Thursday, May 2, 2019

Daughters, Daddys and Guitars

When I was a teenager I really really really wanted to learn to play guitar. I saved up my paper route money and bought a Harmony H-802 sunburst reissue. It came with a small plastic amp that ran on batteries. I knew nothing about playing guitar. I had played the tuba in the school band. (Insert your own jokes here) I also had a few months of piano lessons but I wanted to shred on the guitar. I bought a black and white checkerboard guitar strap, a beginner guitar book and was ready to jam. Only it never happened. I learned a few cords and would pick it up from time to time and say "This time I'm going to get with it and really learn to play" I eventually bought my second guitar. A black stratocaster copy made in Korea. I learned a bit more, bought a few distortion pedals and could rock out with my power cords to a few songs but never felt like a guitar player. 

Over the years I bought a few other guitars. My wife even bought me a Gregg Bennett Samich acoustic guitar so I could practice more often without having to drag out the amp, cords and pedals. But I never really hit a level of guitar playing I felt confident in. 

One day I can home to find a note on my daughters marker board addressed to me. She wrote Dad, will teach me to play guitar. I was excited to jump at the chance. Neither of her older brothers had any interest in playing a instrument or even much love for music as I did. I let her use my red Fender Squier Bullet and I used my black strat to show her a few cords. I let her keep the bullet in her room and I would hear her strumming away. What a advantage she had. This little thing called YouTube helped her learn a lot. Soon I was hearing recognizable songs coming from her room. 

On a trip to Minneapolis we came across a First Act acoustic guitar for $25 in a thrift store. We picked it up, had it restrung and set up the best we could. She used that guitar to learn to play. She sat in her room, disciplined, working, playing. She was getting good.

Our church was offering a get together for those who were interested in learning the guitar. We thought this would be a great way to spend time together and learn some things. We would attend the class and strum along. Mostly playing cords we already knew but it was fun just hanging out playing guitar. 

Soon she bought her own electric guitar and for Christmas I gave her a gig bag and a pink and black checker board guitar strap. I wanted her to look as cool as I thought I did back when I was her age. 

Recently we were invited to start sitting in with the worship team at our church and I started seeing just how good my daughter has become. In some areas she is better than I am. Now after trying to play guitar for over 30 years and to have a 16 year old show you a cord you do not know can really hit your ego. But that's ok. I taught her her first cords why shouldn't she help show me some. 

The real high point in this came when we were invited to actually play with the worship team during a service. For me it was surreal. A musician I admire for his skill and abilities believed I was good enough to stand in front of people and play. After 30 years I finally felt like I achieved the goal I set out to reach so long ago. I so often spend my time telling others that you can achieve your goals and that they don't always happen on your time frame and here is some proof. 

Thirty plus years ago I started learning to play guitar. Thirty plus years ago God set in motion a skill that I can now use to worship Him. He also set in motion something that my daughter and I can connect over. When other parents are having a hard time with their teenager I'm playing music with mine. 

That first time I stood up there playing in worship was a confirmation in my abilities and my daughters. Her's was confirmed at age 16. Mine, 50. But the fact that we both were up there together, sharing that moment is a memory that we will both have forever and if I never played again, it would have all been worth it.

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