Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Piano Lessons

On a weekly basis when I take my child to piano lessons, I have learned the most interesting things. For example one of the other parents is totally different than I; if both of our daughters were not doing these lessons I am certain our paths would not have crossed, and if they did I'm sure our conversation would be minimal. But thanks to waiting around for an hour and both of us having a desire to talk and listen, we are exposed to each other's worlds.

I've learned that her culture holds tight to their traditions. She is a wife and mother but she would never ask her husband to help out in the kitchen, nor does she feel she should. She stays at home and loves cooking and being a homemaker. Even though within her culture the men play a more outgoing dominant role, she is not a doormat or docile. There are parts of American culture when it comes to women, relationships and parenting that don't make any sense to her. Parents rule the roost in her culture, and there's no need to always try to accommodate a child's wishes. Her culture is very serious about marrying internally - if you marry a different ethnicity you risk incurring the wrath of your family. She has two daughters, so I asked, "If in spite of everything that you did, your daughters chose to marry outside of your culture, what would happen?" I shared my thoughts on marriage; in doing so, she realized that she could not come up with a good answer to this question.

She thinks every day should be Thanksgiving and is not big on this holiday. Many within her culture do not celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, but they make a big deal for New Years Day with a tree and all. So they get to shop after Christmas and get the best bargains.  We both related to what it feels like to be immigrants, or to be the only one of a certain ethnic group in a large gathering.

In these exchanges I have also schooled her on my culture and explained some of the similarities and differences between hers and mine.

As the new year approaches, be willing to try new things - have conversations with people that cross your path and get to know them a little better. You may be surprised at what you learn and how much you have in common. Be hopeful. Always try to see the good in people.

I never thought piano lessons would open up another world to me, but it did, and like playing a piano, we have had harmonious conversations while our daughters learned.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18,19
Can you guess her culture? What new thing will you give a chance this new year?

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