Yesterday afternoon the three older children were in their music school's Christmas recital. It seems that every day someone tells me, "Your children all look so much alike," but it struck me during the performance how emotionally they are so different. Maggie eagerly practiced The Mermaid by Faber over and over from the time we got home from Mass to the moment we got in the van. I was thoroughly sick of listening to it, but she performed it flawlessly and sported a huge grin before practically skipping back down the aisle. Mary practiced The Queen's Harpsichord by George as few times as possible beforehand and was so nervous before she walked up to the grand piano that she refused to sit with us and had a blotchy face from a sudden crying nervous spell. She only hesitated one time during her performance and escaped from the sight of strangers as soon as possible. Will practiced Jingle Bells by Pierpont enough to know he could play it at a normal speed (his teacher constantly has to urge him to slow down from warp speed) and played it flawlessly, but I was disappointed by the slight scowl on his face during the walk back to his seat.
Of course the other three children are each different in personality as well, keeping me on my toes to encourage and discipline each one in a way that is effective. This is the biggest challenge in raising and homeschooling a large brood, what works for one child doesn't necessarily work for another and each requires an intimate knowledge to attempt to help them grow into saints. Our efforts sometimes are lacking, but in realizing that each child is a unique soul is the first step in achieving success.