Music is my escape. Every time I sit at the piano, I lose track of time. It’s where I go to clear my head, where my creativity ignites, where I process the day’s events, and where I go to just get away.

Growing up, my parents used to say they could tell how I was feeling without even talking to me. They could simply hear my emotions through the way I played each note. My kids will likely tell the same story, along with their own version of how I checked out of the chaos and drama around me by playing louder to stop the fighting. A musical version of yelling without having to raise my voice.

What I love most about my time at the piano, though, is how it has been an ally to me through my parenting years. Often, I will have a child nestle up next to me while playing and ask me to teach them a song. Other times, a more introverted child will sit in the chair behind me without my knowledge and read his book or play a game on the tablet.

Creating beautiful music speaks to my soul and transports me to another place, but as it turns out, it is good for my children, too.

While it gives me a small respite from the day, my children enjoy sitting nearby and listening to the sounds created by my hands.

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Not all of my compositions are flawless, though. In fact, most of them aren’t. I mess up a lot on pieces I have played for years. I play painfully slow when learning a new song, slipping incessantly on the same notes before getting it right the 20th time. My children have witnessed my imperfect playing more times than I can count. And I’m grateful for that.

I’m grateful for an opportunity to use my own mistakes as a lesson on acceptance and grace. Life isn’t always going to be flawless and elegant. Any time we learn something newa sport, a song, a new math sequencewe will stumble before we master it. I love that my children see me stumble on a song, only to play it with gusto a week later. It shows them what progress and determination look like.

I want my children to know it’s OK to make a mistake and that an error doesn’t mean they’re a failure.

I want my children to know learning something new means taking a risk that you might not look perfect . . . and that’s OK.

I want my children to know even if there are times the world looks down on mistakes, I will never look down on them.

I want my children to know their home is a safe place, and mistakes are welcome here.

I want my children to know I make mistakes, and I can learn from them too. It’s why I apologize to the whole family after I lose my temper or when I make a rude comment to someone I love. I am human and I make mistakes, but I also can learn from them and do better in the future. Just like music.

Children need to see their parents mess up from time to time.

If our job is to model positive behavior for them, one of the best things we can do is show them how to accept being less than perfect.

I want my children to try new things and know they likely won’t be flawless the first time around.

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I want them to see me continue to get up each time I get knocked down because it teaches them how to be resilient and fierce.

I want my children to create their own version of beautiful and not live by someone else’s standards. Perhaps those notes on the page were intended for one song, but adjusted ever so slightly, they could yield a brand new and equally glorious masterpiece. I cannot wait to see the beautiful songs my children will create with their lives. 

Lacy Jungman

Lacy Jungman is a wife, mother of four boys, and corporate marketing executive living her best life in Nebraska. She recently co-authored the book In A Good Place, which highlights the journey of an adult daughter navigating the ever-changing terrain of her aging mother. At work, Lacy is known for crafting unique solutions that drive results through innovation and collaboration. At home, she's best known for a killer salmon recipe, cowbells at little league games, driveway beers, and an open door for neighbor kiddos.