Trying Not to Live Vicariously


On the way home from a meeting last night the local PBS radio show was playing classical music.  In particular, they played a piano sonata by Franz Schubert.  Listening to it whisked me in my memories back to my childhood.  My mother had been a concert pianist in college and although she decided to be a wife and a mother instead of a professional pianist, she frequently played in our home as I grew up.

When I was my son’s age, I asked my mother to teach me how to play.  She gladly sat down with me and gave me instructions for lesson one.  I never followed through though, she didn’t push me, and I never learned to play.  It is one of my true regrets in life.

Now, the temptation is for me to now make my own children make up for my mistake.  How easy it would be for me to send one or both to piano lessons.  I could so rationalize that at their age, they have no idea whether they would appreciate it or not later on.  I could force them to do it.

But I won’t force this on them.  I do tell them that it would please me greatly if they learned how to play an instrument.  But that is as far as I go with it. Too often as a parent I attend dance recitals, musical recitals, or especially sporting events and  I can’t tell you how many times I see parents who are far more into the events than the children.  I promised myself long ago that I wouldn’t be “that parent” (you know the one who coaches with a little too much enthusiasm or who gets way too upset at a missed shot or move?).

We cannot go back in time.  Our kids have to learn on their own to a large degree and I hope mine to have their own genuine experiences that come from their hearts.  But I do hope they don’t pass through these years wishing they had done something they could have.  So, I watch them closely, encourage them, and only nudge them when I think I am doing it for their good, not mine.

And my life, after all, is not exactly over.  Who knows, maybe one day I will still take piano lessons.

What do you think?

Until next time,



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