• http://www.thecentsiblelife.com/ Kelly Whalen

    Love this story. Parenting is a tough job, but sometimes we see glimpses of who they are growing into and it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing to witness.

  • margarita

    In suzuki violin, we are taught to play something we mess up 7 times right before we move on. It’s an excellent practice technique.

  • Christine

    I hope in a few years I can be mean just like you and that my daughter will soak up that ‘mean’ parenting and grow and learn and develop just as Leta is because of it. Well, well done to the both of you.

  • twinmomma

    This made ME cry. Love it. Perfect.

  • http://twitter.com/DeanaMorton Deana Morton

    You are a great mother and your girls are amazing people.

  • Sara

    Let them judge. You know your girls, Heather.
    Learn from messing up, Beautiful Girl, and you will win at life.
    We are ALL proud of you.

  • JennC

    You are the BEST MOTHER EVAR! Monthly, weekly, daily, I struggle with my children over practicing the piano. “Why?” “Why do you make us do this?” “Why do you hate us so much?”. Thank you for giving me the words for WHY.

  • http://www.facebook.com/IsabellaOrgan Isabella Organ

    Your technique of having her practice through chaos is brilliant. Nice work, Heather!

  • Mzla

    Yes. This. This is why we practice – the life lessons from mastering a skill, any skill, are pricelss. Congrats on the preparedness. :)

  • bsnebold

    What a wonderful post!! I was nervous, then sympathetic to Leta, then proud of you, then laughed at noises you were making, then, then, then, I felt like I had personally done the work myself! And then, I cried with JOY over the meaning of all of this. You are a wonderful mother. Leta is a real champion. And Marlo gets to be Marlo!!! Love you all.

  • http://twitter.com/amyhawk Amy Peck

    You have made me cry. I love your parenting style. You are amazing!

  • Nancy Minchew

    I think it is AWESOME that you love your girls so much – that you are teaching them how to survive after messing up! Because you are right – we ALL mess up! Learning how to pick ourselves up is the real way to grow!

  • Jo

    This was a brilliant story to share! Thanks Heather!

  • Kendall J

    Seriously made me cry! Way to go Leta. And way to go, Heather. That is what parenting is all about…figuring out how to help your child no matter how crazy it may look at the time!

  • http://twitter.com/DaddyScratches Daddy Scratches

    And all this time, I’ve been teaching my kids by burning them with a hot iron. Your way seems better.
    But seriously, folks … Great story, Heather. Awesome moment for both of you. Congrats.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jwrestler Jeanette Nolan Wrestler

    That’s awesome! Way to go Leta! And if it’s any consolation, my sister was the EXACT. SAME. WAY. about playing piano. Until about high school when she just embraced the hell out of the whole thing. In her 30s now and can’t live without a piano in the house.

  • Julie

    Yayyyyyy Leta! She looks so ADULT in that last picture. Wow. (And I think this is stellar parenting, btw. Not that I know word one about it, since I don’t have kids yet, but it seems like the type of situation where the battles are a lot harder for you than for her: she has the struggle, and you have the struggle plus the existential doubt).

  • hugsNpuppies

    Wow, beautiful story! My daughter has just started to learn the guitar and when she practices, after much complaining and moaning, she pushes all of my buttons at once and I have to do breathing exercises not to grab that damn guitar and smash it into tiny bitsy pieces. So, well done to you!

  • Lori

    My style of parenting. She thank you one day

  • =^..^=

    Wow: Way to TOTALLY ACE that teaching point !
    Brava, sis !

  • Lori

    My style of parenting. She’ll thank you one day

  • http://kristanhoffman.com/ Kristan

    “When we were finished and I high fived her for her hard work she asked, “Can I have some of that chocolate you were talking about?””

    ROFL. That a girl, Leta.

    I don’t know what to applaud in this story. Or rather, I don’t know what NOT to applaud. So I guess I’m just gonna clap my damn hands off. To you, to Leta, to Marlo. To the humor and the beauty. To piano. Well done, all of you.

    Most all, thank you. You’re not my mother, but you’ve reminded me (a) to play piano even when it’s hard, and (b) to mess up, so I can learn.

  • Jen

    Heather, you are an awesome mother who wears her humanity like a badge. You made me cry because all that messing up you talked about–made you prepared too! I’m going to read this to my sweet girls. Thank you for showing me how to be a better mom! God bless you.

  • jennifer

    What’s there to disagree with!?! That is is such great parenting, I want to post the steps on my fridge! Awesome job to you and awesome job to Leta for nailing despite fear, anxiety and nerves!

  • http://www.facebook.com/angela.l.delgado.5 Angela L Delgado

    I’m not crying–I’m just cutting onions in a really dusty apartment…

  • SheilaB

    YOU! You are an awesome mom, Heather! So very proud of you for having her hang in there, letting her experience this memorable achievement. She will never forget that moment and your tears should be your validation of a job well done with her. :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1134670602 Luisa Munoz

    I’m sure you’ve heard of Tiger Mom and the case of how she supervised, long hours of piano practice only praising her daughter for her mastery and not her efforts – which is completely fucked if you asked me and turns out her daughter was rebelling against her anyways. You’re sweet compared to Tiger mom. There’s a huge difference between a pushy parent off their trolley than to a parent, like yourself, who is wanting to teach their child a life lesson no school can teach. You giving her a valuable lesson, that in life, we do not begin as Masters of our own art. Great post x

  • http://waterwatereverywhere.net Sarah Hubbell

    Fabulous. I wish my mother had made that kinda racket behind me while I practiced the piano!

  • http://twitter.com/_josey_ Josey

    Oh man, THIS…this is what I hope to be as a mother (and why I am now in tears now at work!). I remember playing the piano over and over and over as a child, and feeling SO MUCH like Leta. I’m a perfectionist to a fault, and it’s STILL a problem in my life. *sigh* Well done, Leta, and well done, Heather! What a great moment all around.

  • http://twitter.com/mamabigdog Mamabigdog

    You are not the meanest mom in the world. That’s me. Ask my daughter who’s in rehab. She tells me every chance she gets. Maybe if I had made her stick with piano, we wouldn’t be in this situation today. You did a great job with Leta, and if you don’t mind, I’m going to use all that stuff about messing up that you wrote when we go to Family Week next week for my daughter. Because I just want her to get well and have a good life.

  • http://twitter.com/martharose Martha

    That’s a pretty awesome story… I hope she gets to read this when she’s older along with all of the other letters you have written to her over the years!

  • sincerely_jenni

    Awesome,awesome, awesome! So glad she had a good experience with this. Many parents would have just let their child quit. Good for you for turning this into a learning opportunity. :-)

  • Meghan

    I’ve never left a message on here before, but I love reading your blog. This is one of the sweetest parenting stories I’ve ever read. I played piano growing up and HATED recitals (and also happen to be one of those perfectionist first born types). Oh how nice it would have been to have some dialogue around preparation, hard work and the value of messing up. F*cking killer parenting ;) Thanks for the moving read!

  • http://www.facebook.com/robin.dearing Robin Dearing

    It’s like you are writing my experiences with my daughter and the piano. She loved it and hated it. Mostly she hated it when she couldn’t play a song perfectly the first time through. It was so frustrating. She knew she would get it if she practiced, but the frustration flooded in just the same. Sometimes she would kick the piano. Margaret had Sonatina Festival: One piece of music with three different movement usually 5 or 6 pages of music memorized. It was torture for both of us. I finally let her stop doing Sonatina Festival after a few years because I didn’t think I could take the stress of it. Now Margaret is 12. I let her quit formal lessons a couple of years ago so she could take guitar and singing lessons. She still plays the piano on her own and it is glorious and I practically cry every time she does. Children making music is one of life’s most precious gifts.

  • Beth

    Oh these damn allergies must have just suddenly attacked me. Way to go mom, that’s why we get through the fucking ridiculous days…for those amazing moments of sheer bliss.

  • Angela Beth Cantido

    I think the important thing is that you recognize the difference between getting frustrated and wanting to quit and wanting to quit the piano for dance or the trombone. You find all these great little places for life lessons and she’s amazing because of it.

  • Kate H

    Go, Leta! I don’t want to bash on my parents because they were really great in many ways, but one thing they did was let me quit stuff when it got hard or boring, and I think it really has affected my ability to stick it out as an adult when faced with something I don’t want to do or know I’m likely to mess up. Good for you!

  • Emily

    My mom has been teaching piano since the 70s. Literally no one has ever said to her, “I wish my parents would’ve let me quit piano earlier.” They always say they wish their parents made them keep taking lessons longer. I wasn’t allowed to quit until I was in high school, and I’m glad of that. Piano taught me to be very prepared and taught me to appear calm and stay focused even when I am incredibly nervous.

  • http://twitter.com/ShelleySaysSew Shelley MacGregor

    And I just got snowflakes in my eyes from shoveling.

  • Jeca51601

    You are not alone in this, Heather. My 11 year old has had it easy so far; she’s very smart, great in school, good looking, and a pretty good kid. Unfortunately, because everything comes to hear almost effortlessness, when she encounters a problem she tends to give up – because she didn’t learn how to deal with loosing or not being in top 5% of everything. That’s way when she refused to go to her swimming classes (kind of fitness swimming, where you only do lap after lap after lap) because she was the slowest in one of her classes and in the middle of the pack in the other, we promptly denied her that right and marched her off to the community center where the classes were held. Crying, hysterics happened almost every time for the next nine weeks (twice a week), but we stood our ground, kept explaining her why are we doing that, and pushed her to do her best – not to be first, just to do her best!

    And it payed off tenfold! She’s improved her stamina, she swims faster, but most of all she learned that when you face a challenge and walk away but face it head-on, you will come out the other side better and more confident person then you were before. And she was very proud of herself and much more eager to take on the next level of swimming – beginning of a lifeguard program! Even her writing has improved, and she hates to write – just imagine a kid who has A+ in reading and oral presentation, but barely B in writing; that;s how much she hates it :) !

    I think that sometimes we are too lenient toward our kids, and we’re not doing them a favor by trying to shield them from everything challenging and unpleasant. We should not be too strict or try to make them into something they are not, like great swimmers or great basketball players. However, we should not let them quit over slightest of problems and obstacles. The truth lies (as always) in the middle, but that balanced approach is not always easy to achieve.

    As for me (and I will drove scorns from some people by saying this), I would gladly let her shed some tears now for a chance to grow up into a person ready to face whatever life trows at her. I think that is a fair and easy price to pay for a future life success.



  • http://twitter.com/nataliemikus Natalie Mikus

    Love this, thank you.

  • Jeca51601

    Obviously, it is this version “…when you face a challenge and don’t walk away but face it head-on…”


  • megan

    What a story- thanks for sharing:) You are a great mom and Leta is a great kid.

  • jemmarie

    Best MOMMY ever!!!

  • Necole

    That was awesome. I guess I am a parent also, and so our my parents. My parents never let me quit anything.

  • CG

    I’m twice (almost) your age, and I don’t even have any kids, but this made me cry and laugh and oh, so glad that I read your blog. I LOOK at many, but I READ yours. You are the best!

  • http://www.facebook.com/amanda.korby Amanda Korby

    If all of my students’ parents did for them what you do for your children, my job would be infinitely easier. I can’t tell you how many times I have a kiddo shut down on me because they have to rewrite a paper.

  • LusherLaRue

    Simple awesome, Heather.. What a great life lesson for Leta . . . and all of us. As Ben Affleck (paraphrasing) said in his Oscar acceptance speech, it doesn’t matter how we get knocked down in life, because we will. All that matters is that we keep getting up. As Henry Ford said, failure is simply the opportunity to more intelligently begin again. What a great lesson to learn at such a young age.

  • http://twitter.com/MosaicTutoring Cory Zacker

    And I have allergies.

  • Elizabeth R

    What an awesome story! I’m proud of both of you! And to jump on the bandwagon, I’m not tearing up reading that, one of my kids just poked me in the eye with a sharp stick is all. :)