Wednesday, March 28, 2012

No Passion

 I've shunned feeling appalled by her indifference.  Her disregard for her God-given talent guts me and almost always reduces me to tears every time we discuss it.

But then I thought again.    

Whose dream was it anyway?   

From the beginning hasn't it always been mine instead of hers?

Sisilia is 21 years old.  She has been singing since she was 3.  I taught her myself because I was determine that my daughter shall become a great singer.  For years now we've been going back and forth.  Arguing and fighting,   Hollering and screaming.  Pulling and pushing like a tug-of-war game.  One minute we agree and the next we disagree.

First I was hysterical at the casualness of her answer every time I bring up the subject:  "Mom, why do you keep bringing up something I have no passion for."  No passion!  I thought, how can you be so blind and deaf to what you've got.  Do you know how many girls out there that would give anything to have your voice?

"Then tell me, what do you have passion for?  I want to know."  "What are you planning to do with your life?"  I glanced at her as she shrugs her shoulders, "I don't know yet".
"You're 21 years old, you need to make up your mind what you want to do."  At the same time felt my heart sinking at the unfairness of it all.  I have 3 other daughters who are dying to sing like her.  Who jumps at every chance they have to be asked to perform.  Yet here she is, sitting on the only thing she's great at.

Her voice

She is good and I'm not saying that just because I am her mother.  But she moves people to tears when she sings at church and at every event she participates in.  People pay for airline tickets for her so she could go and sing for them and yet, yet, here she is. 

There 's really no use denying it any longer.   For a while now, and as much as I hate to admit it, I DID this to her.  WE did this to her.  Her father and I.  Pushed a tid too hard and a tad too long.  She's simply burned out.  Exhausted and  worn out.  Now that she's old enough, she's fighting back and saying NO.

So for now, for now I'll bite my tongue and bid my time.  Allow her to map out her life the best way she sees fit.  Never mind that she has been blessed with a voice of an angel.  Forget that she has an instrument that can touch lives and change lives.   It's her time. 
and it's all up to her. 

I'm not giving up hope on Sisilia.  I know one day she'll eventually realize what the Lord has blessed her with.  A very special gift.  And if she doesn't, then who am I to judge her.  Her story always remind me of the story in the new testament.  The parable of the man who gave out talents to his servants.  To one he gave five, another he gave two and the last he gave one.  The first two doubled their shares whereas the last one, buried it.  Failed to make an attempt to even try.

I pray that my daughter will come to realize what a great gift she's been given.  I shudder to think that she might never realize her potential.  The year she graduated from high school, their theme was from a quote by Nelson Mandela:

 "There is no passion to be found playing small--in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." 

Need I say more?

Special thanks going out to Shell for her "Pour your heart out Wednesday".


  1. Oh, it's so hard when kids just aren't interested, even when they have such a talent!

  2. I hate to do this, but you sound like my mother.

    You say that singing is the "only thing she's great at." I'll take your word that she's great because I can't open the video. But I dare you to think that maybe she might be great at something else as well that she hasn't had a chance to develop because she was so busy developing YOUR dream of her becoming a singer.

    She's only twenty one. She's really young. Julia Child couldn't even cook until she was thirty two. Mayve there is indeed something else that she could be great at. Maybe there is something else that she's ALREADY great at, but you can't see it because you're blinded by your passion.

    My mother used to say to me for years "If I had the brain God gave you..."

    Guess what? She doesn't. I do. I have the brain God gave me. I have to give account for my strengths and weaknesses, not my mother. And yet, because I'm not using my talents the way my mother would if she had them, I'm a "waste."

    You're calling your daughter a waste. Think about that. She's a waste because she's not doing what you would have done with her gifts.

    I dare you to consider that she might surprise you. I dare you to consider that maybe YOU are the one who is limiting her by trying to pigeon hole her and put her into a box. I dare you to consider that perhaps she is GREATER THAN YOUR EXPECTATIONS OF HER.

    I can't say for certain that this is the case, as obviously I have just met you, and I haven't met her at all, but what if it were possible?

    I know for a fact that I'm greater than my mother's expectations of me. I would never realize my full potential by playing it her way. And, as Mandela said, and you quoted, "There is no passion to be found playing small--in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."

    P.S. - It won't offend me if you delete this comment, but I hope for your daughter's sake that you read it.

    1. Excuse me? Where in my post did I state that my daughter is a "waste". You obviously sound very bitter towards your own mother. I'm sorry about that. I'm not offended, just surprised. That your resentment and vindictiveness towards your mother spills over to my blog. She had surely done a number on you.

      You have no clue at all about the depth of the relationship my daughter and I have. Therefore I will
      ignore all your accusations and bid you, a good life. And to forgive your mother.

    2. First I'd like to apologize for being accusatory. And you're right, I am quite resentful of my mother, and I don't know you or your daughter or your relationship with her. This, I do willingly admit. But it was in particular the following lines that rankled me:

      "I shudder to think that she might never realize her potential" ... as though if she doesn't do what you want her to do she's not realizing her potential.
      "Yet here she is, sitting on the only thing she's great at" ... as though there's no hope of her being great at anything else.

    3. Apology accepted. Believe me, I see your point. As I have admitted in my main post, "I" blame myself for pushing her too hard. I struggle daily with that knowledge.

      You've also shed some light in this matter because I have painted her into a corner by thinking she can't be great at anything else but singing. So we're both right on one count and wrong on another.

  3. This must be so hard to watch. It's hard to watch our kids become adults and not be interested in the things we want them to be interested in. It's only just beginning with me and my kids. Good luck to you both.

  4. Your daughter has a GORGEOUS voice, first of all. Wow.

    This was me in high school. I have been blessed with a beautiful voice and natural music abilities many people do not have. My mother insisted I play the piano. I studied hard with a professor all through high school and played competitively, memorizing concertos and sonatas and everything from Bach to Chopin to Mendelssohn and Debussy. But, I never appreciated my ability. I cried to my mother about practicing and going to lessons -- they were 45 minutes away from home. I didn't want to do it anymore.

    Now here I am, about 10 years later, and all I want to do is play. I am starting to learn new music and practice on my own. I teach lessons as well and want my students to be the very best they can. To not waste their talents but to nourish them.

    I can see both sides of this so clearly now. I can see the struggling student who takes for granted their talent. I can also see the mother and the teacher who prays their talented student will capitalize on their strength and embrace it!

    Good luck with this. I recommend backing off just a little and as she matures, she will see her gift as what it is -- a gift. It will only be a matter of time. And in the meantime, encourage her other passions and talents. She will learn.

    1. Thank you Jenna. As painful as it is for me to do it, I definitely am backing off her case. Interesting to watch where she'll be heading. You're so talented and I too play the piano. Had a white teacher who married a Tongan and they taught at the church High school. My mother set up lessons with her but it was for a short time then she returned to the states. Only wished I had more time with her to continue the lesson. Thanks again for dropping by.

  5. I read this post twice. Once with the music off and once with your daughter singing in the background. She is amazing and you should be VERY proud of her. She is young and she will find what she is passionate about. With may even be singing. If not, she has a lot of people that love her that will help her figure it all out. Don't be so hard on yourself just like you don't want to be so hard on her anymore.

  6. I'm sorry for your struggle. I know how frustrating it is to watch your children not cultivate their talent. It is a hard one for sure. But have faith that she will find her way!

  7. I just went back to watch the videos, I wanted to finish the post so I hadn't clicked on them. She does have a beautiful voice, and perhaps by you deciding to give her some space on the matter, she will learn to enjoy singing and start to develop some passion for it. I hope so! We all have things we wish we had handled differently with our children, but for the record - I think you're a great mom!

  8. While I agree with you that your daughter does have a great voice and its good that you encourage her, the reality is it does little good, if she is no longer interested in music itself. That's not to say that she hates it, in general - but perhaps, she no longer has any interest in pursuing it. As much as you believe that "Its a waste" or "A terrible shame", your daughter may have other interests in different areas - such as looking into becoming a doctor, child or elderly care provider, scientist, dancer, artist, etc. It is not right for anyone to push people into a box, just because we admire their level of skill (and maybe envy it for ourselves). And as for your other daughters, just because they are not as skilled as their sister just yet, perhaps with some extra training and dedication - maybe they can become good singers as well. One day, your daughter will realize what she wants to do, as a profession and (as long as its nothing questionable or illegal) it really is not up to you to decide for her. If, down the road, she wishes to sing again - then wonderful - but if not, then encourage her in the pursuit of the skill that she IS interested in.