When Hope Fails
Within the last 24 hours, I’ve had 4 situations arise that have caused me to think about “HOPE”. Often times, it seems hope fails.
A promising and advancing piano student named, lets say, “Edwin” is working on a difficult passage in a Chopin Etude. The passage arouses the understanding that the complexity of the notes can only be perfected when the phrasing (melodic and harmonic meaning) is masterfully exposed. “Edwin” begins to play as if he “hope’s the performing of the passage will work out. He’s forceful, worried, tense, and frustrated. The music suffered and he was disappointed.
I had the pleasure of substitute teaching another promising young man, “Tim”. He is very busy with sports and earning straight A’s. His parents just bought him a grand piano because they believe in his potential and wish to empower him for musical success. I welcome Tim to his lesson and he is noticeably concerned which I can surmise is because he didn’t know I’d be teaching him that day and he’s not prepared. Tim sits down with a thud and I ask how was his practicing this week. “Not good, I had this homework, and I’m on this baseball team and that baseball team and I’m starting basketball.” He begins to play his Bach assignment. It is rough, uniformed, and unintentional. He feels like he failed.
In my office I listened to a piano lesson given by one of our newest teachers. She had asked me earlier for some perspective regarding a choice in curriculum. She is not sure how to address the needs of an older beginner. A lovely Junior High girl named “Peggy” tries to play a primary level piece but her teacher is simply watching her fail. As Peggy experiences her failure she becomes more tentative, unequipped, and shy. Peggy feels hopeless.
This morning I asked a colleague if something I imagined we both wanted might work out within the next few days. His response, “Hope so”. I wondered if my colleague really wanted the same outcome as evidenced by his response. I wondered how intentional his efforts might be to achieve our shared purpose (or was it a shared purpose?).
Hope is something empowered by intention, attentiveness, appreciation and the love of triumph. In the time I spent with “Edwin” and “Tim” I showed them how their music playing seemed hopeful but that hope was not filled with intention. When I stepped into “Peggy’s” lesson I directed her toward a purpose and she experienced the joy of success and the motivation to practice this week. Hope without intention, fails.
Musicians learn to face their impending failures with the love of triumph. This love of triumph is expressed through attentiveness and appreciation for the purpose. Hope is empowered with intention. “Edwin, Tim, and Peggy”, three wonderful teenagers, learned to deliberately choose to oversee the purpose of the music with a kind of appreciation that enabled them to play successfully. When I showed them how to appreciate the purpose and structure of their music they were all empowered to play with success.
Good teachers fill hope with intention. Powerful colleagues and valuable relationships are expressed through the love of mutual triumph. What must I intentionally do to partner with others as we achieve our mutual goal?
HOPE DOESN'T FAIL, Without intention, attentiveness, appreciation, and the love of triumph, WE FAIL HOPE.
Wanda L. Cook