Complaint Tuesday

Just so you’ll all know I have the ability to blog about other things besides Waking Up In Africa (now available from Amazon, in print and Kindle, get yours now), I’m going to make an extra effort to write more normal life stuff for a while. By my definition, “a while” means “until I need to say more about the book (now available on Amazon, in print and Kindle, get yours now).

A few days ago, Tuesday in fact, I had a day where almost everyone I dealt with argued with me or went out of their way to make me miserable. Now if you’re one of the people I interacted with on Tuesday, and you DIDN’T argue with me or make my life miserable, relax. I used the word “almost” in front of the word “everyone.” If you don’t recall making me miserable this past Tuesday, you’re probably OK.

I realize I’ve said more than once, on this very blog, that I need to be careful not to complain about my work. One, because I have some pretty fun work I get to do. Two, because a lot of people don’t like their jobs, and I do. Three, a lot of people don’t even have jobs. And four, having spent time last year among impoverished people who would give anything just to go to ANY kind of school, the fact that I get to teach music in two pretty cool schools is a huge bonus. I realize all that.

Yet, Tuesday was a day of unusual complaining, arguing and generally griping at me for everything. And there is almost nothing in the world I hate more than complaining. I hate doing it, I hate hearing it, and I especially hate it when it’s directed at me by kids in school. I do my best to ignore a lot of it, and if I respond, I do my best to respond professionally. Then, sometimes I don’t exactly do my best.

So I’m not going to try to reiterate for you all that was said toward me, or to me about others, on Complaint Tuesday. I’ll leave that to your imagination – you can try to imagine  being in a room with classes of various ages of children, with the majority having some beef about something, which they’ve determined is your fault. I won’t go into details.

I will, however, tell you about the best part of the day, the part that made me laugh out loud and made me thankful for what I do. A little girl was taking her piano lesson with me in the middle-late afternoon. This is a great kid – always in a good mood, funny, enthusiastic, and all that good stuff. She also really struggles with playing the piano. It doesn’t come easy for her. She has a lot of other talents, but the piano is really hard for her.

When a student (a young student) gets a song done, I put a sticker in his/her book. They all think that’s cool, and they get excited about getting the stickers. This girl has been struggling for several weeks on a few songs, and on Tuesday they were better, but not quite sticker-worthy yet. I couldn’t give them to her. And she was OK with that, because she’s pretty much eternally cheerful.

Then we turned the page, to another song she was assigned. And she said to me, “OK, I hope you’ve got those stickers handy, because I’m about to rock your world with this song!!”

And she did – not only with the way she played the song, but also with the way she was working hard, not griping, and giving her best. And the way she was not complaining about how hard the songs were. I wanted to give her the whole sheet of stickers.

It’s always a cool thing how, even on Complaint Tuesday, just one comment from the right person, at the right moment can erase all of it. So if Tuesdays are going to turn out to be the Weekly Day of Complaints, I’m really glad I have this kid scheduled for Tuesday afternoons.

You may want to try to get someone like that in your life.

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