Monday, February 16, 2015

Parenting Tip - Go Ahead and Use That Cell Phone!

Technology is here to stay and it just keeps getting better and smarter.  We can stay in the dark ages and fall behind the times, we can worry and fret about the bad uses of technology, or we can educate our children (and ourselves) and use technology!

I could not see the advantage of having a "smart phone" and was content to keep using my old cell phone.  I have a computer at home, I teach from home and I stay at home quite a bit, so why not just use my computer for all my internet needs?  But my children and friends told me once I bought a smart phone, I would immediately see the advantage and wonder how I got along without it.

They were right!  I LOVE my smart phone and use it all the time, especially to stay in touch with family and friends.  But I also use it when I teach piano and music classes.

I especially LOVE to use my phone when I'm around my grandchildren.  I take way too many photos and videos of them, but it's so easy to delete the ones I don't want, and it's so fun to utilize the ones I do want.

Not only is the camera fun to use on a cell phone, but I love using the video recorder and voice recorder.

Here are some ways I've taken technology and used it to enhance my fun--yes my fun!
Video recordings of:
1.  my grandchildren digging holes in the back yard, putting on puppet shows, dancing, coloring with chalk on sidewalk, singing
2.  my 92 year old father telling stories of his childhood on his dairy farm 
3.  my grandchildren making a "how to" video, such as "how to make a peanut butter sandwich"
4.  my piano students playing a piece, then uploading it to my private you tube channel so their family and friends can see it
5.  my banjo teacher showing me a new lick to learn on the banjo
6.  Church children singing a song that I sent to a sick teacher
7.  and of course, a million jumping on the trampoline stunts!

But here's the thing I love about using videos and having your cell phone so accessible.  You can use it to STOP TEMPER TANTRUMS, KEEP KIDS QUIET IN CRITICAL SITUATIONS, OR _________________ (you fill in). 

Scene: Grandson, Tac, is playing the piano, but grandson, Asher wants to play it. Tension is building!
Dialogue--- Me: [Look how Asher's] waiting patiently.  Notice he's not crying.  He's frustrated and he wishes his brother would hurry up but he's patiently waiting. 
Asher:  No, I'm not!
                                               (Well, at least he's not crying and hitting his brother!)
IDEA:  Video record or snap a picture of your children doing what you want them to do.  In other words, be positive and focus on the short times you catch them doing what they should be doing or encourage them to start doing it by video taping them.  How about when your children are picking up their toys, brushing their teeth, getting dressed, or practicing an instrument or doing their homework.  Send the video to Dad or grandma.  Make a slide show out of photos.

Here are some ways I've used Voice Recordings:
1.  My text notification is my grandson saying "grandma, you've got a text, grandma, you've got a text"
2.  Me playing a piece on my banjo.  It makes me nervous to record myself, but it helps me get over my nervousness when I record myself several times in a row.  It's a great way to practice for a recital or performance.
3.  My grandson saying words.  He is delayed with his speech, and this is a fun way to help him  practice saying tricky words.
4.  Music groups rehearsing for a performance.

IDEA: Record your child saying his spelling words, reciting a poem, playing a piece of music on his instrument.  Record yourself quoting a scripture you want to memorize, or a mantra to help you during the day.  Record your baby or children laughing.
 So go ahead and use your cell phone.  But make sure YOU are in control of it, not IT in control of you.  Use it for good and worthwhile purposes such as bringing loved ones far away closer to you, or as a teaching tool or as positive reinforcement.

What are some ways you have used your cell phone to help yourself or your family?

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Parenting Tip - Just accept it, don’t make excuses and get on with it.

I have a friend, Maxine, whom I’ve known for years.   I want you to know her too, because she has a lot to teach those of us who are mothers.

Maxine is married to Galen Updike, and they have 5 children and 9 living grandchildren.   Many years ago, Maxine had two arterial blockages in her foot.  They were both removed, but in Dec 2008, she had another blockage in the same foot and was told she would have to have her leg  amputated.  Through blessings from her Church leaders and many surgeries, the doctors were able to save her foot, but not for long.  In June 2009, her foot became so bad, that amputation was the only choice left.   However, due to prayers and a miracle, the doctors were able to amputate below the knee.  Galen, Maxine’s husband, said this was a huge blessing.  People who lose a leg above the knee from disease such as the kind his wife had (as opposed to an injury), only live an average of 2 years.

Maxine didn’t get her prosthesis until 10 months after her amputation and she became use to life in a wheelchair.  Did you know if you lose a leg from an injury, you are immediately fit with a prosthetic leg  and so you can adjust more quickly to wearing one?  Maxine uses her prosthesis when going out of the house, but uses her wheelchair in her home.  Wearing a prosthetic leg is not without pain and Maxine often gets phantom pains in her foot after wearing it.

I asked Maxine how her life has changed.  I thought that was probably a lame question, and it is, but Maxine shared a couple of examples.   She said she stays home a lot more.  She can still drive a car by using a left foot accelerator, but she said it was tricky for her to learn how to use one.  
Maxine has traveled a few times since the amputation, but it has taken its toll on her health.  She and her family were able to go on a cruise and she traveled to her son’s out of state wedding, but she found it took several months to recuperate and build her strength back up besides have other medical issues crop up.  Maxine is able to keep up with laundry and cooking, but has someone come in to help with housecleaning.

Maxine moves and walks slower now, but her husband is very patient with her.  She says it’s frustrating when she can’t just get up and walk over to fix or get something in the house.  But she is grateful she has a trial that people can see, in fact she didn’t want a plastic leg that looked real because she wanted people to see why she was being slow and what her handicap was.  Maxine feels sad for others who have depression or emotional issues that are unseen but still need the same compassion others freely give to her.

Children are more open in asking questions about Maxine’s missing leg than adults.  Some children will come up to her in a store and ask what happened.  One little boy after gazing at her asked, “where’s your leg?”  Maxine replied, “it got sick”.  The little boy ran over to his mom and matter-of-factly said, “her leg got sick.”  Some of Maxine’s grandchildren have never known their grandmother when she had two legs.  They happily push her around the house in her wheelchair, or if she is sitting in the recliner, they play in the wheel chair and have lots of fun.

I asked Maxine how she got through her trials to become the happy person she is today.  Her simple, yet profound answer was, “prayer”.  She has prayed every step of the way through every surgery and set back that has come.  And she has received grace and peace.

What has she learned?  Patience.  Lots of patience.  And to speak up.  She contracted a bed sore which caused awful pain, plus eventual surgery and months of wound care.  She had other medical oversights, which caused major problems, so she has learned to “speak up” to doctors and nurses.  Tell them when you hurt and ask questions if you are unsure about instructions or procedures.

Finally I asked Maxine if she had any parenting tips—her 5 children seem to ‘ have it altogether’.  She said:
****teach your children to be responsible.   
****Teach them to accept what challenges they have or obstacles they need to overcome and just “work with it”.   
****Don’t make excuses—just do it.

Actually, that sums up Maxine’s life.  Just accept it, don’t make excuses and get on with it.


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