I'd Rather Art than Fart

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:

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But he really wanted to see the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. Also, the huge metal sculpture on the museum’s roof:

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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.file0467We 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.

No responses to “I'd Rather Art than Fart”

  1. Christine

    Great post! I have the opposite problem with my youngest, who is ever-in-motion. I’m much better at guiding my older boy through music, art and cinema. Karate? What’s that? Congrats on doing a great job with both boys, and with such grace. :)

  2. Roadgod

    It’s good to know that you are open enough to admit that there are things you just don’t know. Also, that you are still willing to learn and not shut things out just because they are things that may not totally interest you or know anything about.

    By giving your child the means to learn and continue to wonder about things that interest him, you have not only given him fuel for his wonder but also knowledge he will hopefully share with others in the future.

    But most important of all, you spent quality time with your child. You gave each other a memory. A memory so interesting that you both won’t forget. Something I think is lacking way too much in today’s society. Thank you for sharing and hopefully giving someone else a way to help their children with things they may not know either.

    Signed,
    Roadgod
    AKA A big doofis from the past :)

  3. Cindy La Ferle

    What a great post — and what a fabulous mom you are! As a woman who loves the arts and was lucky enough to have been raised by a mom who’s an artist, I laud your sense of balance in raising your kids. I have to tell you though — While I played piano, wrote poetry, drew, painted, and all sorts of artsy things when I was a little girl … I absolutely LOVED fart jokes and toilet humor, and still do !!

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