My twins hate learning to play piano.

It kills me to do so, but I’m on the verge of letting them off the hook.


I dunno, I guess my dad forced me into music lessons when I was young, and I felt like I would be letting my kids down if I didn’t enroll them too. What if they turned 20 and realized they wanted to be rock stars? What about all the other benefits they gain from learning music (fine motor skills, increased memory, abstract thinking)?

And yet, I also remember not at all enjoying my music lessons. I wanted to learn the blues on piano, but instead they were teaching me to waltz. And before that, my parents would shut me away in my dad’s drafting room with an accordion that was bigger than I was and that would pinch the skin on my chest and I would just cry the whole hour. (What were they thinking?!)

My eldest is a good little soldier and has stuck with his music lessons, though he quickly switched to drums after a few years of piano and would rather be playing football.

Despite the fact that we’ve all been kids at one point, being cajoled into activities and extracurriculars by our parents, it seems many of us turn into our parents one day, and force our own kids into activities and extracurriculars they really don’t care about.

My neighbours have tried everything with their son, and still haven’t found something that sticks. (He’d rather be playing video games, but then again, what kid wouldn’t?)

We sink hundreds and thousands of dollars into sports, only for the kids to decide they’d rather hang out with their friends when they reach high school. Or switch to a different sport altogether.

I imagine it’s the same feeling I’ll have one day as I help my kid with their college or university tuition when they choose to change their major, or get a second degree, on a whim.

Mostly, though, I just want my kids to find something they love to do. And I’m so desperate to help them find it, I’ll try anything. Like enrolling them in every summer camp under the sun.

I’m not sure why I’m so obsessed with trying to help my kids spot their purpose, their passion, their life’s calling.

Maybe it’s so they won’t turn out like me and find themselves at 40, still be trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up.

But maybe that’s just the journey we all have to take, and there’s no sparing them. Maybe some of my kids will know what their calling is, like Zane, who just has a natural, God-given talent for creating crazy-cool at-home movies and comics. (He’s got story boarding nailed!)

Maybe they’ll turn out like their dad, and aimlessly follow the Grateful Dead until the lead singer dies and it’s time to get a real job. (Kidding—not kidding.)

Maybe they’ll turn out like their mom and run from what they love their whole life because they don’t think they’re worthy, until one day they realize that they are.

I guess that’s why I’m ready to let go of the piano lessons for the twins. Maybe they know what they like better than I do. And they’re already on their way.


Cat Margulis is a Toronto writer and super (tired) mom of four. She's working on her first novel, launching her own podcast The Passion Project, and generally trying to do and have it all. You can see how she does it @catmargulis and @passionprojectpod on Instagram.

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