My youngest child will start middle school in one week. Gone are the days of elementary school forever…
No more class parties, field trips, book fairs, or Boosterthons. I know some moms mourn their children moving on from elementary school, but for the last fourteen years I’ve had at least one kid there. I’m ready to move on.
From almost the time of his birth, his older two brothers have dubbed my youngest son the family drummer. Nearly a year ago, for his birthday, Evan received his first drum set. If you ask Evan what he is, he will tell you he is a drummer. (He’s more of a “drummer in training”, but let’s not squelch the dream, okay?)
Glad your kid isn’t a drummer? It does get loud, all that beating and rata-tat-tatting, but I don’t mind. I love drums. We all have a rhythm inside of us. Our heart rhythm is what keeps us moving. Hearing a good drummer just speaks to my soul, somehow.
Evan’s dream is to play drums one day at our church. I tease about how he is going to take John Mark’s place on stage at Church of the Highlands one day. Except that I’m not really joking at all. John Mark is one of the talented drummers on stage leading worship during the worship services. They keep him in a large fish bowl so that the drumming doesn’t get out of hand, but I’d like it if they would just turn him loose.
Helping a child find his passion in life is a parent’s greatest joy. Watching Evan play the drums makes me smile. He’s got a ways to go before John Mark has to watch over his shoulder for Evan, but give it time.
We made the decision for Evan to join the concert band in middle school. In all honesty, he doesn’t really care about being in the band. He wants to learn to be a percussionist. Anything that will help him attain his goal. He wants to play drums for Jesus. He’s my little drummer boy. This is an opportunity to learn things that will help him reach this goal.
But before that could happen, he had to try out all the other musical instruments in the band and be judged on them. It was no shoe in that he would make the drum line.
He tried out for drums first. He did well. He’s a drummer, remember? But he only scored a nine out of ten on his tryout. The rules stated that to make the drum line, you had to score a ten out of ten. To say Evan was bummed was an understatement.
“I don’t want to play any other instrument, Mom.” He whined.
“It will be okay”, I told him. “You won’t have to.”
Still, he had to try out on the other instruments anyway. He faired well on the trumpet and even better on the trombone. Both judges gave him nines. The trombone judge gave him a nine plus. Evan was not happy about it.
With his shoulders drooping, he looked at me and said, “I guess I could play the trumpet.”
I asked him, “Are you a trumpet player?”
“What are you?”
“I’m a drummer.”
So I told him:
“Then don’t lose sight of your goal. Don’t let someone else tell you who you are or what you should be. People will try to side line you and distract you from what you feel passionate about. Don’t let that happen. Those judges mean well, but you are not a horn player. You will have to show the band director your passion for drums.”
Gathering his resolve he said, “I’m a drummer. And I want to be a percussionist!”
So the time came after Evan had tried out on all the instruments that we were to meet with the band director and see what instrument Evan would be assigned to play. I told Evan he would have to step up and show his passion. He would have to convince that band director that sitting before him was a drummer, not a horn player… in spite of his scores.
We waited for a long while as other kids stepped up to the table to meet with the band director. One by one, each one was assigned an instrument. The closer we got to our turn, the more confident Evan became.
When finally, our turn came, we sat across from the band director and Evan handed him his judge’s sheet. He looked it over, and asked Evan, “So, you scored well on a few of these. Which instrument did you think you might want to go with?”
“I’m a drummer.” Was Evan’s confident reply.
The band director looked at Evan for a long while before saying, “Yes, I believe that you are. Drum line it is, then.”
The smile that broke across his face was priceless. I really hope that Evan learned a great lesson that day. Passion, God given passion, is not something we should ever allow any one person to derail. We might be told again and again that we are not good enough, but if the Lord has given us a passion, then He will give us the ability.
I think one of our most important jobs as parents is helping our children discover their passions, and then teaching them how to hold onto them.