Credit: Houston Chronicle

The development of an individual, at whatever rate, involves the interplay of many internal and external factors. People have their intrinsic abilities, which may imply talents and they also have the potentials to learn skills that are not within the domain of their natural talents. Parenting can play a vital role in the shaping of a child’s developmental trajectory if they avail the right kind of learning materials and assistance with the necessary support to gradually master the content. However, the mistake many parents do is insisting or controlling the efforts they deploy on the daughter to achieve given results. In particular, Chinese parents exert excessive pressure on their children, which is often counterproductive. Although many Chinese kids develop the skills in mathematics or playing piano due to the efforts directed by their parents, if the parents make mistakes in the process, the outcomes are often disastrous and detrimental to the development of the child. In the story, the mother was not very skillful in cultivating the desirable outcomes in the daughter, and she failed when the child rebelled. 

In the episode when the daughter tried to play piano before an audience, it would have been better if the daughter was allowed to rehearse at the venue before the actual event. It was also necessary to choreograph the whole event so that such young and inexperienced kids could gradually master the skills of making a public presentation. The child would be intensely demoralized, and this could have had a long lasting negative effect on the ego and the onset of a downward trend. Nonetheless, the fact that other people thought the performance was good, the child would be motivated to take the lessons seriously because they would interpret that their efforts paid. Efforts at development should be rewarded incrementally if the child is to master the skills, particularly when the odds are pronounced than when they have only a little challenge in the task.

The fact that the daughter feels too much parental pressure is a vital aspect of the development. Her interpretation of all the efforts directed at her talent development would pay off if the parent avails all the relevant opportunities for learning and mastery of the skills. However, it is noteworthy that too much pressure can work counterproductively because the child may develop a redundancy. In many circumstances, the best strategy that leads to effective character development is attained when the parent studies the kid and directs the efforts of training in the areas the child has a natural passion because then, the motivation is high and the chance for excellence is high. Contrarily, if the efforts directed at the development of talent is inconsistent with the child’s intrinsic scheme of motivation, very little can be achieved. The child may change gradually and progressively become the prodigy, but at the same time, incidences of failure should be tolerated to the extent that the tolerance builds the child’s resilience and promotes the development of grit. Grittiness is a critical aspect of development because once grit is achieved, the child understands that progressive efforts will naturally yield the desirable outcomes.

The mother’s disapproving remarks after the show that “You aren’t a genius like me!” would naturally be demoralizing for a kid that shows so much effort to be good at the piano. The mother could reprimand the kid but never make a remark that makes the child feel unappreciated. Instead, an objective remark that points out what the child could do to improve the performance could have a better psychological impact. It is observable that the child develops and we appreciate that she changes from optimism and enthusiasm to a state of plasticity when she no longer believes that she can be good at her music skills. The turning point when the child concludes she is not a genius and can no longer practice the piano is a culmination of intense rumination about poor performance at the show. The change is a direct result of the mothers’ lack of approval for the progress the daughter had achieved even if she was not yet a star. Moreover, watching TV was in line with the child’s natural disposition to learn many things that TV presents. Instead of shouting at the kid, the mother could have taught the child discipline and sacrifice which are the base skills of high achievers.

In conclusion, change is inevitable, and when it comes to training excellence in kids, the parents have to acknowledge expressly that failure is part of the process of attaining great success. It is even useful to fail the highest number of times before one eventually becomes an astounding success. Failure teaches us to learn, to compare our performances with others and to situate our training within the scope of what exactly is regarded as a success. Intermittent failures can be overcome through practice and motivation. At the end of the story, after the mother had passed on, the daughter realized how a prized possession her piano was, and she tried to connect the contrasts in her mother’s training schedules and her feelings about them. The two titles of the pieces she found at the desk, ‘pleading child’ and ‘perfectly connected,’ recaptured the reality through metaphor that struggle and success are the same. One has to make sacrifices that are necessary to the attainment of excellence. The kid changed merely due to the harshness that the mother exuded, but she inwardly wanted to learn the piano and become a prodigy.


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