• Rachel Samson

Mother: The Most Noble Heart of Them All

Updated: Sep 25, 2019


Today’s post is dedicated to all the moms who give their children the gift of music.


From the work-in-progress noble heart of a student to her noble-hearted mother:

Looking at your role in my life is like listening to the most beautiful piece of music I’ve ever heard and wondering, “Will I ever be able to play as beautifully as that? Will I ever be able to learn the whole thing?” only to realize that hard as I might try to make it sound just the same, there are a few sections I'll have to compose myself, and a few that I'll have to improvise once I get there.

I try so hard to look back to when I was very very young and remember all the amazing things I know you were doing, but for most of those moments, I’m stuck inside the lens of my own experience! Regardless of what I remember, what I do know is this, Mom: You gave to me in my childhood and adolescence what I didn’t have the ability to give to myself. I’ve grown up and even moved away, now the age you were when you first dreamed of bringing me into the world. You nurtured me into someone who is now capable of giving a mere fraction of that back, but whose life is evidence of all the hard work, heartache, and guidance you have given. I will be forever grateful.

As an expression of that gratitude, here is a small smattering of the things I think about when I think of you:

It’s so easy to think of you as soft, gentle, nurturing, selfless, creative, graceful, kind, generous, and thoughtful.

You’re also fierce when you want to be, and not afraid to give a little carefully-worded push when needed.

And we can’t forget that nobody’s cooking tastes like yours. It’s the best, especially your kimchi pot!


And Mom, you’re pretty. “Your mom’s so pretty!" I hear this all the time from women, from men, old and young... it's agreed! So many ladies are afraid of aging, worried their beauty drains down the bathroom sink. When I see pictures of how you used to look, I smile. You were so pretty! When I see you now, I think, “Yes! I hit the jackpot!” I can only pray I get more beautiful with time, just like my momma. I'm counting on it!

Thank you, Mom, for being a dreamer, and following your dreams here to this country, where you made an inspired life for yourself, and made it possible for me to do the same. Thank you for dreaming of me! You were always imagining who I would become and what you could do to give me the chances to try at anything.

Thank you, Mom, for the discipline and structure you gave me. As strange as it may sound to some, I look back fondly on your words, “I give you consequences because I love you.” Enduring the kindest process of discipline I have ever witnessed, I always took away a lesson (sometimes it took more than once to learn it…) and a stronger understanding of the love in our relationship. Thank you for doing the right thing for me rather than doing what would have been easier, what would have made you more popular at home, and certainly what would have taken up less of your time and energy. I am so grateful for your resolve and foresight. Thank you for having a vision of who you hoped I would become, and for doing what it took to get me there.


Thank you, Mom, for filling my childhood with magic and wonder… so many visits from the tooth fairy, Boba the Leprechaun, Santa, and the Easter Bunny… Those experiences made my heart sparkle, wondering and hoping about all the possibilities out there in the world! Your fantastical bedtime stories and thoughtfully chosen audio cassettes really fed my imagination and helped to keep my childhood sweet just a little bit longer.

Thank you, Mom, for giving me the gift of travel and adventure. You shaped me into someone who can go anywhere at a moment’s notice and really enjoy the journey. You also fostered my adventurous spirit beyond geography-- I’m talking food and color! I love that you let me dress myself as a little girl, and that I grew up with your art on the walls. And how blessed I am that I grew up ready to eat anything... maybe too much! I have so many wonderfully expansive palettes in my life that I owe greatly to you! The world is a much richer place when you can experience its greatness through all the senses!!

Thank you, Mom, for having your priorities straight. Thank you for always reminding me that it’s about family, and that even in the moments when the connecting threads seem very thin, they are as strong as silk!


Thank you, Mom, for your incredible self-discipline, creativity, and strong work ethic. You inspire me to be my best, focused, hard-working self, and to not be afraid to express myself creativity. What a blessing! Thank you for wanting me to have the gift of music, and for the patience you had to make sure that the timing was right before I ventured into the world of string playing. That is one of the best experiences you have given me; I carry it with me, and I share it with studio parents all the time! Perhaps I should share with blog readers someday soon, too.

Thank you, Mom, for not just wanting me to have the gift of music, but for doing what it took to really make sure it got delivered. I remember all the driving back and forth to lessons while you faithfully played the recordings, your amazing note taking system that made you such a great home teacher, being active in my Suzuki studio to support my teacher, being diligent about practice at home-- even if it meant having a hard conversation with your daughter and her unpleasant attitude. The amazing sacrifice it took for us to pick up and move just so I could have amazing opportunities in Cleveland is worth a mention, as well as way more driving! School, rehearsals, and concerts, concerts, concerts!

Thank you, Mom, for showing me that beauty is on the outside, and that it can look all different ways, but that it’s also on the inside, observed in the forms of kindness, generosity, grace, and peacefulness. In particular, I admire the lesson you taught me about not always saying what comes to the tip of your tongue. To me, that is such a powerful skill that proves useful in many different situations and conveys so much grace and poise. I have you to thank for it.


Thank you, Mom, for leading by example all these years with your strength and resilience. Watching you soar through the parts of life that were real victories and pleasures has been a majestic scene where I am filled with pride and hope that I can create great moments just as well as you do! But the real inspiration that has kept me going is witnessing the moments of disappointment, discouragement, failure, and adversity. There are too many times to count, but your ability to bounce back, to not let anyone drag you down or force you to hide your light, THAT is utterly inspiring. You are such a bright, important star when my sky goes dark. I look at you and what you’ve done and, paired with my own strength, I let those moments guide me through dark times.

Thank you, Mom, for giving me so much patience, wisdom, and understanding over the years. Your encouragement has always been thoughtful and genuine. It has always meant so much to me because your words are so steeped in wisdom. You have an old soul that I absolutely delight in! In fact, I’m pretty sure we have old souls that have been together a long time, and I hope they stay together for a long time to come.

I love you, Mom. Thank you for being my mom through everything. I couldn’t be who I am today without you!

Happy Mother’s Day!


Rachel Samson is passionate about applying the legacy of Shinichi Suzuki in her life, and hopes that her mom can be an inspiration to other parents who want to help their children succeed. Rachel and her husband Neil Fong Gilfillan operate Chili Dog Strings in Frisco TX. You can follow her latest string playing thoughts on her studio Facebook page, YouTube channel and Instagram!


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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 :)