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christmas-22057_1280I think Anne Lamott is my soul sister. My sister of another mother. Of course, she doesn’t know this. Her writing is earthy, funny, and cuts right to the chase. Ever since reading Bird by Bird, I have been hooked on her writings about life and art (which after all is life). I have quoted from that book in quite a number of past posts.

I sat down with her new book, Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace, last weekend and as I read the first chapter, The Book of Welcome, a thought began to knag at me.

The welcome book would have taught us that power and signs of status can’t save us, that welcome—both offering and receiving—is our source of safety.

…We have to write that book ourselves.

She went on to talk about teachers who welcomed her, encouraged her, and gave her great literature despite her awkwardness and brokenness.

The nagging thought appeared over the horizon.

We offer welcome when we help a student to convey their personal view, when we coach them down from the ledge of self judgment, when we find music that is uniquely right for them, when we aren’t satisfied until they have given all they can.

We offer welcome when we accept all those willing to work and grow no matter how many problems they might have, whether they have had the right teachers, whether they have a lot of money, or what our colleagues will think when they hear them play.

We offer welcome when we share our own work with others, when we listen with open minds and hearts to the work of our colleagues, when we invite our peers to meet and work with our students, and when we (if asked) offer the safety of constructive rather than destructive comments.

We write the book ourselves as we go.

On another note… (and this would be the rant part)

Could we please all agree to stop using this supposedly cute practice reminder?

PRACTICE ONLY ON THE DAYS THAT YOU EAT.

I see this shared all over the inter webs in posters and memes for the studio. I admit that I myself thought it to be light and humorous years ago. I do not on any level think so now.

A shocking number of our children do not get enough to eat on a daily basis. They don’t just live in the poor areas of town either. You can’t tell by looking at them that they didn’t get dinner last night. I don’t think any of them think the above reminder is cute or funny. I don’t want to be the one to unwittingly put my foot in it and I bet you don’t either.

How about we all use this saying instead?

PRACTICE ONLY ON THE DAYS THAT END IN Y.

End of rant.

PS: I’m not so fond of the one about teaching pigs to sing either.

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