I believe that when a parent successfully helps their child become personally powerful at something, their experience as a working partnership influences that child for the better.
There are two ways in which I believe this process is positive for a parent and a child: firstly, to successfully and sustainably help the child reach excellence in a given field, the parent has to be very attuned to their child; and secondly, the parent gives their child access to the habits by which they can become excellent in other fields. Both of these benefits can occur with a willing parent and a great teacher to guide the way.
In order to be attuned to a child, the caregiver must go beyond basic needs-- Are they fed, changed, washed, tired? Is their homework done?-- and go inwards, sensing their child's unique intricacies. This work of reading the child accurately requires great emotional intelligence on the part of the caregiver, but it is essential when the parent and child are in a working relationship in pursuit of excellence. If the striving that is required when reaching for excellence doesn't have a solid foundation, then it will topple once the pressure to strive is gone. Therefore, it is important that the parent provide this solid emotional foundation by being attuned to the child.
In Suzuki Violin lessons this attunement can take a variety of forms, for instance knowing through observation what kinds of work tire the child more or less, and distributing them in an artful way through the practice; deeply acknowledging the child's strengths while positively building on the weaknesses; compassionately being with the child through their struggles, instead of swooping in and anxiously fixing or berating.
When the parent is attuned, the child feels seen, heard and known for who they are, and they are also given the sense that “yes, I'm okay. I'm loveable and capable, just as I am.” The attuned parent doesn't dismiss mistakes and weaknesses, but instead sees the child as they are while simultaneously holding a vision, an openness, for what the child could flower into. Through experience after experience of the parent being attuned to the child, the child will eventually learn to hold the same vision for himself, with kindness and accountability, gentleness and tenacity. Thus, the foundation of sustainable striving, a healthy self-regard and a sterling work ethic is built first by the modeling of attunement by the parent. A final and substantial benefit of an attuned parent-child relationship is that the child's inborn curiosity and zest for learning are left intact, an inner furnace that propels the child forward through their studies.
The steps towards excellence in a given field have been very well documented by Dr. Suzuki, Daniel Coyle, Timothy Gallwey and others. A carefully planned hierarchy of skills, masterful modeling, encouragement and thoughtful critique, an “immersion” environment, a supportive group of peers – these are all essential components on the path to mastering a skill. The Suzuki Violin method has all of these components built in, and provides an accessible way for the parent and child to be exposed to the process of striving for excellence. A well-trained teacher will be able to articulate and highlight each of these components in their various forms, and might suggest how each component can be applied to another area of study, thereby benefiting the student and parent immensely.
The Suzuki teacher has a unique opportunity to guide the parent and child towards an attuned relationship, and to impart the awareness of the steps towards mastery. My most meaningful pursuit is to become a teacher who is experienced in the nuances of each of these areas, and guides her students with success. I hope to help children and parents grow in their self-knowledge, and to help them trust that they have the skills to tackle whatever they wish.