Well it wasn’t a case where my student was “wrathful” and I did not exactly have a soft answer for her… All I did was to give her a gentle look and tuck a stray lock of hair behind her ears without saying anything.
The lesson wasn’t off to a good start when I noticed her unhappy expression, I was pretty sure that piano class wasn’t quite on her priority of things to do for the evening.
My usual tendency is to swallow my annoyance… but this time, I decided to go beyond that and speak in a cheerful tone and give her a choice of what she wanted to play first… She turned to me and said with an expressionless tone “I didn’t practice at all.”
I don’t know if it was her words or her look that struck a chord within me… and that’s why I didn’t say anything but showed her love instead.
To my surprise, that little gesture did make a difference! She sat up, played and tried her best, and did not sigh a single time when I asked her to repeat certain passages for a good number of times… Working on the balance of tone, voicing in the right hand, evenness in the Alberti bass sections… Our lesson stretched from a usual hour to nearly an hour and a half! Miracle of miracles!
I also noticed that it was one of the rare occasions when she opened up with me more about school life, what she enjoyed and disliked about school and she was chatting happily about her CNY holidays… I had always seen this girl as sweet but aloof, but it has been my oversight for not drawing her out and making her feel secure in my love and trust.
This incident proves to me again that it is important to win the heart of the one we seek to help, teach, or disciple. My children will not care about how much I know (gosh! Some of them do not even care to know how much their parents are paying me to teach them!) but they would want to know how much I care about them… before anything I say and do has an impact or difference over their lives…
Watch not only your words, but the inflection of your voice, the expression in your eyes and countenance… For you may just be the determining factor in the outcome of any situation.