My kids are 25 and 23 – and both of them are wanting to move to Canada. Well, THAT serves me right! But, secretly I am quite pleased that they are both learning from my mistakes and making choices that suit them best. [ Learn more about that here ]

Not only has my life has been shaped by the decisions that I have made, but it has also been shaped by other learnings and omissions I’ve had along the way. Whilst I don’t do regrets per se – there are some things that I wish I had done differently.

One decision I am sad about – is giving up the piano.

The reason I quit, was that it stopped being fun. Mrs Adamson (my teacher)  insisted that I put in hours and hours of practice in preparation for all the graded exams she had lined up for me. I was 10 years old for goodness sake! She also frightened me a little bit – that, and her room smelt of “old people.”

Caroline – Aged 10 – circa. 1974

Shoot forward to today – and I often think of what might have been. I would so love, now, to be able to sit down at a keyboard and just play. The sad thing is that I wasn’t bad at the piano and I was able to sight read pretty well – but I constantly felt under pressure to be technically adept – rather than just enjoy myself.

But the fear replaced the fun.

There was always so much pressure to succeed and pass all the exams in both practical AND theory. Mrs. Adamson planted the seed that I needed to get to Grade 8 to be a proper musician and then I could have fun. What an incentive for a 10 year old child!

No-one suggested that the ‘journey’ could be and should be fun.

So I quit. Because I didn’t  have the confidence and the emotional intelligence to ask for anything else.

I could no longer just play for the sake of it and because I enjoyed it. The pieces that I wanted to play, were not recognised exam pieces – so rather than play a repertoire that appealed to a 10 year old – I was dragged through the “dusty old classics” that I had to dissect to within an inch of their lives.

So, the adult in me, wishes I had stuck at it. Now I know that this may seem small fry, in the scheme of things – but have you heard about the ripple effect?

“A situation in which one event causes a series of other events to happen.”

Trouble is – when you quit things – a pattern emerges. On reflection – I made a habit of giving up on things, rather than finding a way around my challenges. I see parallels with this in my photography career. Whilst I was good I was not technically interested or outstanding in that field and therefore felt a bit of a fraud… Not Good Enough.

Whilst our decisions don’t have to totally define us – I do believe that we should have the confidence to make our decisions for all the right reasons; and not the misguided choices that we make when we don’t think we are capable of stepping up to the mark.

Regrettably, Jack my son, felt exactly the same as I did with his piano lessons – and whilst I totally got it, we couldn’t find a piano teacher who would encourage him, without having to do the exams. What’s that all about?

There shouldn’t be this cookie-cutter approach. One size does not fit all. We all have different ways of learning and of having fun – and, in my mind – this should be respected for these differences, whatever our age.

Sometimes we have to be brave enough to swim against the tide.

So – I encourage you to allow your little one to choose their own path – when it is safe and wise to do so.

✔️Because when they do – they grow.

✔️Because when they do – their confidence sky-rockets.

✔️Because – when that happens, they become the person that they want to be – and they SHINE.

If you are not sure where to start … then I can help you.

If you are a parent, and looking for some pointers and some support – please come and join me for my Self Confidence Webinar on Monday 1st October at 7pm. Your child will thank you for it.

?Register HERE : www.caigraham.com/webinar

You’ll leave, safe in the knowledge that you will know how to encourage your child to SHINE.

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