This past Saturday was our local Solo and Ensemble contest held by the Indiana State School Music Association. This was my 8th grader’s first time to actually take part in a judged solo contest. And, well, he got a silver rating. Of course that is not bad at all for his first time out. But not when you’re a part of a generation that has had everything given to them.
In school, rather than hurt anyone’s feelings we give all the kids awards. No longer do your kids get trophies for being the best player on the soccer team…they all get participation awards.
So my son is 13 years old and takes violin and piano private lessons and plays french horn in the school band. He is quite talented musically, in fact he is told frequently that it his gift…his God-given gift. Unfortunately, he sometimes feels that he does not need to practice because he’s ‘so good’, that’s what everyone says, right? Don’t get me wrong, he is very talented but, you know, even professional musicians practice. They practice hours upon hours.
I would tell him to go and practice and he would say that he had it, he didn’t need to practice. After a while I got tired of arguing with him and I figured that he would get what he deserved…at least, I hoped so.
After very little practice outside of his weekly lessons, he went in to play his solo. He has definitely played the piece better and you could tell that he was nervous…nothing a bit more of practice wouldn’t have solved.
Why are we so afraid of ‘hurting’ our children’s feelings? Why is it so important that our kids succeed in everything they do? Has it ever hurt anyone to fail once in awhile?
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters (Colossians 3:23 NIV)
The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops (2 Timothy 2:6)
Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:14-15 ESV)
God’s Word tells us over and again that working hard can lead to the great things He has planned for us. In epistle times, servants would serve their masters and would receive just rewards based on the outcome of their hard work. When we serve our one true Master according to the command of Christ, we serve Christ, and He will give us a glorious reward in the end.
Giving our all in everything we do is important when we are serving our heavenly father and savior, Jesus Christ. God has given us the power and ability to succeed. If we do everything we do to the best of our abilities then we have pleased our Master.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13 NIV)
With God in our corner and with a little hard work, we will receive much better than a gold rating at a Solo contest…we will receive eternal life. Am I proud of my son for his silver rating? Absolutely! Could he have done better? Absolutely! Did he learn a valuable lesson in hard work and working for the Lord? Absolutely!