Development - A ukulele song
I have two daughters who are very different. My youngest, Cassidy loves sports and is competitive. She plays basketball, softball and most recently golf. My older daughter, (by 18 months) Shelby is very passionate about theater, music and righting the wrongs of the world. I am very proud of the young adults they have become and I try to be involved in the things they enjoy.
Recently, Cassidy and I played golf at the public course in town. As we played, Cassidy became frustrated with how she was playing. I wanted to help her, but I decided to wait. My inner coach was directing my inner father to let her push through her frustration. As the round went on, I answered Cassidy’s questions and gave her a couple tips to help her, but made it a point to let her work through the frustration. By the end of the round she had a good picture of the work it would take to become better and had strung together a few good shots. She was strong, working through the round with some high scores. This is the “magic”, I thought. Resistance and struggle make you stronger, the “magic” has to be the ability to work hard, face failure and keep working.
That night at dinner, as I often do, I walked the family through my new thoughts on life. Shelby connected with what I’d said and told me it was like rehearsing for a play for weeks and getting up in front of an audience to perform. I thought for a moment, and told her “No, that’s not it”. I explained to her that sports have score boards, and no matter how hard you work, sometimes the scoreboard is going to say you lost. That’s the “magic”. You can’t argue with the scoreboard, you just have to get back to work. As Shelby’s face faded into sadness, I continued, Art is subjective it allows you to talk your way out of failure. Now it was time for my inner father to teach me something. In a few self indulgent words, I defended my theory at the expense of Shelby’s passion. I wish I could say I realized it right away and apologized, but I wasn’t aware of what an ass I was until a couple days later.
Shelby loves to sing, she plays many instruments and loves to be on stage. It has always amazed me how she can get on stage and share so honestly. Every year the high school puts on a show called Jam for Charity. Shelby, in her freshmen year, decided she would participate singing with her ukulele. The father side of me wanted to jump in and protect her, but that was my fear talking.
The auditorium was dark and filled with a few hundred students, parents and family. A spotlight turned on and there was Shelby sitting on a stool looking much older than her 15 years, beautiful and alone. She started to strum her ukulele and sing. Just her, no safety net, floating above us in the darkness. Tears were building up in my eyes as I watched and listened. She was perfect, the performance was wonderful and she pushed into fear with an incredible strength.
So, the “magic”? I think you have to meet your frustrations head on so you can grow stronger. I think you need to be honest with yourself so you can see a better way. But, I know for sure you absolutely have to pick up your ukulele and sing.