Thoughts on Talent on a Sunday Drive

This morning my husband, son, and I drove about 30 minutes to eat breakfast at one of our favorite little cafes. The interior is very log-cabiny, and more than the food (breakfast is my favorite meal to eat out), it is really the cozy atmosphere that I enjoy. I don’t get out much and go far from home these days, and I realized as we were driving that this was the longest trip that I had taken in a very, very long time, probably since the last time we drove there for breakfast a very, very long time ago.

Today was the first chance in many, many months that we had a chance to take a leisurely Sunday (or any) morning drive and eat relatively far from home. During the school year, especially in the past two years, my husband has worked 7 days a week on the classes, activities, and physical structure of “The Great Room” for We, Montana! This year’s classes and performances concluded April 8th, and Jack and James spent the remainder of the month dismantling and packing up “The Great Room” and turning over the keys to the new tenant, ending the lease agreement that Jack and We, Montana! had held since fall, 2018. This is by far not the end of We, Montana! or Authenticity Works, the non-profit under which We, Montana! is a project. It is the end of “The Great Room” and, for now, the homeschool program that Jack has put his heart and soul and time and money into since 2018.

This is both sad and a great relief. Now maybe our Sunday drives can go past the summer.

Off the top of my head (and I’m sure Jack could list more projects with more specifics about those projects) these are the things that would take Jack away from us, sometimes as early as 3 in the morning, for 7 days a week in preparation for the homeschool classes, activities, and performance groups: Remodeling and construction of the interior of the warehouse space; Technical design and construction of lighting and sound for performances; Planning the curriculum and weekly lessons for classes such as US Constitution, Reality-Based Thinking, Etiquette, Public Speaking; Producing power-point presentations for some of those classes; Choosing, Composing, Arranging music for the Choral groups — Kids Choir, Homeschool Glee Club, and Freedom Choir; Producing accompaniment tracks on the Korg Krome; Creating choral scores with Dorico software; Creating rehearsal aids (recordings of the choral parts, together and separately, as well as together with part dominant — that comes out to at least 9 tracks per song); Building and maintaining the websites; Writing and re-writing scripts for the skits classes and the Performance Troupe; Producing the programs for each choral, public speaking, and skits performance; Printing and reprinting and collating and recollating sheet music; Keeping all the office supplies stocked; Cleaning the kitchen area (which he built) and bathroom; Setting up for classes and resetting for the next………

And all this for no financial profit. In fact, our family went quite in the hole. But there was the joy of bringing truth, goodness, and beauty to these students.

And so here’s my thoughts on Talent as promised in the title, and that I expressed to Jack as we drove back this morning. You’ve seen the memes that say, “Oh, you’re so talented? How do you do it?” And the response is: “Practice” But the first person insists: “No, really. You’re so talented. How can you play like that?” And again: “Practice” As I’m pondering why some people refuse to make the connection between time/hard work and great results, I’m thinking that some people would rather just admire your talent than express gratitude and feel beholden to you for all the time and labor you have put into something. You see, if you go on and on about the Talent, you imply that this thing was easy for the person, and that you owe them nothing more than empty praise and placement on a pedestal. In ignoring the hard work that goes into producing the admirable thing, people are also refusing to acknowledge that they too, if only in some small part, could produce the admirable thing. But, no, it is just because you are so Talented. It’s like poof! the music is written and scored and parts recorded…..

I bring this up because this sentiment was expressed over and over to Jack with a big absence, as seen through words and actions, of the time and effort and sweat and frustration (technology is far from cooperative) that went into it all.

Oh, wow! as I’m typing this and working through how to explain this to you, dear readers, and trying to understand the human psychology, or whatever, of it all, I have just had an epiphany, if I may, which I think I should save for another day. Think TULIP on one side and Entitled on both sides.

Stay tuned….

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