Monday, May 31, 2010

Thoughts on "Mr. Holland's Opus"

I watched Mr. Holland's Opus for the first time last night. I'd seen clips from it before, but never the whole movie.

For those of you readers who have not seen this movie, put it next on your movie-watching queue. I was blown away by this realistic portrait of a teacher, musician, husband, and father. Mr. Holland, full of his weaknesses, proved to be a hero in the end, and made all of us watching the movie get a bit teary-eyed.

I think it was Mr. Holland's weaknesses that made him such a believable character. I, for one, identified with his passion for music, and also how that came with its own set of temptations.

As a musician, it is easy to let a love for music take precedence over everything else, even the people to whom you are teaching it. Watching Mr. Holland deal with the pressures of teaching people who didn't seem destined for success was inspiring for me. It wasn't easy, but he learned how to offer both criticism and encouragement, and how to teach in a way that inspired enjoyment in the kids.

He also had to learn that his personal musical goals could sometimes play second fiddle (Pardon the pun; I know it's terrible!) to his family life. This was another hard lesson for Mr. Holland, and it is something with which I easily identify. When is the time to focus and prioritize time as a musician, and when is the time to set aside the metronome and listen to a friend? It is difficult to recognize that there may be seasons in my life when classical music will have to be lower on the priority list.

Still, the movie also captured the rewards of prioritizing correctly. Things fell into place when Mr. Holland learned to place family and students first. Will this always happen? Not perfectly like it did for Mr. Holland, perhaps, but we are promised that "all these things will be added to you" when we seek the Kingdom first.

With love from an absolute doll,

Erin Joy

Sunday, May 23, 2010

a concussion, finals week, and finally a blogpost...

Life advice: Do NOT get a concussion during finals week of spring semester.

I did not follow this life advice.

The Sunday night before finals, my roommate was opening the door for me. It was one of those big, heavy metal fire doors, which probably weighs about three times as much as a little doll like me. As she opened it and I started to walk through, it caught on my foot, ricocheted back, and slammed my head between the door and the doorframe.

Two days later, I went to health service, was diagnosed with a concussion, and decided to complete my final exams. My stuffing was a bit rattled and squished, so the doctor wrote me a note to give to my professors. I spread my finals over the rest of the week, and I still have to finish one paper. I spend most of my week napping, taking Tylenol, and trying to pack (with the help of another friend who ought to be nominated for sainthood!).

I learned a few things through this concussion (besides the life advice already mentioned). First, always start projects early. If I hadn't started some of my assignments ahead of time, I never would have survived finals week in one piece, because the workload I would have tried to accomplish would have been double or triple.

I also learned to be very grateful for good friends! There were lots of wonderful people who helped, whether it were packing my suitcases, cleaning the apartment, taking my shifts at work, or telling me to go to bed. (Hey... I'm tough! I don't want to admit that a concussion can get me down...)

And, finally, I learned that, in general, slamming your head in a door is something to be avoided.

With love from an absolute doll,

Erin Joy