The Big Picture

I’m not into sports.

Fine art does not move me.

Classical music and opera leave me ho-hum.

Give me an old house to wander through, or an antique book to pore over…show me a cave, an ancient waterway, or the garden or a handcrafted quilt. Those are the things that move me.

So when it comes to raising a well-rounded child, I find myself faced with “The Bigger Picture.”

Despite my complete lack of interest, I find myself at events like last Saturday, listening to two children’s symphony orchestras as part of UMKC’s Music and Kids events. This was the third installment in a series of four events designed for kids 3-8.

Emily has enjoyed them, although she was slightly bored at the last one, too much sitting and not enough activity. Thankfully it only lasted 45 minutes. I was just proud as could be that I didn’t fall asleep.

Does that sound awful? Well, at least its the truth. Classical music is nice to hum, which I do with regularity, but other than that, it simply does not move me. I accept that I’m not wired that way.

In many ways, I find that a small piece of regret steals over me. I would like to enjoy fine art or classical music, I really would. But I don’t, and try as I might, and expose myself as I have, that feeling has never changed.

And if Emily feels the same way, some day, then I totally understand. But then again, she might not. She might fall in love with Mozart, dive into Picasso or Monet and feel something inside shift when she looks at those paintings.

When my older daughter, Danielle, was ten we went to the Nelson Atkins museum. And while the Egyptian exhibit, and some of the Renaissance pieces caught my attention, overall I was bored out of my mind. My daughter, however, was captivated.

And so it came to pass that at least once a year, if not more, we would visit that museum and spend hours walking through it and, in her case, sketching what she saw. As for me, I learned to take a cross-stitch project or a book along for the ride – things I appreciated far better.

Now 22, Danielle is a talented artist who loves art. When I look over her sketches, I see things I enjoy, but I’m no connoisseur.

I learned to hide my boredom as much as possible, or channel it into positive actions. And so, when UMKC’s Music for Kids program came along I signed Emily up, looking forward to exposing her to something I have no real preference for, but one that catch her and hold her in a way I cannot fully understand.

I do this because I see The Big Picture. Danielle is not me and neither is her little sister. I look forward to seeing where their dreams and inclinations will take them. I imagine a future that is bright with possibility and choice. And along the way? I’ll try not to fall asleep!

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