A Canadian mother is selling her home so that she can pay for her 15-year-old son’s violin lessons and her 18-year-old son’s education. It’s a huge sacrifice, but one that I think most of us would make.
Michelle Yen-Howland lives with her son, Ryan, in Victoria, B.C. Ryan, 15, has been playing the violin for a decade and now competes at an international level. This kid practices for five hours a day and hopes to be a concert violinist when he grows up. So the commitment and the talent are there, clearly. But violin lessons are expensive, as are trips like the one he is taking to Switzerland later this month to compete in the International Boris Goldstein Violin Competition.
His older brother, Ian, studies film animation in Paris, which also carries a hefty price tag. But Michelle, a former piano teacher, is doing everything she can to support her sons’ dreams. As she said on Global News:
”The younger generation’s future is more important than having a house…I can live by myself and see all the success they have…I want to do it because they are my sons. They are everything to me.”
I admit that when I first read this story I didn’t know how I felt about it. My knee-jerk reaction was, “That is bat-shit insane.” I thought that this was a case of a sad, lonely woman who is putting her son’s whims above her own needs. But then I watched the video at Global News, and I realized that I would do the exact same thing. In her situation, who wouldn’t?
She doesn’t need the house. She plans to move into a smaller apartment and is perfectly content with that. And more importantly, she is showing her sons that she believes in them, and that what she wants more than anything is for them to be happy and fulfilled. Isn’t that what we all want for our kids?
Some commenters say that she is making a mistake because as a concert violinist her son will never make enough money to pay her back. But that’s not the point here, is it? I would guess that she isn’t particularly concerned about getting paid back, because clearly the money isn’t the most important part of the equation for her. She just wants to see her kids happy. And if I were in her shoes, I would do the same thing. No question.
What do you think? Is this an understandable sacrifice or is she going too far?
(Photo: Twitter via @GlobalBC)