Home > Post A Week 2013 > A Tribute to Small Efforts

A Tribute to Small Efforts

June. Tis the season to remember and pay tribute to teachers. At graduations everywhere—from nursery schools to ivy league universities—teachers will watch their students mark their accomplishments by walking proudly down the aisle, accepting a diploma, or giving the valedictorian speech. The diligent high achievers passed in each assignment, sometimes early, participated in the classroom freely and reveled in the grades they received that rewarded their hard work. Some students required constant coaxing, prodding and perhaps a bit of psychology to get them to the finish line. There’s a spectrum of students in between to arrive at the finish using a recipe of both scenarios. As I looked down the rows of students, I thought of the hours of practice and patience that led to this crowning, emotion-filled event: the recital.

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Violin and cello students formed lines under the white tent to perform a program of classical and modern pieces, to the delight of the audience. Proud parents, grandparents, other family members and friends lounged on beach chairs and on blankets and managed to ignore the blazing heat of the June sun to watch students, whose ages ranged from four to late teens, as they performed the songs they had practiced all year.

The very little ones, holding toy-sized violins with sponges tied to them, looked serious as they played a 30-second song that I did not recognize. Who cares? They were cute. Their teacher stood in front so they could all follow her lead. She smiled at them to encourage them and melt away any lingering—or gripping—nervousness. After all, a sea of eyes was focused on them. Several scanned the audience, looking for Mommy’s or Daddy’s familiar face.

I thought about the coaxing those mommies and daddies do every week—every day—to ensure their music student practices. I wondered about the number of times the teachers had put on and participated in one of these recitals and the steady stream of students they had taught and mentored. How many of the older students who now played more complicated compositions started in that first row of beginner violinists? I wondered if the teachers could predict which students would give the violin their hearts and devote the time, sacrifice and energy required to excel.

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out”. Robert Collier

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The little girl standing in the front row, dressed in her prettiest black and white outfit, holding the toy-sized violin (a “violette”, perhaps!) may have only played two short songs during the concert, but time will tell whether she will go on to delight fans of symphonic music in the distant future. As she gracefully bows to the crowd’s thunderous applause, perhaps she’ll remember her first recital on a hot June day and pay tribute in her heart to small efforts.

——
Robert Collier quotation from The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You are to Where You Want to Be. Jack Canfield, 2005, p. 178.

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