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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lessons Learned…

From The Heel-Digging-In-Place Called “I Can’t”

“There’s no way. This song is just too hard to play. I could never learn it.” The student was overwhelmed.
“Yes, you can. One note at a time you will learn it. You must learn it, because your choir director needs you to play it. I will help you.” The teacher believed.  
So began the arduous work of learning the piano accompaniment for Beethoven’s Halleluia Chorus from The Mount Of Olives, a brilliant, stunning, powerful, but outrageously challenging piece of music for this extremely ordinary high school junior piano student. Time. Patience. Encouragement. Commitment. Tears more than once. Then, at last, in the nick of time, accomplishment. I could. I did.
Fast-forward thirty-five years.
“There’s no way. The Gettysburg Address is way too long. We could never learn it.” The students were overwhelmed.
“Yes, you can. One word at a time. One phrase at a time. You must learn it, all of you, because it’s in the script. I will help you.” The teacher believed.  
Of course they learned the Gettysburg Address. Of course they could. Of course they did.

“I can’t” can be an insurmountable hurdle, a place where effort becomes paralyzed by doubt and fear of failure. Words of encouragement whispered optimistically, sincerely, and frequently from the heart of a “yes, you can” believer, a teacher, who promises to train alongside and then run alongside all the way, provide the impetus of hope that ignites the spark of a willingness to try. Encouragement believes. Encouragement inspires. Encouragement motivates. Encouragement energizes. Encouragement says “yes,” and more often than not, it is all that we need to move beyond “I can’t.” Have you been an encourager today?