Monday, July 14, 2008

Excuses, Excuses

I have fourteen piano students. Many of them do not practice as they should, and invariably they have very good reasons why not. For instance:

"We got a new dog and that took all of our time."

"I was just too tired all the time."

"My mom wouldn't let me."

"I just didn't understand."

"It was just too hot."

"We didn't get home until late."

But this next one was my favorite. The little boy, who is five, began to play his piece and was noticeably fumbling. He kept playing his way through, and in between measures, this was our conversation:

"You didn't practice this song enough, did you?"

"Well, I had to go to the bathroom."

"The whole week?"


"Whoa. That's weird. I've never heard of having to go to the bathroom for an entire week."

"Yeah. I had diarrhea."

"For a week?"


"You're lucky you're not dead. Did you have time to eat?"

"Yeah, but the rest of the time I was going to the bathroom."

"Did you have time to watch TV?"

"Yeah, but then I had to go to the bathroom."

"Were you able to sleep?"

"Yeah, but when I woke up I had to go back to the bathroom."

"This is the weirdest excuse I've ever heard, you know."

And so it was. And meanwhile, Mom was cracking up in the back room listening to this story of her son's intestinal backfiring. No, she said, he wasn't sick in any way. So why go to such lengths to excuse not practicing?

Well, probably the same reason I go to such lengths to excuse myself from not doing any number of things that I know I should be doing. Exercising, cleaning the bathrooms, writing a letter to my grandmothers, playing with my children more, finishing that article, reading my scriptures, eating carrots instead of cookies, you get the idea.

'cause I'm too tired.

'cause the noise would wake up the baby.

'cause I can't find a pen.

'cause it's too hot.

'cause I'm upstairs and my scriptures are downstairs.

'cause cookies taste better.

But the truth would be that because right now I'm feeling like a lazy procrastinator who'd rather do fun things than dutiful things and. . . (now we're getting to the heart of things!)

I don't feel like it!

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Don said...

Yeah, I feel guilty now. Thanks.


Misty said...

if only we were honest with ourselves more often, right? Because I tell you- i am a habitual excuse maker as well!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

I never made excuses for not practicing, but I've sure got the hang of it now!

Saint Holiday said...

What if a humble guy has more to do than three people could reasonably do in a day, while the expectation to complete all assignments is fixed and unwavering, and he continually finds himself compelled to make excuses? Should he just leave final instructions and jump off the chicken coop? I know a guy like that, and he's had diarrhea since law school. What should I advise him?

The Ancient of Weeks

Lesley said...

'cause the computer is calling to me...

Misty said...

Hmmmm...I'm trying to figure out when I can use the week-long diarreah excuse. Obviously it has to be used wisely, but just when would be *the perfect* time? I think I'll tuck it away and save it until the perfect opportunity arises.

Caution/Lisa said...

Three of my kids take piano lessons. They practice once per week. Our neighbors' kids practice one hour per night, then one hour for extra homework, then another hour for practicing Chinese, then another hour simply for reading. *sigh* Perhaps I need to grow a backbone!

Sarah said...

I honestly hate sending my girls to piano when I know they have not practiced. Not just because I feel it's a waste of my money, but mostly because I feel like I'm wasting the teacher's time, even though I'm paying her. Rylie has always been pretty self motivated when it comes to practicing. Alyssa on the other hand, she's a different story. It got to the point that I told her I was going to take her out of piano. I gave her 2 weeks to prove to me that she wanted to stay in and the only way to do this was to practice atleast 4 times a week. Of course that was just before their recital and 4 week break. The last couple of days though, she's been at the piano multiple times each day. I guess it's a start, right?