Learning to let the kid take the lead.
This past Saturday was the annual tribute concert in honor of my late first husband, Tony Cavagnaro. Tony was a fixture on the local music scene in Rochester, NY for the 19 year I knew him. He played in all kinds of bands from heavy metal to nerd rock to world beat. He taught dozens of kids how to play guitar and mentored and encouraged all sorts of musicians.
His final band, The Buddhahood, and scores of other friends have been coming together every year since he died to put on an amazing birthday tribute show. Not only is it a great opportunity to see some of the best musicians in town, it’s an opportunity for the musicians to connect and form new projects and alliances.
This year, our son was able to join in on the music making for the first time. He’s been playing clarinet for school, and he decided that he’d like to share a song he wrote called “For da Hood.” His dad’s band mates encouraged him to get his instrument out while we visited backstage and he had a chance to jam with some of the guys with whom his dad used to play.
It was so cool to hear him play for the first time without playing the role of the taskmaster who tallies his practice sessions. In this new environment, I could really appreciate that he gets the rhythm of the stuff he plays. That he enjoys fooling around with the instrument to see what he can make it do. And that he could play a new song in time with someone calling out the notes to him. It was so great to be able to take a moment away from the project management of parenting and just enjoy watching what he can do.
And of course he made everyone misty-eyed when he took the stage to play his piece, even ‘tho he was wearing a lobster costume at the time!
On Sunday, our church, Brockport Unitarian UniversalistFellowship, had a congregational meeting to come up with some goals and action plans for our group. Figuring it would be a lengthy meeting I asked the kiddo to pack some games and his iPod in order to keep himself and his friends entertained with the grown-ups did the work of figuring out goals for our church.
By the time we got ready to break into brainstorming groups, the other kids had all headed home and the iPod had died. I franticly scanned the bookshelf for a new distraction, only able to secure a children’s book on any fourth-grader’s favorite topic – secular humanism. I started to think we weren’t going to be able to make it through much of the meeting, but I figured I could maybe eke out one more cup of coffee’s worth of planning, so I went to get a refill.
By the time I came back, the kiddo had already lead the membership brainstorming group to establish their first action item, and he went on to come up with several more good ideas. Sure, some of them centered around building a VEX robot that would walk the streets of town with a sign advertising our church, but others were a bit more practical and a lot less expensive. Yet another sign that I don’t always need to be the manager around here.
Thanks to Rocpic.com for the January Thaw picture.