The current state of the world comes with a continuous stream of changes, curveballs, and disappointments. One of those disappointments was the last-minute cancellation of my son’s 8th Grade band concert last night. I blew that off as one of those things that just happens in a situation like this until I got the following email from the band teacher sharing the resilience of these middle schoolers. It’s a lesson we can all learn from as we embrace the challenges ahead of us…

“Yesterday, I had both 8th grade A and B day bands with me. The A and B band only get to play together six times each year between rehearsals and the concert. Today, we were going to put tonight’s concert together in one last forty-minute rehearsal. 

The group entered the room ready to go and knew what we needed to accomplish. I was impressed by their maturity from the moment they walked into the room. We had five pieces to perform, and we played through the first two quickly. They sounded amazing. I was blown away by how far they’ve come. 

After our second piece, the principal walked in to give us the news about the cancellation. The reaction in the room included several gasps, groans, and looks of disappointment. A few students were even brought to tears. We had a quick discussion, and I gave students a few minutes to text or call families. 

After a few minutes, a couple of students asked, “Can we keep playing?”

We played through our last three pieces together, and it was remarkable how much heart and emotion the students put into their performance despite the cancellation. I will never forget this – it was one of the most touching moments of my teaching career.” 

“Can we keep playing?”

That was a defining moment for those kids. It would have been easy to get pulled down into the disappointment and the tears. All that work, and for what? Just so it would be cancelled? It’s not fair. It’s not right. We earned the right to perform.

I am so impressed by these kids and the way they reacted in the face of their loss and disappointment. Even amid this setback, and the letdown of having their concert get canceled, they played on. No audience, no applause, no recognition. They kept playing because it’s what they love to do. It’s what they’ve been working so hard for – to create something amazing together. And so, that’s what they did. They made music in the midst of the adversity and faced the challenge head-on with a level of maturity that we can all learn from. 

A quick dad brag… one of those kids who asked if they could keep playing was mine. Hearing his version of the story today, I couldn’t be more proud of how he stepped up or the kind of kids that Cristina and I are raising side-by-side with his mom and stepdad. We’re doing an OK job as parents… maybe better than OK.

The Takeaway

The next few weeks and months are going to present us with challenges, disappointments, and setbacks. They’re coming, whether we want them to or not. It’s not the circumstances we’re facing that we need to be most afraid of, it’s how we react to those circumstances that we should pay attention to. Those are our defining moments. Like those 8th graders, we have the opportunity to be a light when things get dark and help pull everyone forward when things start to slide backward. This week, and the next, be that light and keep playing.

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If you enjoyed this and you feel like you might need a little more positivity in the next few weeks and months, subscribe to the blog and join me here. There will be more bumps along the road to come (there always are) but feeding yourself the right messages will be the key to thriving. We’re better together… thanks for being part of this with me. – John