The happiness of the second violin is about accepting that success doesn't always mean being in the first place.
The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou
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A reader sent this letter to the Spanish newspaper El País: "My daughter wants to be the second violin. Not first or soloist, what she wants is to play quietly in the background because that makes her happy."
With her sincere and beautiful words, this mother makes many people think about how they define success. But the world is made for those who want to be famous, for those who dream of achieving the first place.
As Carolina Vázquez (the author of the letter) explains while sharing the story of her daughter, sometimes happiness doesn't come from being in the spotlight or placing first.
Although happiness is associated with working success, fame, money, or being the center of attention, the truth is that many can't relate to those standards. As we grow up, society gives recognition to those who stand out. For example, teachers value more students who consistently raise their hands and share their opinions. However, how about the ones who listen? How about those who aren't extroverts but have valuable things to share?
When someone teaches a child that there's only one way to succeed (by being popular or getting the best grades), it can disconnect them from their talents and skills. For this reason, it's essential to respect each person's personality.
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Even those who aren't the main characters have something valuable to share. The mother that wrote the letter pointed out that her daughter didn't have any problem. Instead, it was the world who judged her for not wanting to be the first violinist. But people forget that an orchestra needs all the instruments. The second and third places are also impressive and worthy.
The world must learn to appreciate first and second violinists equally. This way, it will be easier to empathize with others and understand ourselves better.
Francisca Schneider, a child psychologist who has dedicated her life to respectful parenting, talked with the Chilean magazine Paula about this issue to foment healthier dynamics with children.
The expert told Paula that not allowing a child to express themselves freely and teaching them a specific way to achieve success can disconnect them from their capacities. Consequently, they will think that there is only one way to be happy, and if they don't fit that expectation, they'll feel devastated. Imposing this kind of thinking at such a young age can be very damaging for them in the long term.
On the other hand, when parents respect their children and accept them, kids will feel more confident. Avoiding comparison is crucial to help them feel appreciated and valued.
The philosophy behind the second violin is about accepting that society's expectations aren't necessarily related to happiness. As we support and love our children and help them cultivate their talents, we will build a better world where people will be appreciated for who they are and not their medals.