A Reminder that all Learning Begins at Home

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Last week Teo sang with his classmates and all the kindergarteners at his school in their spring musical performance.  It was predictably adorable!  They sang a lot of old kids songs from Sesame Street and standards like “Do Re Mi”.  Watching these performances has been a joy the past few years!  But, the most memorable take away from this show was something the music teacher said during her introduction.

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Ms. Serrano noted that many parents ask her how to cultivate musical interest and talent in their child.   Her advice was not to enroll them in classes or lessons, but rather to “Play music in your homes, out loud for everyone to hear and sing along.”  She went on to say that parents and kids shouldn’t be listening through ear buds, but over a speaker so there’s a shared experience and everyone can participate.  I loved this!  It was affirming because we do a lot of playing music around our house.  Whether it’s Disney songs, Alan Jackson, or dancing along to Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars, we have music flowing through our house most days or evenings.  For better or for worse, with a small house, everyone is listening to the same thing!

This wise music teacher also commented that listening to music and singing together was the best way for a child’s musical ear to develop.  Goodness, we thought we were just having fun!

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Today, as Sienna and I cooked pancakes and prepped meals for the week, I had the realization that this  principle of doing things with your kids to develop their interest applies in lots of other ways.  By cooking with Sienna, an interest and passion for cooking is cultivated.  Among other things (specifically a Disney singer and actress), Sienna says she wants to be a chef when she grows up.  It occurred to me that I could get her involved in more cooking projects now that she’s older.  She’s totally mastered pancake flipping!  So, I had her transfer browned beef to the slow cooker while I chopped onions.  Later, I took her outside to harvest lemon thyme for our stew and we smelled it’s delicious fragrance together.

While there’s certainly a place for lessons, I believe that children learn skills and come to cherish certain activities because they are done as a family.  Sports, swimming, arts and crafts, etc. can all be enjoyed and taught informally in the everyday life of our home.  I’m writing this more as a reminder to myself than advice for anyone else!  I can easily get caught up in my own activities and agenda, therefore forgetting to mindfully include the kids or take the time to teach when dinner needs to get on the table.

Today we had the music playing loudly and food cooking; then later the kiddie pool out and relaxed family conversation.  It’s fun to scratch just a little below the surface of everydayness and notice all that the kids are learning, all that is shaping their world in the comfort and security of home.

Failing, and Starting Again…

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I’ve failed epically at one of my goals for 2017. Every time I look at the sign we created on New Year’s Eve, which is posted in our cozy kitchen, I feel guilty.  The goal?  Write three blog posts a week.  Oh man.  Here are my excuses reasons for not achieving this goal:

Working in an accounting firm, I am basically in “busy season” mode from mid-February until mid-April each year.  Everything other than the necessities of daily life take a backseat as work is extra busy and my family still requires meals, baths, bedtime stories, and cuddles.  Well, Dennis takes care of his own bathing, but you know what I mean. 🙂

003This year, I was in a very peaceful, reflective mindset during the season of Lent.  I faithfully read my devotions and wrote (nearly) daily prayers as I reflected on Jesus’s final hours, excruciating death, and deep love for us.  It gave me a new perspective and strengthened my resolve to surrender to Him.

How did that hinder my blogging?  Well, it didn’t, really.  But, overall I felt like any insights or thoughts I had to share were insignificant in relation to Jesus’s sacrificial death.  Thinking about the ultimate things in life made me feel small, but in a comforting and peaceful way.  To recall a childhood song: “He’s got the whole world in his hands…” so, there’s nothing for me to do but be still and enjoy His wonderful blessings of love, joy, hope, and peace.

002.JPGBased partly on my education, I think of blog posts like scholarly articles where I have a specific thesis statement to express.  When I started writing Be Still and Know, I had a lot to share in terms of my awakening.  I was full of these ideas that had helped me and I couldn’t wait to get them out for others to read.  But, as those lessons have continued to shape me over the past four years, and God has grown me in other ways, I’ve come to know that life is constantly unfolding.  Something that seems profound and true at one point will later become so obvious it seems silly to write about.

So, I’m striving to change the way I approach this blog.  Instead of looking to craft a specific idea in each post, I’m going to just sit down and write whatever I’m thinking or feeling.  I feel that my words can be used to give joy, hope, and love to others – but only if I write them!  I’m going to prayerfully ask God to direct my content and try to uphold my goal to “Write three blog posts a week”.  Perhaps writing regularly will help shape the atmosphere of growth and everydayness that I hope to create.

Thanks for reading!