time when I reminded Gemma-Rose to be good for me, just before I went out for the
day. She replied sadly, “Of course I’ll be good. Don’t you trust me?”

Trust? Do we really trust our children to do what they need to do? Or do we think we’d better give them a reminder ‘just in case’?

I think about how I feel when someone reminds me I have to do something when I fully intend doing it anyway. It doesn’t feel good. As an adult I get very indignant. Should we give our children the same respect we give to adults?

But what if the piano practices don’t get done? Well, maybe if a child isn’t self-motivated to practise, they might not want to learn the piano that much after all.

I have heard stories about children who learnt the piano but always had to be nagged into practising. When they grew up they thanked their poor mothers for pushing them along and making them practise.

I know that feeling of nagging a child to do something. Is it really worth doing it? I feel worn out and drained when I have to constantly push a child. I also feel at odds with that child. Our relationship comes under threat.

I think I’d rather say, “You make the decision. If you want lessons, you need to practise. If you don’t practise, maybe we should leave lessons until another time when you might feel more motivated.” Because how necessary are piano lessons or any sort of outside lessons anyway? Yes, they are a fine addition to an education. And I love to say, “All my daughters play the piano.” But that’s satisfying my need, not my children’s. Anyway, if a child changes her mind, she can always learn at a later age. It’s never too late.

So Imogen is practising the piano because she wants to, and Charlotte is researching microwave cake recipes because she wants to. We want her to as well. We’ve been missing our regular blueberry muffins and savoury scones. All of us are looking forward to afternoon tea.

And I am trying to remember not to say the wrong thing, because really I do trust my children. I do respect them as people. Just sometimes I fall back into unhelpful old habits.

PS As far as I can see there’s no way to cook pizza without an oven. Can anyone solve that problem for us? By the way, the griller isn’t working either.

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    • Vicky
    • September 19, 2012


    Can you use your barbecue, until the oven gets fixed? When our last kitchen was being renovated, we used the slow cooker and the electric grill a lot, and we had a convection microwave. Maybe, you could see what your microwave can do.

    God bless:-)

    1. Reply


      The barbeque is a great idea! Thank you. An electric grill would be so handy except we don't have one. We do have a slow cooker though. I vaguely remember you can cook cakes in them, probably very slowly! We'll just have to get the oven fixed. I am waiting for Andy to clean it. It's a disgrace! And then we'll get someone out to look at it next week during the holidays. That donut maker we wondered why we bought has just proved its worth!

    • Ellie
    • September 29, 2012

    This resonates with me a lot! One son of mine has an extraordinary gift of music. He is talented… Can play tunes by ear and even make up his own little diddies here and there. We have a piano teacher who comes in the house for lessons weekly. And she encourages the boys to practice each day. But this son of mine, Leo, hates to be told to practice. If left alone, he'll tinker around on the piano for a few minutes at a time throughout the day… not necessarily practicing his technique that he needs to, but just playing around. But the second it becomes a "chore" for him, via my mandates for practice time, he balks and resists. I wouldn't normally mind so much, but knowing that God gave him a musical gift, I feel like its our responsibility to really nurture that and train him into the discipline he will need to really make the most of his skills. Still, I don't want him to hate it so I remain only half committed to forcing the issue. Ugh. Trust, right?!

    1. Reply


      I can understand about using God's gifts. Maybe enjoying an activity is the beginning of dedication. One day your son might not be satisfied with playing around and he'll want to improve. Then he might practise. I don't know… trust is hard, isn't it? I wonder how old your son is. Maybe talents can be developed later, when a child is ready to make the commitment, rather than earlier?

      My girls are musically gifted too and are motivated to practise the piano because they are being given free tuition by a top teacher, and belong to a good musical community. They understand, at their ages, how fortunate they are. They both sing too, and perform. Performing in public is a wonderful motivator! They can really see the value of practising and doing their best.

      But my eldest daughter never practised the clarinet except when I insisted. One day I got tired of pushing her and put her clarinet away. It was some days before it even occurred to her to look for it! Then we decided she didn't have the necessary commitment to make lessons worthwhile. A couple of years later, she asked me if she could return to her clarinet lessons and this time she did very well, passing all her exams with good grades. She had a teacher who was still learning and taking his exams, one step ahead of her. He did really well too. It wasn't too late for him either.

      God bless!

  1. Reply

    These are great thoughts Sue, thank you! Leo will be 8 this month, I forget that sometimes because he's very smart too. It's hard to remember that academically he's much older than his needs are emotionally and physically!

    Later development in talents… this is a good thought to mull over.

    1. Reply


      It is good to share thoughts. Thank you for your comments!

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