Learning From the People Served by Mosaic

Shari plays the piano

Our work at Mosaic is filled with surprising, spontaneous teaching moments. Here’s one that was shared recently.

Shari, a woman served by Mosaic in Delaware, was attending an art event as a volunteer. When she saw a piano, she sat down and started to play.

No one knew Shari could play the piano.

She played passionately for about an hour, a variety of songs, and one right after another. She played each song from memory, including gospel music, American traditional tunes, nursery rhymes, and classical pieces.

Afterward, on the road home, the staff member who was with Shari asked her how she became such a talented pianist. Here’s the conversation that took place:

Employee: Shari, did you have a piano growing up?
Shari: Oh, no.
Employee: Did you ever take piano lessons or have a piano teacher?
Shari: No. No, I didn’t.
Employee: Did anyone in your family play the piano?
Shari: No. Just me.
Employee: So Shari, who taught you how to play? How do you know all those songs?
Shari: God. God teaches me how to play. He teaches me the songs I need to know.

For Shari, playing the piano is an expression of faith – God teaches her what she needs to know and she acts on it. She doesn’t question “how,” she just acts. In this situation, she walked in, saw a piano, sat down and began playing.

While I don’t work in direct care at Mosaic, what I’ve witnessed indicates this type of directness is pretty common among the people Mosaic supports. There rarely, if ever, is artifice. Instead there is an authenticity of expression that is based on needs and wants. It’s honest and understandable.

When I interview direct support staff about their job, one of the comments I hear repeatedly is how much the people who serve learn from the people served. Shari’s story seems to be a good example.

Life doesn’t always work the way we think it does; the answers we expect aren’t the ones we get. Those are teaching moments – and we’re the ones being taught.

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