My mom grew up in a charismatic Christian family in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She moved to the United States to marry my dad, who grew up in a Mennonite family in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. This interesting combination created a unique family culture. I grew up in Ithaca, New York. I was affected by the American culture around me, my mom’s Argentinian culture, and most of all our faith in Jesus. My mom and dad, but my mom especially, instilled in their kids the priority of work, teaching diligence and responsibility. I am so thankful!

When I started piano lessons, my teacher told me to practice 10 minutes every day. Oh no! That was no good! My mom made my sister and me practice 20 minutes every day from day 1. We put on the timer, and we had to practice for at least 20 minutes. School and piano were priorities. I didn’t play until I had done all my homework and had practiced piano. Our responsibilities always came first.

My mom being involved and encouraging—and sometimes demanding—at the beginning of my piano studies allowed me to learn diligence. As I got older she no longer had to be as involved for me to be responsible. I knew what had to be done. And if I didn’t feel like doing it, I still did, since I’d rather get it over with as soon as possible. (Not that it was never fun.) Then I could enjoy my free time without feeling any pressure. It was actually free time. I had completed my responsibilities first.

Because of how I was trained, procrastination wasn’t as much of a struggle for me. Of course, I don’t always feel like practicing, but I know that I need to be responsible. Practicing piano comes before doing any other fun thing I might feel like doing . . . It’s not that procrastinating is never a temptation, but it’s not the norm. What I’ve actually been learning more recently is just the opposite: how to take a break.