I am the son of a military man. Marines to be specific, and I was raised in his image. My father had a booming voice, and a temper to match. He wasn't particularly compassionate or patient, but he was loving and generous in other ways. He gave of his time freely, even when it was un-welcomed. He never missed a single concert, and he coached every team I was ever on.
Until the end, my father was a proud man, and rightfully so. Pride was as much a part of his good qualities as it was his bad. In the end, as he began to slip, my brothers and I began to make decisions for him, including where and how he would live. He protested through it all saying, “I’m NOT moving…” He passed away suddenly the night before his move.
He showed us!
He didn't understand music, or my choice to pursue it as a vocation. But his support for me to do what made me happy was unquestioned and unwavering. When I told him of my desire to teach, he said to me, "Scott, any profession is honorable, as long as it is the profession YOU chose, and not one that life chose for you."
As I sit here and writing my last e-zine of the year, I see now more than ever the truth in his words.
"I chose this journey of music education, and it has been an honor to call it my life’s work. I am blessed to be able to do what I love and serve others at the same time. I suspect that you feel the same way. "
Few writers are as flawed as me. I often lack brevity, clarity and any understanding of what a semi-colon actually does. You deserve better. You deserve the best, and at times I have fallen short of that standard. But know that my mistakes and missteps are never for lack of effort. I always attempt to speak my truth and to provide value and meaning to you each and every week.
Never let anyone tell you that you don't matter. Never let them tell your worth is measured solely by ratings, accolades or awards. Music (and you) are so much more than that.
You're a parent to some and a memory machine to others. You are accountability and standards as well as the hug when students fall short. You are their tears of joy and sorrow. You are their moral compass and proof positive that the world is full of decent and hard working people.
For some of you, today’s email is your Fine!, your final missive from me as you prepare to retire or chase another dream. To you I say THANK YOU for your service and may you reap all the blessings you deserve. For others, this is your Da Capo, a brief pause before returning to "the top” in a few short weeks to begin again. To you I say, recharge, refresh and return as a blank slate for the benefit of both you and your students.
To both of you, let me just say that is has been my honor to serve with you in this profession.
When I return in six weeks, you will hear about some upcoming monumental milestones both personal and professional. I guess you could call it a prideful act.
Like father like son I guess.