By the time we were listening to Chopin while driving across the George Washington Bridge, I realized I’d done something right for my son.
Just the night before, I had a mini-van full of sweaty soccer players sharing stories of and having to do with the toilet. This, I knew. This, I grew up with, having played soccer since age 9 through college and beyond. And now, as my younger son’s soccer coach, I get to live it all over again, though frankly, I could do with a little less potty humor.
But my older son is not a soccer player. He is a musician and an artist, and I know little about music and even less about art. Sometimes I worry that he won’t get the same insider’s look at his passions as his little brother will get from soccer and from me, because I often can’t tell Mozart from Beethoven, or Chagall from Monet.
Just the other day, I watched this video of my cousin’s six-year-old son playing the drums with his very musical father and uncles, and I thought, I’ll never be able to teach my kid anything close to this:
But today, I took my son Nick, the artist/musician, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in nearby New York City while his little brother was at soccer camp.
There, the Information desk attendant figured that Nick would want to see the Arms and Armor section, where impressive suits of armor and weaponry, possibly used by some of our ancestors from Germany and England, are on display:
But he really wanted to see the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. Also, the huge metal sculpture on the museum’s roof:
And the thing is that I could provide no insight into any of it except what I read on the plaques on the walls. I don’t know much about composition or technique or style. I know corner kicks. Poor kid.
But we learned a lot together today at the museum. We studied Japanese scrolls, Greek statues (even the naked ones — tee hee) and medieval stained glass. We read about Venetian architecture and European Impressionism. We marveled at the 2000 year-old sarcophagus and Paul Revere’s spurs.We learned about his passion of art together, and somehow, that was okay. It turns out that I don’t have to know everything, because frankly, my son knows a lot already. I was learning from him instead.
On the way home, we listened to classical music — his favorite kind of music — on the radio. And though I could offer no insight into Chopin, I could enjoy it with my son the same way I enjoy coaching soccer.
Besides, he sat next to me while I wrote this and offered editing advice along the way. So perhaps, we might have at least one passion we share. A passion which, thankfully, rarely involves jokes about poop.