Sunday, June 6, 2010


Yesterday my daughter had her first piano recital. She was excited, in part, because she was going to get a trophy (just for being a piano student). She's only been playing since January. At the end of the concert, students came up to get trophies for other things - competitions and such. We got in the car and Lori seemed upset. Why? She only got one trophy. No explanation seemed enough to help her realize how others received their trophies, how she has just started, etc. I think the value of a trophy to her is really nothing - it's just a quantity thing. So many things right now can be the value of quantity for her.

I explained to her my thoughts on trophies. Sure, I've received some. But trophies can be so meaningless. I told her about my senior year in high school. There were 3 big awards with trophies and one was based on athletics plus academics. Chaos. From a reliable source, way after the fact, I found I was supposed to win that one. But there was a parent who thought her daughter should get it. She went to the head of the athletic department, and since she had power, insisted her daughter receive it. And her daughter received it. My mom would never have done that. My mom is a much better mom. So then, what did that trophy mean? Was it important?

I was mad but came to not care that much about it. A funny thing is that people now remember that trophy as the one received because of the mom.

Trophies and awards. Sure, some mean something. But most don't. I internally chuckle when I hear someone or company is applying for themselves to win awards. I've been told it's critical to list awards on my resume.

But awards just don't define me. What I want to define me is not necessarily what I have done that has led to things like trophies, but somehow, what impact there has been on others, and how that can be further taken and used (but not to win awards!). I was reading a piece on "the second death" which, to the author, is what many people fear. It's when generations pass so your name isn't remembered. Perhaps people stop coming to see your grave. But if you made an impact, then that doesn't matter. People forget trophies; people pass away and in the long run perhaps their name is not remembered. But actions leading to good which then create further actions are remembered.

Now how to pass this along to Lori? I asked her last night what the 2 trophies she had received meant to her. She didn't want to talk about it and rolled her eyes. In the end, she liked the piano trophy because she likes her teacher. So I talked about what a person does, the hard work, to get trophies. She's not ready to learn that. It's still a quantity thing.

But someday, hopefully she'll realize it's not the trophies or medals that matter. It's what people put into things, whether they receive a trophy or not, that leads to things downstream - things individuals may not see during their time here.


Lisa Emrich said...

From a piano teacher, tell Lori I said 'congrats' for playing piano and working so hard to be able to perform at the recital. That's awesome!

Hope she has a great time in the coming year with piano. :)

ms'er faith said...

Now THAT should have been enough - just making it through the first concert :)