A couple weeks back Kenneth Cope happened to be coming through Huntsville and accepted the invitation to come and talk and sing at our church in Madison.
I wasn't even really sure who he was when they made the announcement, but I decided to go when I realized that he wrote and sings a few of my favorite LDS songs, such as "Once Upon a Time", a song about miracles in the scriptures. Or "Brothers", a song about Joseph Smith and his ever-faithful brother Hyrum, who Joseph begged not to follow him back to Carthage where he knew he was soon to be killed, but who would not leave his brother's side.
Kenneth was also going to do a "fireside" for the youth as well, but that was cancelled. Unfortunately many inferred from the wording of the cancellation that *all* of his presentations were cancelled, so when we arrived, there was almost no one there -- just the Bishop and his wife, Kenneth, and one other member.
At 15 minutes before it was to start, I got up to use the restroom, but as I got up I saw Kenneth in the back, and he seemed to think I got up to go talk to him, so I walked up and introduced myself. He's a very friendly, happy guy (a former bishop, too), and I chatted with him for a few minutes.
So here's why I'm writing this post...
In talking to him, I asked him if his kids were interested in music, and how he fostered that interest. He said that all 3 enjoyed playing instruments, and the key was just making it fun for them. "Find music they like, and they'll want to learn to play it."
It sounds obvious that people do things they find fun, but like most parents I tend to default toward the mindset that the kids should be doing the things we tell them to. Fun? What does that have to do with anything?
But I didn't really get into piano until it became fun, i.e. when I got a book of Enya sheet music. I hated most of the music I had to play in my early lessons. Similarly, I loved soccer as a kid because I had only ever played it for fun. Baseball, on the other hand, was a serious sport according to my coach, and fun wasn't the point. Come to think of it, whether I enjoyed something depended a lot on the attitude of the guy (or gal) in charge.
And when it comes to my girls, I'm the guy in charge.
His presentation was excellent, by the way, very spiritual. Not many dry eyes at the end. Curiously he mentioned my name during one of the songs, basically complimenting my smile -- the downside of being complimented for something is that you end up putting in extra effort to live up to it!