This week my focus was to share some things I’ve learned with other people. I was thinking of doing some tutoring or maybe teaching ESL, but things worked out a little closer to home… and I actually ended up being the student.
I started by putting out my intention to tutor in a Facebook status update. My sister-in-law, Vicki, responded to my post and invited me to their home to help my nieces with their piano lessons. When I came by the next day, they had already been hard at work, practicing to show me what they’d learned.
They were so adorable. I spent some time with each of them individually and shared some things about rhythm, tempo, and reading music after they played me their pieces. I was impressed by how hard they tried to do it just right, but they were also humble and willing to learn when I corrected them.
After we went through their piano pieces, we sat down to a delicious dinner that Vicki (who is pregnant with their sixth child) prepared. My brother, Andrew, came home and all the kids rushed to give him a hug. There was such a spirit of love in their home and it tugged on my heart strings a little.
Sometimes, living a single life, it’s easy for me to get caught up in my own head. My problems, my goals, my needs, my schedule all take center stage. It’s such a different reality with a family. There’s no place for a selfish agenda. The rules all change. Being the youngest (by several years) in a family of six has given me the chance to learn as I watch how my siblings parent and how they interact with their spouses. And their kids are such examples to me.
For instance, that night, they taught me the joy of living in the moment… that it’s awesome to finish dinner, turn on the music, and have a spontaneous dance party in the living room. That it’s safe to let go of inhibitions and be authentic. They showed me that when someone crosses my boundaries, it’s okay to get upset and show that I’m hurt. But I can let it go and play with them again when the problem is resolved. They extended unconditional love and acceptance and made me feel like the most exciting and fun thing they could possibly be doing at that moment was being with me. What an amazing way to treat a person.
The rest of the week turned out to be a difficult one for me emotionally… but starting it off with my family helped so much with perspective. I’m thankful that they were willing to have me in their home to teach, but more importantly, to offer me the chance to learn.