Mini Blog # 1: Growing Persistence

I offered my grand daughters, Haddie (6) and Kate (7), beginning piano lessons this summer. I didn’t start out with many expectations. Having never taught piano before, I figured we would all learn along the way. One day I announced to them that they would be giving their families a recital in two weeks. They were excited about the idea until they learned that not only would they play the one-hand-at-a-time pieces they had grown comfortable with, but they would also be playing a piece that required both hands at the same time – something they had not yet tried. “But Oma, I can’t do that,” each girl stated in her own way. “That is too hard for me.” Sitting beside them one at a time, I held firmly to the expectation and by the end of the session, both discovered that they actually were capable of learning the two-handed piece. Having grown a bit complacent towards the end of the summer, being stretched was just what they needed. Both the time and effort they put into practice multiplied from that day forward. On recital day, they joined me early to make an Amish cake roll to serve after the performance. The event was a huge success and both girls gained some persistence as well as confidence in their growing skills.  (Both in the kitchen and at the piano!) They are already planning a Christmas recital.  We all know what persistence is —–working through challenges and not giving up. And we know that persistence leads to success. But how do we help our kids grow in it? It’s actually...

Five Interesting Blogs and Podcasts

Happy New Year! May God bless you and your family with joy and peace in 2015. I anticipate an inspirational year and am oddly enthusiastic about what 2015 will hold.  Over the Christmas break, I read some interesting articles and listened to some inspirational podcasts.  Here’s links to five of them: 1. As a parent of adolescents, you are likely forming your opinion about dating or courting: Check out Thomas Ulmstattd’s book he is working on called Courtship in Crisis and consider joining his kickstarter campaign. You can also read his thought provoking article called Why Courtship is Fundamentally Flawed. 2. Are you motivated to get and keep yourself clutter-free this year? Listen to Kathi Lipp’s  podcast and join her “Let’s be Clutter Free in ’15’  challenge. 3. After Christmas, I pondered ways to move the focus of the holiday season for my grandchildren to one of giving rather than getting. I love buying gifts for my children and grandchildren and it’s something I will not stop doing! But each year, we adults ponder how to infuse the concept of giving into all the getting that my grandchildren experience. I went through the same cycle last year but all too soon, the holiday season was back and once again I got busy buying gifts. This season, an article by Steve Murrell, written years ago, got my attention.  In his article, he shares simple ways to move the focus away from getting  to giving.  Now my family has a plan in place for the 2015 holiday season. Check out: Our Christmas Eve Disaster by Steve Murrell – Moving the Christmas...

Fostering a Gritty Work Ethic

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. Ecclesiastes 9:10 Continued from last week—- Kids won’t just work for work’s sake and neither should we.  They need to understand WHY diligent effort is important and WHY they should apply themselves with all their might? They need to know that God uses the discipline of work to forge their character. It’s  “full throttle” effort – doing it with all one’s might –  that turns something boring into something fulfilling.  Only when a child begins to experience the growth within that diligent effort causes, will he begin to actually enjoy work.   On the contrary, he will find no joy in laziness, a state of mind that grows more entrenched and pervasive over time impacting everything and every relationship. He will try though because the idea of work is rarely enticing at the start. The idea of laziness is enticing however. Kids definitely do need times when they are free to do whatever they want to do. They need to feel both the weight of responsibility and the joy of freedom from responsibility. Today’s culture has shifted, perhaps too far, to a belief that kids need more free time and less responsibility than in earlier generations.  Many kids are allowed to avoid work and thus fail to gain the confidence and character qualities  that come from consistent, diligent effort. According to Amelia Hill, correspondent for the Observer, parents who don’t give their kids chores at home...