Carry on Regardless

>> Sunday, 26 April 2015

Sometimes, I wonder if pushing kids to try things they don't want to do is a pointless task, and more trouble than it's worth.  But then something like this happens...

With only a couple of months left before we leave Russia for the foreseeable future, we're trying to cross a few items off our bucket list.  One of the things we've wanted to do for a while was to take the Boys to a classical concert at the recently renovated Great Hall at the Moscow Conservatory, because, well, whilst it might not seem like the obvious entertainment choice for two very normal 9 and 11 year old boys, it's an experience they may well remember for the rest of their lives - if we could just get the event right.

Yesterday Husband spotted that Andrei Pisarev was due to perform various piano pieces by Chopin that evening so at the last minute we decided to go for it.  We sorted the tickets and excitedly announced to Boys #1 and #2 what the evening's program would be.

Oh good grief.

The problem with raising two children to have independent thought and ideas, it seems, is that some of their thoughts and ideas are completely independent of your own.  And one of those ideas, in this case, was that going to a classical concert is akin to having your teeth pulled without an anaesthetic.

This is not the first time I've made this observation on raising individuals, but I was forcefully reminded it of it yesterday.  As the wails and yells rose up from the back seat of the car, you would have thought that instead of the opportunity to sit and listen to a world-class performance of beautiful music in a hall with some of the best accoustics in the world, we were telling our children of our plans to make them clean out a septic tank with their toothbrushes before spending the night in it wrapped up in jute sacks.

Which, to be honest, was something I was prepared to consider as my younger son went into a Force 6 tantrum and kicked the back of my car seat to demonstrate his unhappiness with our plan.  Frankly I was considering suggesting to Husband that we call the whole thing off.  Maybe it would just be simpler to stay home in front of the box...

So, did we go?

Of course we did.  Husband is made of sterner stuff - or at least, is more stubborn - than I am, and rapidly came up with a plan to stop the rot.  There may have been just a little bit of a carrot dangled to get them there.

OK - we took them to Macdonalds first.

But from that point on, they were a credit to us.  Boy #2 in particular was entranced, clapping like a mad thing the moment the performer finished each piece (and, once, when he hadn't), and excitedly joining in with the applause at the end when the audience was - oh so politely, this was a Russian concert audience, after all - angling for an encore.  (They were SO polite, we got two.  Result).

As we left, Boy #2 asked me what I thought of it.  "I thought it was wonderful," I said honestly.  "Me too," he said earnestly.  "And you know Mum, it was so different to be there and to see it and hear it at the same time.  Because when you listen on the radio, really, it's just, so much... pfffff."

And there, with a huge smile on his face, an expressive wave of his hand and a vowel-less word, my younger son perfectly expressed why sometimes, as a parent, you do know best - and have to carry on regardless...


Mwa 26 April 2015 at 15:50  

Excellent! I had a similar experience last night when I forced my son to come to another of my choir concerts, and he was surprised to love it as well. We should keep going with this. I grew up with classical music, and some of my favourite memories now are of being around rehearsals and beautiful music.

MsCaroline,  26 April 2015 at 19:47  

I love this, and I'm positive that you were too noble to say 'I told you so,' but I know you just reveled in that moment! I am finally at the point with my boys that they are actually starting to tell me that they appreciate the things I did with/to them when they were younger. Makes me very happy that I did 'carry on' as you say. Well done, PM. Keep it up!

Nappyvalleygirl,  27 April 2015 at 15:25  

Yes - definitely worth persevering in these situations. We also took the boys to a classical concert last week - one aimed at kids, but still quite heavyweight. Littleboy 1 pronounced that he enjoyed it "much more than he was expecting to."

expatmum,  28 April 2015 at 00:11  

But don't us mums have a way of saying "I told you so" without words! I know I do. LOL

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