Sometimes we get the chance to do something we’re pretty good at, and lucky for me, I got that chance today. Nice, because I spend quite a bit of time in life doing things that don’t come naturally to me, and yes, I do those things because I choose to. Even so, it’s been fantastic and fun living in my strength today, so much so that I think I can return to pressing pinafores and pleated skirts with a bit more aplomb.
In our house, we call these moments of enjoying our strengths, “Shine Time.”
Several years ago, I jotted thoughts about shining in our strengths after teaching Clover a piano lesson. Here’s a copy of my notes.
“Clover has been working through her first Suzuki piano book for as long as it has taken her to grow her hair past her shoulders, get it cut, and grow it again twice. In other words, she struggles with it. Her sister Xani on the other hand, flies through the pieces with only a couple of play throughs. The other difference between them is that Clover is willing to press through the pain while Xani tends to faint at the slightest pressure.
Today while practicing Long Long Ago with Clover for about the 12th time, she crumpled.
“I’m just not good at piano,” she said, for the second time in four years of piano lessons.
I sat beside my diligent, industrious little girl who would much rather be catching bugs and fish, doing math problems, and rolling around with her dreamed about dog, particularly during this first day of spring break. My mothering instinct kicked in.
“Why don’t you go dig in the dirt and see what you find?” I said.
Her eyes lit like fireflies and her breath rose through her spine.
“Yes,” she said. “I’ll go find as many worms and slugs as I can and put them in my bug catcher.”
She slid off the piano bench, grabbed her supplies and coat, and spent the next hour in the garden, filling not only her container with soiled and slimy little creatures, but her soul with a sense of accomplishment.
I believe in doing hard things, and I believe in being uncomfortable. But sometimes we just need to shine.
I announced to the girls that we would be implementing “Shine Time” on a regular basis which means they would take at least fifteen minutes regularly to engage in activities which highlight their strengths. I decided I would do it too.
Clover came in from the garden with her collection, her knees and fingernails embedded with dirt.
“Good news, mom,” she said catching her breath.
“Do tell,” I said.
“The slugs didn’t even leave any slime on me when I picked them up. Isn’t that cool?”
“Very cool indeed.”
Although Clover would still be out exploring nature than playing the piano, she now glides through her pieces with much greater ease. Xani too has increased greatly in fortitude and personal patience, and I am learning how to model a balance of learning something new and enjoying my strengths.
How about you? What are your strengths, and how often do you let yourself SHINE?