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The most courageous thing I’ve seen in a long time


The most courageous thing I’ve seen in a long time happened at our eight-year-old’s first piano recital.

I was expecting to celebrate him and his new commitment to playing piano. I was not, however, expecting to watch the recital through eyes full of tears, witnessing immense courage in action.

Before the recital, he was super nervous. He kept saying, “I can’t do it. I’m too scared.” My partner and I assured him that it’s perfectly normal to be nervous, that it means you care, and—mostly—changing the subject to keep him from going down the wormhole.

When his turn came, he had a look of terror, but as his teacher, who he was playing a duet with, stepped up to the piano, he stood up, said his name and the piece he was playing, then went to the piano and played it.

It wasn’t perfect.

But it was brilliant.

And as the recital went on, courage was on display over and over and over. Kids whose little fingers were trembling stood up and played. An older student’s harp piece, “Bittersweet,” captured more about life than I can explain. And a neurodivergent teen’s drumming to “Let It Be” rocked me to my soul. My heart almost burst thinking about all that this kid is navigating, paired with the beauty and power of one of the most profound songs ever written.

The whole thing was a testament to music and a celebration of humanness.

So next time you’re nervous about a presentation, conversation or putting yourself out there, remember that there’s a kid somewhere, playing music in front of an audience for the first time, shaking with nervousness, who is standing up and stepping into the moment.

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