Music as a helpful distractor

We’ve all heard the expression “house of cards”. This means that things are built on shaky foundations, and are likely to fall in the future when the weight of expectations falls because the supports are not strong enough. When we use this expression, we talk about situations that are unsustainable, or lies that are told that require increasing lies to sustain.

One woman in Japan was worried about the impact of single-parenthood on her daughter. The girl had grown up without knowing her dad and was suffering emotionally, becoming withdrawn, not confident in her own abilities. In her company of her peers she also suffered because perhaps most of her friends had both sets of parents while she did not, and she felt lacking in comparison. The woman decided that drastic action was needed and in the end hired an actor to play the part of a long-last dad. The actor came from a casting agency and usually performed the role of an escort, such as a boyfriend or family member, on a one-off basis, but this job was different in that it required the actor to make prolonged appearances that extended beyond the usual parameters. While the mother took rather drastic actions, she saw how her daughter’s self-confidence returned and how this could be viewed as a constructive approach.

Yet is this merely a house of cards approach? This was voiced by the view of the actor playing the role of a father. Sooner or later the girl will learn that her father is not her birth father, the one person she calls Dad is actually one person who has no relation at all. It also brings in other complications. The actor found the mother falling in love with him, because he was so good at playing the part of a kind caring father that she was falling in love with his character! But how far can this go?

The pianist Fanny Hensel (nee Mendelssohn) grew up under her mother’s wing and while not strictly from a single-parent family, circumstances during that time meant she spent more under her mother’s influence. Lea Mendelssohn realised the advantages of music in teaching useful skills like perseverance and applied knowledge, which is why Fanny grew up to be an accomplished pianist. (You can read more about her in the Piano Lessons N8 website.) And if you are a single parent, starting up music lessons for your child may be a good thing for you too – it would give you time away from your child as they practice!