Monday, February 28, 2011

"Standing Ovation"

In the middle of the 20th century, a woman by the name of Shin'ichi Suzuki developed a philosophy geared to achieve high ability and beautiful character in children who want to play an instrument. Within the guidelines of a nurturing environment, the Suzuki method takes a child through small steps that allow for individual growth on their instrument of choice through immersion, encouragement, and an unforced timetable. Most often the Suzuki method is used with children who want to play the piano or violin. Now a world-famous approach, this method has helped thousands of children attain an advanced level of musical achievement.

For children who play the violin, the first two steps of the Suzuki method are ingenious. The first step is to learn the proper stance. Standing correctly is the basis for success for every violinist. I am reminded how the great basketball coach, John Wooden, routinely took his UCLA men's team through their first practice teaching them nothing more than how to wear their socks correctly and how to tie their shoes.

The second step in the Suzuki system for violin players, is to teach them how to bow. How many times have we gone to concerts and not known exactly when to applaud? When there is a pause, is the music over? Was a mistake made? Unless you are familiar with the music, you really don't know. So children in the Suzuki system are taught to stop and bow. The automatic response from the audience is always applause. This gives positive reinforcement to the performer and an opportunity for supporters to express their gratitude.

It occurs to me, that in the Lord's church we need these two principles. We first need to teach people how to stand in the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4). If we stand correctly then everything else can also be done correctly and we will be pleasing to our heavenly Father. Second, we need to appreciate each other more. We should not have to wait for people to bow before we praise them. We need to exhort one another all of the time (Heb. 10:25). How important it is for every Christian to participate in edification! No Christian can ever be encouraged "too much" in matters that deal with the development of their faith.

I am interested in teaching my children to stand correctly. I am interested in applauding their efforts. I believe most parents are interested in these things. If we will apply these interests to the life of every child of God, our music will be more beautiful, our offering more sweet, and our lives more blessed.

"Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification." ~ Romans 15:2

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