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.
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!
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.