I retract Fact: 6.
It is best shared in voices between friends.
Today I wanted to skip a saxophone lesson because I was not prepared for it. It has been two weeks since my last lesson, and in those two weeks not once did I assemble Brubeck (my saxophone) and practice.
Granted, I'm a beginner player who lives in a small home with disciplined, proficient musicians who are, also, college and post-graduate students. And granted, I'm back in college full-time to finish my undergraduate degree after many years of my highest mental priority being to get 10 hours of sleep a night. But still, I had time, had I wanted to use it for practice. I was embarrassed to go to my lesson unprepared and disappointed with myself for neglecting opportunity.
The good news is that my teacher, Mr. Alex Fields, is an excellent musician, a professional teacher of students, and a caring Christian man. He was patient in his spirit toward me and spent the lesson listening to me "practice." Today he taught me how to practice—he keeps teaching me how to practice. This lesson time was a combination of useful suggestions that will make practicing more effective and MUSICAL to do. Isn't that nice.
I don't think I mentioned that private music lessons for the non-major requires five hours of practice a week. I have missed A LOT of preparation on my instrument. Gonna keep learning and do my best to fulfill this week's required time. I'd love to exceed it, but first things first: MEET THE REQUIREMENTS.
I felt incompetent to mother my first child entering adolescence. To feel as though I was losing my child and failing sounds cruel and terribly selfish as I've described it below, but it was a time I didn't expect. Inexperience is inexperience.
When my older daughter was about 12, she had grown into a person I no longer recognized. She was herself, but I didn't recognize her as this "older" self, and I didn't like her. She was foreign to me. I tried to accept by fact that This Is My Daughter, though I didn't feel drawn to her at all. I didn't know what to do about it. I was frustrated and easily agitated by this "stranger" who used to by my daughter. For over a month, I wrestled with trying to make peace of my feelings. I finally took the matter to God, and told Him that I didn't know this person in my house, and worse, I didn't think I liked her. God did the most beautiful thing for me the day I prayed. He prompted me to tuck her in and kiss her goodnight, like I used to do. I did, and as I looked at my daughter, God showed me my baby in her face. I recognized her again, and all that original Mother love welled over into relief, and joy that I loved—and knew—this child of mine. She is grown now, and we are friends. I praise God today, remembering again that beautiful answer to my heart when she was 12.
Anger grows up, too.
My daughters were born 17 months apart. They were toddlers when I felt intense anger and impatience overcoming my emotions toward them. I feared I would harm them and immediately picked up the phone and called my mother. She gave me perspective, understanding, and offered encouragement to commit the matter in prayer to God. When we hung up, I asked the Living God to remove the intense anger from my emotions toward my children. God did. I didn't realize He had answered my prayer until about two weeks later, when it dawned on me that I had not felt that dangerous anger come over me again. I praised God then, and I thank Him now for answering my prayer as a young mother.