Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I'm Not Like You

I could see the hurt behind her eyes the minute the words were out of my mouth, but I could not recall them.  I wanted to, but I could not find the words.  They were stuck in my throat.

“I’m not like you,” I had said.

Even if I could have taken them back, I don’t think she would have believed me.  The damage was already done.

I had meant the words.  I suppose that’s why I couldn’t unsay them.

“I don’t think I’ll be the same kind of parent that you were,” I had also said.

We were having a discussion on parenting.  I was home from college for the weekend.  I was studying Child Development and Family Relations as part of my Early Childhood Education major.   I loved what I was learning. 

“It’s not that you did anything wrong…”  I tried to soften the blow.  “It’s just that we’re two different people.”

She gave me that look.  The look that said “You think you know everything.”
I suppose I did think that.  My Mom wasn’t perfect and I knew it.  I saw her flaws and I wanted to be different.   I didn’t want to repeat her mistakes.

“You’ll be surprised,” she said.   “You’ll be surprised to find out how much you are like me.”  It’s all the ammunition she had.

She was right about that, though I didn’t see it at first.

After the parenting classes, the real parenting began, and I was surprised at how often I opened my mouth and heard my mother’s voice come out.   I found myself repeating  her words, her methods.  I tweaked her methods some, but less than I had planned.
As I get older, I often see her in my mirror and I notice that I mirror her in other ways.   She passed her love of writing on to me and her love for music.  Like her, I love to make a difference, hate injustice, and often bite off more than I can chew.

I no longer question her parenting methods because I know that she did the best she could and loved me more than anyone else ever could.  Those are the first two laws of parenting.
Today is her birthday, and though I can no longer visit her, I can remember her with gratitude and hope that she is happy with the woman I have become. 

I hope she smiles when she sees that I am like her after all.

Happy Heavenly Birthday, Mom.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Is Work a Dirty Word in you House?

Are you fun to do chores with? 

Are you too stern? 

Too Critical? 

Is work a dirty word in your house?

Your attitude about chores will influence your child.

If you can enjoy the process and appreciate your child’s efforts, your child will absorb your positive attitude.  If you are impatient and critical your child will absorb your negativity.  If you resent the time spent teaching your child how to do chores, your child may become resistant.

Being positive about work may not solve all your problems, but it will go a long way to creating an atmosphere where working together feels good.

Children don’t learn from criticism.  No one enjoys being criticized.  Criticism makes people feel bad.  Encouragement feels so much better.

Of course you will need to make corrections, but choose your words carefully. Careless words are hard to recall and can damage tender feelings.

Sincere praise can go a long way to making work more enjoyable.  Can praise be overdone?  Maybe, but I doubt it.  Not if it’s meaningful. When I notice that a child is not really doing their part, I swallow my criticism and look for something to praise.

I’m not perfect at this, but when I do it right, it makes all the difference.

It sounds like this:  I noticed that you worked really hard on the sink.  I noticed that you swept the floor without being reminded.  I noticed that you cleaned up after yourself. “I noticed” is a powerful way to start this game, which is really a form of validation.

We need our children to help around the house.  They need to feel validated.  They need to feel needed.  You can validate by noticing and appreciating their efforts, even when their efforts are less than perfect.

Don’t underestimate the value of teaching children to work.  Begin early and be persistent.  Kids who know how to work have an advantage over kids who don’t.

Linda Garner

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Kitchen Sink

First order of business today: Find the kitchen sink. Second: Find the kitchen table. I know they're under here somewhere. I posted that on facebook Monday morning with high hopes.

I am happy to report that I found the kitchen sink.  

Today is Wednesday and I.am still working on the table.  I have made some progress, but the thing is I have to write this post, and answer some emails, and go to the store, and check my facebook, and fold some clothes.

I'm not kidding.  I really have to do all that stuff. and more.

It sounds like I'm stalling, but I'm really not.  I'm just a little buried.  My to do list went Crazy during Christmas, and I'm so far behind that it's hard to know where to start.  

I think I'll take care of ten things from the table, and then one thing from my to do list.  Ten things from my table, and one thing from my to do list.  It has a nice ring to it.  And I also need to go admire ...

The kitchen sink.

Linda Garner

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Piano Parenting 101

Almost a year ago, I was invited to teach at a Suzuki Piano activity.  I taught Suzuki Piano Parents about Suzuki philosophy and gave them some practice ideas and some information on how kids learn.

I am a Suzuki Piano Teacher and I love what I do.  I also love teaching parents how to make things work.  In Suzuki Method the parents are very involved.  They attend lessons with the children and practice at home with the children.
Suzuki Method is highly successful and is used on a variety of instruments.  The method is based on the philosophy that every child can learn and patterned after the way children learn their native language.  Shinichi Suzuki is the founder of the method.  Suzuki Method is for all ages and it is not uncommon for children to begin lessons as young as three years old.

Suzuki was an incredible man with vision and a deep love for children and music.  His philosophy involves respect, kindness, example, consistency, and many other virtues.  He believed that music could change the world.  If you would like to know more about Suzuki Method click here.

Teaching the class was fun for me and I had much more material than I could present in the time allotted.  Some parents wanted more information and I wondered how best to share my ideas with them.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that I had a book to write.  What a fun project that turned out to be.  It practically wrote itself.  Later I decided to add pictures,  photos actually.  Gathering the photos and getting photo releases was quite a process and actually took longer than writing the book. 

The formatting was daunting.  One of my computer-genius sons took pity on me and spent many hours formatting.  The result was this beautiful and helpful book for parents.  Though I wrote it with piano students in mind, I think that the information is helpful for parents of students on any instrument.  In the same spirit, even though it is written with Suzuki Method in mind, a parent of a student studying traditional method will find helpful tips.

You can get this book at the Kindle Store for use on any electronic device.  If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download a Kindle App for your phone, iPad, or computer.  Click here to see my book.  Click here to download a Kindle App.

Linda Garner

I Can't Believe It's Wednesday

I can't believe it's Wednesday.  What happened to Monday and Tuesday?

Remember when I used to blog every Tuesday.  Yep, every Tuesday without fail.  I blogged every Tuesday for years and never missed.  Never missed.

But, yeah, that's been a while, and lately I've missed a lot of Tuesdays, and now it's Wednesday.

I still love you, though.  I'm not breaking up with you or anything.  I just need a little time to figure things out.

Happy Wednesday.

I can't believe it's Wednesday.

Linda Garner

Monday, December 8, 2014

if only i could send it to OUTER DARKNESS

I have a dinner party at my home tomorrow night.   I don't have to do the food, I just have to get the house ready.  My house is a disaster.  My house is often a disaster, but this is a disaster of epic proportions.

I am mostly right brained and so getting the house ready is tricky, even under normal circumstances.  I'm pretty sure these are not normal circumstances.

Since I am mostly right-brained, the very thought of organizing and cleaning puts me in the mood to write, and I could easily spend the entire day writing and wondering where the day went.

Focus.  Cleaning.  Organizing.  I don't know where to start.

I have decided to start with the kitchen table.  I think I can handle that.  It looks a little scary, and involves several ominous looking piles, but I feel I am up to the task.

After the kitchen table, I will do the dishes, sweep and vacuum, and then the bathroom.  It's starting to sound doable. All you left brainers are rolling your eyes about now.  What could be so hard about clearing off the kitchen table, you are thinking.

I don't know.  I just can't wrap my brain around it.  It's those piles.  By the way, my kitchen table is huge.  I love it, but when I bought it, they didn't tell me about the magnet.  Yes, the magnet.  I can't find it, but I know it's in there.  It's a clutter magnet.  At least once a week I pry the clutter off that table and reclassify it.

If only I could send it to outer darkness.  The clutter I mean.

Linda Garner