Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Parenting Tip - How to Help an Anxious Child

I'm a worry-wart.  At least I use to be.  I inherited my worrying from my mother.  I also learned how to stop worrying from my mother, and it has saved me a ton of stress and anxiety.

Children can also be worriers.  This article gives some great advice to parents on how to help their children cope with worry and anxiety.

This article has helpful phrases you can say to your child such as, "How big is your worry?", or "Can you draw your worry?"  Acknowledge your child’s fear without making it even more frightening by using the word “AND.” After the word “and” you can add phrases like, “You are safe.” or “You’ve conquered this fear before.” or “You have a plan.”

 Sometimes words won't help an anxious child.  But there are still things you can do to calm your child, such as whispering about something unrelated, or singing, or hugging.  Read this article to find more suggestions that might work with your child.  Not every child will respond and be comforted by the same things.

And as a last resort, my mother and I always comforted ourselves when worrying, by remembering that everything we worried about, never actually took place.  So we had our own "worry insurance" and it worked!

Thanks for reading,

Monday, February 8, 2016

Parenting Tip - The Little Acts of Love

Edward Kinghorn is a licensed Neuropsychologist and is currently the Psychology Department Chair at BYU Hawaii. He gave a talk telling about his experiences working as a counselor with the Red Cross after the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York in the Fall of 2001. 

Professor Kinghorn describes working with a Dr. Frances Menlove, who was a seasoned and experienced clinician.  She later was asked to give a guest sermon to the Lincoln City Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, on March 10, 2002.  These are her words describing what she saw inside the St. Paul's Chapel which is near Ground Zero.  St. Paul’s had been set aside as a sanctuary for workers who were still toiling around the clock to clear the debris of the Twin Towers and to search for human remains. "The entire chapel was covered with banners, hand-lettered posters, small and large pictures by school children expressing thanks and appreciation.  There were notes taped to the sides of very pew, up and down the aisle.  Several Banners hung from the balconies.

One four-by twelve-foot pennant had a multitude of hand-drawn green mittens, each signed by a child, with a headline that said “Warm your hearts with our mittens.”  Another huge streamer lined up dozens of red children’s hand prints to form the stripes of an American flag.  There were notes in the pews.  The one tucked in by me said: “Dear Hero, thank you for making us safe.  I like soccer.  I don’t like baseball.  Do you like soccer?  Your new friend, Craig.”

The altar was the only place unadorned by posters, notes and banners.  Several votive candles were burning.  In front of the altar, a flute player from the New York Symphony played lilting melodies.  There was a lot of quiet activity.  Along the back wall of the chapel sandwiches and soup were being served.  Along the left side of the chapel, tables held first-aid supplies, candies, lip balm, socks, aspirin—anything someone might want coming in from the cold after a shift of spirit-wrenching labor.  There was a bowl of power bars, each with a homemade valentine wrapped around it and held tight with a rubber band.  All were free for the taking.  In front of me, one man was lying down on the pew, apparently asleep.  Others were sitting in the pews eating, or just resting.  I didn’t know then that these workers had found four more bodies that morning.

A small enclosed area about eight feet square caught my attention on the right side of the chapel.  A large bronze plaque announced that this was George Washington’s pew, the place he worshiped on the day of his inauguration, April 30, 1789.  Right next to this official plaque was a large, carefully printed sign “Foot Care.”  The workers were having trouble with their feet, so it was decided to devote George Washington’s pew to “Foot Care.”  Each day a podiatrist volunteered.  One worker had his shoes off and another one was waiting to be examined as I sat scrunched in my own pew.

I remembered the Gospel of John:  Jesus got up from the table and tied a towel around himself.  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.  After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “I have set you an example that you also should do as I have done to you” (v. 15)."

I was so impressed with this talk and thought about all the school teachers who were aching to do something,-- anything, to express their love and support to the survivors, to the families who were devastated and to the workers still addressing the horror of Sept 11.  I pictured the teachers talking to their students and deciding on what small act of service they could do.  I pictured the children coloring pictures, writing notes, and making valentines to cover a power bar and wrapping a rubber band around it, never knowing the impact their service would make.  Never knowing that a whole church would be covered with small acts of service.  Never knowing that I would read of their acts years later and still be profoundly touched by them.

Sometimes we never know how our actions make a difference in someone else's life. I had the privilege of  hearing how one small act of mine affected a friend. I had taken my teenage neighbors to the hospital to play our instruments and sing for my friend's husband.  He was in quarentine and we had to dress in special robes to enter his room.  He passed away several months later.  My friend wept as she told how, what I viewed as a small act of service, had brought so much love and comfort to her and her husband.

Valentine's Day is coming.  What can you and I do to brighten someone's day with a genuine message of love?
The first Valentine's Day after my husband passed away, my next door neighbor brought me flowers.  She said that was what my husband had done for her the first Valentine's Day after her husband had passed away. I never knew that he had done that.

Love.  Little Acts of Love. By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.

Thanks for reading,




Sunday, February 7, 2016

Parenting Tip - Chords for Your Family Song

I wrote a Music Tip blog post a few months ago about chord progressions and how popular music is so full of them.  Lots of rock songs use a 4 chord progression that is repeated over and over again. The chord progressions use root chords as well as 1st and 2nd inversions.  You don't really need to know what those kind of chords are to get the idea of this blog post, but I'll explain briefly.

A root chord is built on the 1st note of the scale (let's say C) then skips a note and uses the next note (E), then skips a note and uses the next note (G).  So C,E,G are the notes played in the root chord.  BUT, you can move their positions around.  If you "invert" the C and put it on top, you have a 1st inversion: EGC.  If you again invert the bottom note to the top, you have a 2nd inversion: GCE.  And if you do it once more, you're back to the root position CEG.  So you can tweak the chord and make it sound a little different, but you're still using the 3 basic notes.

Interesting, huh?

As I have been analyzing music, I have found the root chord plus the inversions EVERYWHERE!  In popular songs, in classical songs, in hymns, in folk songs.......and the reason is because those chords are the building blocks, the basics, the foundation which the music is built on.

I've been trying to get my students to internalize and understand and identify these chords inversions.  Why?  Because they can learn their songs so much easier.  They already know the chords, they know the notes, they know the fingering, and they can get right on to learning the right hand notes.  It makes learning to play the piano so much more enjoyable and easier when you already know the basics.

There are 73 different songs that all use the same chord progression.  The melodies are completely different, but the basic chord structure is exactly the same ( I would give you the you tube link to a funny group who demonstrates and sings these songs, but there's a lot of raunchy stuff there too, so I won't).

Which brings me to what I was thinking about this morning.  Those basic chords are like the basic things we are told to do in Church. Have family scripture reading.  Say family prayers.  Have Family Home Evening. Each family is different, so we sing a different melody according to our individual and family's needs, but we are still playing the same chords in the same progression.

Families with small children will read the scriptures in a different way than families with teenagers will. Empty nesters will read their scriptures different from the way a person living alone will.  But we will ALL read our scriptures.  The same holds true for how we hold Family Home Evening.  Get your family together, learn together, enjoy time together, but do it how it works best for your family, right now in your present circumstances. Raising a family is so much more enjoyable and easier when you know what foundation you should base it on. Your children will learn to sing their song so much easier when the basic "chords" are embedded in their routine. 

What does your family song sound like? Is it bouncy and lively?  Is it loud, or has it begun to slow down and get softer with age?  You are creating your own beautiful melody that is perfect for the chords in your song. Sing your song with the particular singers you have in your family right now, and if you sing it with the correct chord progression, you'll have a hit song on your hands.
Sing your song strong, and well and often.

Thanks for reading,




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...