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

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Critique Groups

At this time of giving thanks, I just had to share my thankfulness for my writing groups.

This is my lucky week because two of my writing groups meet this week. My Wednesday night “Writing Divas” is such a supportive group. We can throw out ideas, explore thoughts, disagree with each other, laugh a lot, dissect a manuscript into small pieces, catch up on each other’s lives and, last but not least, hug and kiss. I always come away feeling full of warm fuzziness. AND my writing is improving. Next meeting it’s onto query letters (dastardly nemesis that they are). I know I’ll get through it, and maybe get back to querying agents.

My Thursday night group is a highlight of my week. Nothing EVER interferes with Thursday night group. (My family thinks I’m a little compulsive, and I am.) The few pages we turn in every time get scrutinized, acted out (you should see the ninja-moves and swords that show up), reworded and praised. It’s one of the most synergistic groups I’ve ever seen. The pay-off is two members with book contracts, one published author and one with an anthology publication. Soon everyone will be published.

So, my advice (soap box): find yourself a critique group, enjoy the ‘bleep’ out of it and walk the path of love, support and publication.

Happy Holidays, Christy

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Lost

Do you lose things?  Keys?  Shoes?  Papers?  Reading glasses?

I’ve lost them all.  More than once.  Dozens of times.

Lately, I have developed losing things into an art form.  Not that I’m proud of it.  It’s embarrassing. 

You are probably organized.  You probably don’t understand what I’m talking about.  You have probably never lost your purse.  You have probably never lost your shoes.  You have probably never misplaced your cell phone.  Maybe you are left brained.

I am right brained.  I envy left brained people, sort of.  I say sort of, because I love being right brained.  I just hate losing things.   It’s inconvenient, and downright annoying.

Fortunately I never lost any of the children, at least not permanently, and I have never misplaced my house.
I have fixed some of my problems with losing things by having a particular place where I always put those easily lost things.  It works really well, mostly.

I have been missing my car keys for 2 weeks and I have looked everywhere.  That cute little hook thing that keeps them attached to my purse works every time, except for when I don’t take my purse with me.

I know exactly where my purse is and all my shoes except that one pair.  I have lost only one sock from each pair. I tend to lose them on the couch when Friend-husband gives me foot rubs.  Oh well, it’s only socks, and I adore foot rubs.

On Tuesday I lost a little pile of checks that were ready to be deposited.   I wonder if someone sneaked into my house and put them in their pocket.   Not likely.  Where could they be?  

I hope there are a couple of angels with time on their hands today.  I hope they will come to my house  and help me find The Lost.

Linda Garner

Friday, November 7, 2014

Family Talk

I am excited to introduce you to a new book by my awesome friend, Christy Monson.  Christy is a retired psychologist with a wealth of experience and a variety helpful ideas.  No matter what your family dynamics are, you are going to love Family Talk.

Some of the topic covered in this book are family rules, setting goals as a family, problem solving, strengthening relationships, family unity, building self-esteem, working together.  She also tackles tough issues like video game addiction, Aspergergers, Down's syndrom, and fetal alcohol syndrome.  She can help you with temper tantrums, discipline, money management, and much more.

Many families today have trouble connecting.  Many things compete for our time and attention.  If you value family, then you have probably noticed how difficult it can be to put family first, and you may have wondered how to tackle  the difficult issues facing families today.

Whether your family is humming along or struggling you will find valuable information on the pages of this book.  Get your copy today at one of these links.  To buy at Amazon click here.  To buy at Familius click here.  To buy at Christy's website click here.

Once you start turning the pages, you'll understand why Ben Bernstein, said this about Family Talk:

The Family Council Guidebook (Family Talk) is a vital and necessary addition to every 
home. In this day and age when emails, chat rooms, and staring at computer screens are 
rapidly replacing real-time human interaction, what better corrective could there be than a
 guidebook to how to talk with one another in meaningful, productive and healing ways.
 Christy Monson knows what she is talking about. It is a great blessing that she is
 sharing it with all of us.
            —Ben Bernstein, PhD, Author of Test Success! and A Teen's Guide to Success

Gotta run.  I'm off to read my own copy of Family Talk.

Linda Garner

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Cute Shoes

I wore the cute shoes yesterday.  The ones that hurt my feet.  I don’t wear them often.  I really like them though.

In the store I wore them for a really long time to make sure they would be okay.  Now they mostly sit in my closet. 

In the store, they felt fine. “These aren’t really heels,” I told myself.  They don’t count at all.”  In the store, I loved them.

The cute shoes are the only heels I own, because of an agreement I made with my feet.

When I wear the cute shoes, my toes sometimes cramp.  I really like them though.

When I wear the cute shoes, my arches hurt.  

Have you noticed that hardly anyone wears nylons anymore?  I still wear nylons mostly, but I forgot to buy some last week.  My other dressy shoes look weird without nylons.  They feel weird too.
The cute shoes look fine without nylons.  They feel fine without nylons, if you don’t count the toes and the arches.

I wore them on Friday and my toes were okay.  I didn’t have them on very long.
I forgot again about the nylons and I wore them again on Saturday.  I wore them for a very long time.  I wore them to a funeral and then a little later to a piano recital.  My toes didn’t cramp and my arches didn’t ache.

“Hmm…” I thought.

I really like them, and I forgot all about the nylons.

Yesterday I wore them to Church.  Our Church lasts three hours, but most of it is sitting.  My toes didn’t cramp and my arches didn’t ache, but a funny thing happened to my hip.

My hip does not like the cute shoes.  I had been at Church for about 15 minutes when my hip sent me a memo about the cute shoes.  Three hours is a long time even when you are sitting for most of it
I hope my hip forgives me.  She’s not very happy with me right now.  I’m walking kind of funny, and I’m not even wearing shoes.  I hope she forgives me soon.  Who knew that cute shoes could be so much trouble?

I really like them, though.

Linda Garner

Friday, October 31, 2014

Teach Children About the Beauty of the World

Take a walk with a two-year-old. They will stop to look at every bug along the way, pick a few dandelions for a bouquet, and add clutch some small pebbles in their tiny hand.

They love to play in the water. 

Or catch a butterfly.

They notice the beauty of the world. They aren't caught up yet in being first in line, making sure they aren't late, or worrying about the video game on the phone.

Help your children keep this freshness as they learn about their world.
1.                  Explore the world with your children.
2.                  Take time to notice the beauty around you.
3.                  Watch for opportunities to teach them about nature in your back yard.
4.                  Ask questions to find out their interests.
5.                  Provide information on the things they want to know about.

When I get going too fast and become anxious and overwhelmed, all I have to do is take a little time in the world around me. I love to sit on the deck and soak up the sunshine, walk in the hills above our house, and even rake the leaves in our back yard. I am refreshed and ready to go again.

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. Confucius

Read about this and other enrichment ideas for children in Family Talk by Christy Monson
Available on Amazon.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Solution Focused Discussion

There have been times I've been guilty of blaming and lecturing my kids. If we are truthful, we've probably all been down this road. Is there a better way to handle the situation?

The answer is yes. For me, I have to take a little time out and calm myself down before I take care of the problem. While I'm 'timing myself out,' I remember to ask myself the following question:

What do I want my child to learn from this?

*An angry lecture tells the child he is at fault and worthless.
*A calm lecture tell the child he is at fault and the adult is in charge.
*Doling out the consequences tells the child he is at fault and the adult is in charge.
*A discussion tells the child he is of value and can get away with whatever he wants.
*A solution-focused discussion tells the child he is of value. He can solve problems and direct his own life.

Read more about this subject in Family Talk, by Christy Monson

Friday, October 17, 2014

Discuss things with your kids

Take a few minutes each day to talk with your children.

1. Ask them about their day.
2. Listen to what they have to say.
3. Be interested - like you would with a friend.

As you make a conscious effort to do this daily, you will see your relationship with your children growing stronger.

Take time to discuss family problems with your kids.
1. Share the problem
2. Ask for solutions
3. Listen to their suggestions.
4. Try out some of their ideas.

You'll be surprised what great kids you have! That goes without saying because they belong to you!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Confidence is Catching!

Click on image to enlarge.

Don’t you love to be around someone who is confident?  A confident person puts others at ease.  A confident person doesn’t sweat the small stuff.  A confident person is comfortable to be around.

A confident woman doesn't put others down.  She doesn't need to.  She isn't focused on herself.  She isn't conceited or snobby.  She feels good about herself, and she is fun to be with.

A confident woman accepts herself as she is.  She isn’t perfect and she knows it, but she is comfortable with herself.   A confident woman is beautiful, no matter what her size or shape is.  She is not afraid to be herself, and she gives you permission to be yourself.

Give the gift of confidence.  Get comfortable with who you are.  Accept your faults, your flaws, your beauty, your strengths, your weaknesses.

If you have daughters, sisters, nieces, granddaughters, teach them to be confident.  Show them how to be confident.   They want to be like you.

Come to the American Fork Library this Saturday from 3:30 to 5:30 and celebrate confidence, self-worth, and healthy body image with us.  Bring your daughters, your sisters, your nieces.  Bring your granddaughters—your  friends. 
Door prizes, live music, refreshments, and meet the authors and illustrators of from Head to Tummy and Some Secrets Hurt. Get your books signed.

It's never too early to help your child build a healthy body image.  Don’t miss it.

Confidence is Catching.  Pass it on.

Linda Garner

Monday, October 13, 2014

What are you Modeling?

Lately I've heard of younger and younger girls stressing out about their looks, their clothes, or the shape of their body.  Eating disorders are claiming younger victims.  Girls are learning to hate their bodies at an age when they barely know who they are.  How did this happen? 

It’s easy to blame the media, and there is good reason for that, but I am wondering if we might be missing something.  Here’s my question:  What are you modeling?

Do you cringe when you look in the mirror or step on the scales?  Do you ever say unkind things about yourself?  Do you have a hard time accepting a compliment?

Well, do you? 

Look around, and see the faces that are taking their clues from you.  Children are our mirrors. 

Can you help your daughters, sisters, friends, nieces to be comfortable in their skin, by showing them that your are comfortable in yours?

What are you modeling?  Guess who's watching?

Linda Garner

Friday, October 10, 2014

Being Positive about Misbehavior

Our young grandchildren and their parents have been living at our house for the past year. It's been fun to have them there, and great to have the extra time with them.

Sometimes the children get caught up in activities and don't think of the consequences.

One afternoon they picked up walnuts and began to throw them at the white cinder block wall. They laughed and had a lot of fun. Soon the wall was covered with black splats.

I talked to the kids about how the wall looked. They agreed that it didn't look good. I got out the bucket of paint, and they covered the wall.

The splats were still there. That paint didn't work. Off to the hardware store to get some better paint.

This time the paint covered. The girls had fun painting. I don't think they'll use the wall for target practice again.

There was no need for shaming or criticism. The girls learned the lesson they needed to learn and corrected their mistakes, so all was well.

No Negativity necessary.

In fact, the child's self esteem is enhanced in a situation like this because they were able to solve their problem in a positive way.

Build you child's self esteem. Be positive and solution focused with them.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Build Your Child's Self Esteem

What's Your Self-Esteem Booster for your child?

Take a little time each day to watch the way you talk to your kids. 

*What do you say to them when they share a problem?
*How do you react when they tell you things?
*Look at the ways they are trying to solve their problems.
*Can you see the way they view the world? Take a peek at the world from their eyes.

Statements such as:
*That was a very thoughtful way to handle that.
*Looks like you really spent some time thinking about that.
*What a great job you've done!
*How do you feel about your hard work?
help a child look at their own process and feel encouraged about their actions.

Do take time to acknowledge your child's strengths. They are you for such a short time.