1975, Rathskellers, Moscow ID
True confession: I’m a drummer. A very out-of-practice drummer. But at my peak…I was a mediocre drummer! I had a brother who was a child prodigy, a cousin who was a famous rock star (in the 60’s), a talented father who sang and played guitar…and I wanted in on all that. I decided to be a guitar player like my dad, but quit after oh, about five minutes. Too hard. Then I got a little drum set, and found that I had some natural ability when it came to rhythm and time and “feel.” I got as far as I got with a little practice, by jamming with my brother, playing in my college band “Snickers,” and in our family band “Country Nicks.”
The point is, I played drums! I performed in front of people. I even played on some recordings. Just a little practice, a lot of listening, believing, desiring to play…produced results, got me quite a ways down the drumming road.
What have you practiced? My suggestion to you is that practicing the Virtues is one of the most important things that you can practice and is well worth the effort. Practice the virtues, for your own benefit, for the benefit of your children, grandchildren, wife or husband, really everyone around you. Playing music, playing sports, all of that can be fun and gratifying and teach us lessons like discipline, persistence, etc. Practicing the virtues? Prioritizing a virtuous practice? That can build a legacy, set an example for others, and result in our world being a kinder, gentler, safer place for everyone.
I’m a drummer, thanks to even a bit of practice and a bunch of repetition. My focus these days is practicing the Virtues, believing that even a little practice can produce kindness, compassion, and service that impacts a life or two. I’m not looking to be the next Saint Francis or Gandhi, I just want the 2020’s version of myself to be a little better person than my 70’s self. I can do it, and so can you. Our world needs us to do our best. So help me, God.
What a great reminder that trying/practicing has value. I was reminded recently that the thing one of my favourite aunts did best was listen. When one spoke to her, they had her full attention. Sadly, I am a notorious chatterer and interrupter; 2022’s goal for me will be to practice listening, which will hopefully enhance empathy, compassion, and tolerance, as well as having the added benefit of allowing me to learn!
I still practice piano. There are times when it seems the only things benefiting are the muscles in my forearms. My heart pushes the dicipline. Deep down the craving to write, share, and perform is smoldering. Strong and powerful. Waiting to be realized.
Without the ability to play, I am denied that elusive moment when music offers a high I can’t get anywhere else. Personally I don’t view those precious times as an escape. It feels to me that real life with purpose manifests itself at that time. From that standpoint, the value of practice is magnified.
Thank you for your book Art.