Jul 31, 2006

Hand-crafted children

In a post that touches on religious education and violin lessons, John Derbyshire wonders: How much influence do parents have on their children? His daughter has been studying the violin for eight years, thanks to parental pushing.

Yet I note that at age 13, she NEVER voluntarily listens to classical music. Her iPod is stuffed with bubblegum pop. She shows no signs of being proud at being in Advanced Orchestra at her school. I think she is actually a bit embarrassed about it. It's not cool, see? My guess is that after leaving home at (presumably) age 18, she will never voluntarily pick up a violin again. (An adult neighbor of ours reinforces this—she went through precisely this scenario with her parents.)

Does this make me sad? You bet. Does it vindicate your sneering? I guess it does. Still I feel I'm doing a right thing. Heck, at least the kid can read music.
My pushing my son to pursue music instruction--the piano and the trombone--did have the salutary effect of getting him into a performing arts magnet school when school was the only financially viable option. So I count that a victory.

On the religious front, who knows? Sometime during his last year of Hebrew school my son announced that after his bar mitzvah he was never entering a synagogue again. I have managed to get him in the door a couple of times since, but not without a struggle and not lately. I'll count this as a victory, too, if he ends up raising his own children as Jewish. And I'll consider it his just reward if his children raise as big a stink about either music or religion.

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