In the days of the classy Westerns, one gentleman wronged who use a glove to “slap” the other gentleman across the face as a challenge to a duel. If not proficient in any form of confrontation, the challenged gentleman would need to practice. In those movies, the gentleman’s growth meant his survival.
Challenges come racing toward me weekly. How will I …? How can I …? What do I need to do to …?
When I was a kid, I would come home with something I wanted to get involved in: swimming lessons, piano lessons, violin lessons, gymnastics, ballet, theater. Many times I would be met with you can’t do that or you don’t have time for that.
If it didn’t cost too much, however, my mother would concede. When I joined 4-H, I tried out more activities. Sometimes I realized I didn’t like the activity, but when I did, the stars were the limit.
In fifth grade, the school district I attended instituted a program they called “Music in our Schools.” If you were in sixth grade, you could sign to learn how to play a wind or brass instrument. I wasn’t in sixth grade. If you were in fifth grade, you could learn to play a stringed instrument. My instrument? The violin.
I was involved in that program for two years. Then, when we registered for seventh grade (junior high school), I signed up for orchestra. I continued through my senior year of high school, but I also took a chance to audition for an upper level orchestra comprised of high school students in the area. I took the challenge, and found myself playing with Rockford Area Youth Symphony.
I took the challenge and used my violin to audition for a college scholarship. That scholarship found me at National College of education in Evanston, Illinois. The scholarship was the deciding factor.
I keep getting offered challenges: What are you doing tonight? Would you be able to come down to the square and play duets with me? Aahh, sure. A local area assisted living facility is looking for people to entertain. Are you interested? Ok. Are you interested in playing as an onstage character in a theater production? Sure.
It has taken my playing to a new level, and I’m having fun with it. It has shown me how much my music means to me, how much it has shaped who I am, but it also makes me wonder where I would be now if I had taken my music more seriously in high school and college.
Every challenge that I face, big or small causes me to grow as long as I accept the challenge and work to conquer what is in front of me.
Whether they are motivational challenges, health challenges, emotional challenges, meet those challenges head on with conviction. You can and will succeed and those challenges will change you.