• Rachel Samson

Suzuki Triangle Talks-- Environment I

Updated: Sep 25, 2019


Parents all have dreams for their children. Wanting the best for our children means doing the best that we can do.

Every parent I've met has dreams for his or her child. It could be to learn an instrument, to learn a second or third language, or to become a kind and productive human being. Or to, in some other capacity, change the world.

And while children can absolutely change the world (I believe that), I also think that we need to consider that the world that surrounds us can ABSOLUTELY change our children.

This can be negative or positive, so I'd like us to consider this today.


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Dr. Suzuki says the following: "Children behave the same as their parents. They absorb the actions of their parents by merely watching them. This is the same whether they are scolded or not. Children only know the way their parents act, and so they act accordingly. Small children do not learn by willpower, they learn as a natural function of growth."

That last sentence really got to me-- "Small children do not learn by willpower, they learn as a natural function of growth."

Based on the stage of development that young children are in, they're in a constant state of learning. They're absorbing everything in their surroundings and they cannot discern what they should and shouldn't absorb from their environment. It's a very sobering responsibility and distinct privilege for the adults in children's lives to make sure that the proper things are included in a child's environment, and that certain things aren't present in that child's environment.

So, I think that self reflection is important for every adult. Just in terms of their personal growth, but also in considering children--if there's an undesirable behavior, I think it's totally healthy to look inward and see if perhaps there's some inadvertent contribution you're making to your child's environment.

I chat with friends and parents all the time who say, "The other day, my child just said 'such and such'. And I thought about it, and I was totally astonished when I realized I say the exact same thing!" Because they're constantly learning, they're like sponges, and they just take it all in. And they can surprise us sometimes with what they put back out there!

So, just encouraging some self reflection. Additionally, on a positive side of this in terms of what we can include in your child's environment...one of the main tenets in Suzuki method is listening. I would encourage all of you who are striving to learn an instrument--it can be violin, cello, flute, clarinet, voice, piano, harp--any of those...and others that I didn't mention. Guitar! I would recommend highly that you're listening to your recordings every day. I know that all Suzuki teachers recommend that, and that's because when it's in your child's environment, they're constantly absorbing that. If they're hearing that and surrounded by it, they're internalizing it, and it will be that much easier to turn around and take ownership of what's been in their environment and produce it again and again, consistently.

Ok, so those are my thoughts for today. Thanks for listening, and let me know if you have any comments or feedback. Take care!


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© 2019 by NEIL FONG GILFILLAN and RACHEL SAMSON.

Special photo credit to Keli Cardoso de Melo who took so many of the photos we use on our website :)