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To Quit or To Endure

Posted Aug 26 2008 4:40pm

I was reading about a mother's stressful experience getting her young child to study music. She expressed how her child would not sit still during the lesson, be disruptive or just plainly not listen to what's being taught. Getting the child to practice is another battle.

Reading about her experience I wondered, why not just call it quits in the music lesson? Seems like unnecessary stress to me.

But then I remembered a story related by my friend, on how she 'suffered' in pushing her uninterested, lazy son to learn music... and now her son is happy to have persevered as he makes a tidy sum giving violin lessons. However, she also has another daughter that was pushed to finish her piano lessons, and after finishing her grade 8, she didn't bother to touch the piano anymore.

So what kind of parent are you? Would you push your children to do something they didn't like?

Here are two sides to the argument:

  1. You know it is good for them e.g. the acquisition of knowledge and skill, the discipline etc.... You are the parent and know better. They will thank you in the future. Suffer now but they will reap the benefits later. You want to teach them not to quit halfway, that they must finish what they start.

  2. It is tooo stressful, for you and for them. You are tired of the screaming and the nagging. You wonder if you are doing the right thing by 'forcing' them to do something they don't like. You'd hate it if someone did the same to you. You don't want to create a hatred or aversion to learning. Plus, if they don't enjoy and have no interest in the activity, what are they actually learning?
I was fortunate to have parents that didn't push me to do things I didn't like. I too had taken piano lessons when younger but decided to quit after my grade 5 exam. I can still tinker on the piano. I admit I'm glad to have been given the opportunity to study music. If I was given a second chance, I still will quit at grade 5 :) Hahahahah.

I believe that many times, the decisions we make as parents are guided by the things we had or didn't have. For example, you didn't learn Mandarin when you were younger and regret now that you don't know how to speak the language, even though you are Chinese. Therefore, you make a vow that you will "make" your children learn Mandarin whether they like it or not.

Our past experiences makes us 'wiser' than our children, however it may also be a tool that can do a lot of damage. I'm sure you've heard of parents trying to live their dreams through their children? On one hand you are here to guide them but on the other hand, you also need to give them freedom to live their life.

Anyway, write in and let me know your views on this. Would you or wouldn't you push your child to do something that you think is important, but they think is 'boring', 'waste-of-time', 'uninteresting', 'not-my-cup-of-tea' etc.... When should you endure and when should you quit?

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