An e-mail list I belong to has been percolating this week. One of the women posted about something that was done at her church. It involved music, in fact, music that some of the others didn't like, and they told her so. Her feelings were understandably hurt. We've continued to discuss, and that discussion has broken off into a couple of tangents.
One tangent involved the role of music in society. One of the women commented that, back in the day, families would gather in their homes to play and sing music together. She laments the loss of that kind of musical literacy. I ranted back that some of that literacy is lost to my family because of the attitude of some of my kids' music instructors, who let us all believe that we weren't really cut out to be musicians.
I've been simmering about that for about an hour, and I want to continue my rant a bit. I've come to the epiphany/revelation that we, as a society, worry too much about being perfect. About "making the grade." About success. It isn't enough to learn about something; we have to master it, compete with others to display our excellence in the area, and, most especially, make gobs and gobs of money utilizing the skill.
One of my kids wanted to compose music, but was told that a 7-8 year gap in his musical education spelled the end of his musical career. Another loves to ride, but will never gain the respect of some of her peers (note I did not say friends) because we're just not in a position, financially or geographically, to provide her the advanced training she would need. Yet another cannot prove his excellence because he can't work using that skill because he hasn't proven his excellence.
What happened to the enjoyment of plunking at the piano or tootling with a horn? What happened to a girl and her dog heading out to hike? Now she gets asked, "Will you be showing her?" Why can't we just have interests and hobbies, and just enjoy them?
And don't get me started about being over 50 and having interests that society doesn't think you "should have at your age..."