Today I am feeling nostalgic. Because circumstances were such that I have had to miss teaching my Kindermusik classes for TWO weeks in a row – the first time in 22 years that I can recall that happening – I am missing my students!
After what was to be a quick trip to my hometown to help my ailing, (but still amazing), parents, I determined I needed to extend my stay. Blessed to have grown up in Daytona Beach, Florida, one block away from the ocean, I have had a couple of chances, while here, to take early morning walks on the beach. I relish those opportunities, and those walks always seem to bring out a time of reflection, contemplation, and gratitude. My walks of recent have been no exception.
I can’t help but peruse and collect shells that have washed up on the beach when I walk. For every 100 or more that are in pieces or cracked, there is one beautiful, whole shell, complete with perfect, symmetrical groves, stark, varied colors, and some with a little “threading hole” that we often used to string them into necklaces when I was a kid. I began to ask myself a series of questions, like “How did this one make it to shore so unflawed,” “What causes that perfect little hole at its point,” “How can the color of one be so pure white, and the next be dark grey, or terra cotta in color?” My ultimate answer, besides the obvious account of the miracles of God’s creations, was that these flawless shells are the ones that, for some reason, had the best chance of survival; they caught the tide just right, started out before the surf was rough, had the thickest shells, hid in seaweed as travel protection, etc. In short, they are the privileged ones!
For whatever reason, perhaps that I was holding close to my heart and missing my students, an analogy immerged in my mind about the “best and brightest” shells and our Kindermusik kids, who also grow to be, I believe, among the best and brightest kids “out there.” Among our 2016 graduates class, who are just a short 8 weeks away from completing their Kindermusik journey, many have been coming through the doors of our studio since infancy, for up to seven years! They have been “invested in,” if you will, by dedicated parents, who have committed to financially supporting their journey in music education, who have brought them to class each week, made musical interaction at home a priority, and invested in by a dedicated, e staff, who, like me, believe that our joint investment in these children from early on will have an impact for their entire lives in profound ways. We are growing hearts for music, it is true, but we are also growing minds – literally growing brains – for future use. These kids are not unlike the miracle shells – they have found a groove, surfed the tides, and embarked on the waves of music, and in doing so, will find their “way to shore” as miraculous beings, with shining, great formations, and they are shaped to serve as a contribution to their homes, their schools, their athletic teams, their music ensembles, their churches, their communities and to our society at large. As our favorite marketing tag line articulates “a good beginning never ends.” Corny though it sounds, I believe it with all my heart! And I have realized that I need to do a better job of letting these budding miracles, at six and seven years old, KNOW how special they are because of their early start in music and their parents and teacher’s commitments to them. That will be a priority on my return. I have gathered shells for each of them, as a special gift, and a token to accompany the story I will try to relay in a way that young children can understand and embrace. In short, I want them to know how special they are. Not that all children aren’t special, mind you, but some just have been blessed to “make it to shore” unscathed, and as empowered, privileged sparkling “shells.” That is my wish for EVERY child we serve at Music Connections! And my heart’s desire is that our Foundation grows to enable more and more kids to “swim the tides” of music with us!
Here’s a poem/song I have in the works:
Like the waves upon the ocean
Like the shells upon the shore
You are strong and so empowered
To take flight with so much more
With an early start in music
And a song within your heart
You will swim and soar and settle
Make a difference from the start