Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Investing in Diamond

This is Diamond. She's the latest to break my heart with her tears over not being chosen for the piano class at Hill Elementary. I told Diamond she would be in Dwight's wind class on Wednesday. The tears still came. I showed her a photo of the Wednesday class and she recognized some friends. The tears slowed. I offered to take her picture and the tears stopped, but you can still see a few unshed behind her smile.

Diamond didn't want to explain her return to class, so she asked if she could sit with me. As I rummaged through my crate for something she could help me with, I found the 'Opus' magazine that Craig Hultgren had given me. 'Opus' is the Alabama Symphony Orchestra's program and Craig is interviewed in this issue, including a nice mention of MYO and Scrollworks.

Surprisingly, Diamond read Craig's interview. Then she started browsing through the pages. For her, this was a window onto an alien world. Indeed, the contrast between her neighborhood and the ad content belies the few blocks between Hill Elementary and the Alys Stephens Center. The Halloween concert caught her attention. We read the names of the pieces together: Night on Bald Mountain, Danse macabre. Childhood favorites for me, mysteries for her.

As I sat in my car a few blocks away, waiting to begin piano classes at NorthStar Youth Ministries, I decided to try to scrape together enough personal funds to take Diamond to that Halloween concert. Financially things are tough for me right now. I made my big donation (Which my mom says I mention too much. Sorry!), but then we needed more to buy instruments and pay the teachers. So I tapped every financial cushion I had. Now there's nothing left and I'm living paycheck to paycheck for the first time in my life--except there's no paycheck.

As I contemplated this, I started to smile. If I had not cashed in my IRA mutual funds and index funds at the beginning of the year, I would still be worried because their value would be plummeting. I can listen to the latest Wall Street news and feel personally free (although that does impact our fund raising efforts!).

Instead of losing value, my investment has paid dividends far beyond any returns Wall Street could give me. Look at Diamond's smile. Look at the photos on this blog and on the main orchestra blog. Look at Armani's videos on YouTube. Come to an orchestra rehearsal. Children are the best investment and music is the perfect investment vehicle.

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