Embrace The Challenge

Embrace the Challenge is one of our Core Values here at Oregon Music Academy. And it’s a special focus for next month as we kick off our 90 day Practice Challenge. I’ve had some great discussions with parents, students, and teachers about what Embracing The Challenge means and I wanted to share a few thoughts from those conversations.

Matthew Dolphin
President, Oregon Music Academy

Musicians are Special

People who take lessons and and make music are special. They actively seek out challenges: The challenge of learning something new, The challenge of fitting into your schedule something that is important and that you enjoy between all of the other tasks that keep piling up, The challenge of persisting through slow progress before a major breakthrough. With music there’s always a new song to learn and skill to polish up. There’s often a hurdle between you and your goals.

Part of a Life Well Lived

Life is full of challenges. Some large. Some small. In our lives, we’re going to face many obstacles and challenges. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. And the truth is we’re facing them all the time! Some call it the human condition. Dare I say… if you can’t list off a couple challenges you’re facing in your life, you’re probably not living life to its fullest.

Challenges are Gifts

When we see life’s problems, obstacles, and frustrations as gifts, we realize that wrapped inside of every challenge is an opportunity. Challenges can also come in the form of hopes and dreams – those voices and visions in our head and heart that are calling out and asking to be turned into concrete goals and action. To truly embrace a challenge means cradling it in your hands as if it was the best present you’ve ever received. It means persistently holding it close to you until you’ve overcome it.

Embracing is Active

This isn’t about passively accepting the obstacles that come your way. Embracing the challenge is more active than that. It’s about taking the initiative and seeking new ways to stretch yourself. It means throwing your arms wide open and running toward opportunities to learn and grow.

The Joy of Challenges

How we approach challenges is a huge determining factor to our success and happiness in life. It’s easy to be cheerful and excited when the path is smooth. How we handle bumps in the road tells a great deal about our character. You don’t overcome adversity by running away from it. You can’t make problems disappear by burying your head in the sand. Giving up doesn’t make the challenge go away. And whining and grumbling won’t make things any easier. To truly embrace a challenge means grinning from ear to ear and giving your challenge a big-ol’ bear hug.

Struggling with Challenges

Sometimes the biggest challenge of them all is Embracing the Challenge! Who doesn’t struggle with these things from time to time? As I write this up (for the second time!!!), I’m smiling from ear to ear. I wasn’t so cheerful a few hours ago when my computer crashed and I lost several hours of work. Did I grumble? Absolutely! Did I whine? You bet! Did I want to throw in the towel? Yup. Lucky for me I have a spouse that gently reminded me to Embrace the Challenge.

One of the greatest gifts we can give others is encouragement and support as they work through their challenges. As a teacher and parent it’s what we’re called to do. We hope that with practice our kids and students will learn how to embrace any challenge that comes their way.

How about you?

What does Embrace the Challenge mean to you and your family? Are you struggling with a particularly tough challenge? Let us know. We’ve helped hundreds of students and families overcome obstacles big and small over the past 10 years. We’re here to help and serve you.