Gratitude and Responsibility

I know that I never really thanked enough the people who taught me, past saying “thank you” at the end of a lesson. (That’s something certain students do but many do not). I wish now that I could go back and say to each person who was an influence on me as a singer and teacher “thank you for what you gave me — it was so incredible.” I would also like to be able to tell the people who hurt me, “thank you for teaching me what I don’t want to be like”. I guess what I am trying to do by writing this blog is to tell the people who were misguided “I wish I had something to thank you for”.

It’s great to see a student make progress, to have break-throughs, to be validated and empowered. It’s wonderful to hear her singing more joyfully, freely and with confidence. It is gratifying to know that someone has had a burden lessened, a load lifted, a struggle end, but it is even more wonderful when the person says “thank you, I couldn’t have done it without you”.

It is easier to teach a student who is grateful for the teaching because the gratitude implies that the student knows that they have been given a gift. It opens the heart to allow for even more giving. It is no fun to work with someone who regards you as the “hired help”….someone they have little regard for like the unfortunate cleaning woman who comes in to dust, vacuum and empty garbage for a fee. Yuk. I’ve had a few students like that (fortunately, very very few), and this attitude doesn’t sit well with me, and probably does not with anyone who is a teacher of anything.

If the student is never grateful, one can assume the student doesn’t recognize or acknowledge any progress that is being made, or value any changes taking place in her singing. Usually the student doesn’t take any responsibility for this either, as doing so would require some awareness that one has to be willing to be taught and to learn from that teaching. Responsibility implies that this is a two-way process. Some people don’t understand the concept of gratitude period. They don’t much learn about appreciation as a state of being. Too bad. It diminishes their lives and if they sing, their art as well.

I am grateful for all my students. I appreciate that they trust me and that they bring me their most precious possessions, their voices. I am grateful for all the challenges that are presented in lessons and for the opportunity to be of service to other human beings, helping them achieve their goals, dreams, aspirations or hopes. I am grateful for the opportunity to grow as a teacher and person, to examine myself and try to be better each day. I more and more appreciate everyone who has ever taught me anything, and hope to deepen my own ability to express gratitude and thanks as I continue to go forward in my life.

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