Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Parenting Tip - Good Things to Listen To


Here's part of an email I recently sent to my children/spouses.  I thought you might be interested in it too.
Hi Family,
I've been trying to find good things to watch and good things to listen to--as well as good things to read.  It's hard sometimes to find those things, but I've bumped into a few good podcasts and talks that I have really loved and thought I would share them with you. I think it is really important for us to fill our minds with positive, inspiring thoughts and ideas.  Thoughts lead to actions, as we've been taught.  It's also important to ponder on them throughout the day---I mean those tiny moments when there is a lack of children clamoring for your attention.

           I love to listen to these podcasts when I go to the gym:
           Gretchen Rubins and her sister's podcast.  Here's a sample of recent podcasts:
Episode 126: Look for an under-used area of your house, find ways to mark sad anniversaries in a happy way, and strategies to deal with the challenge of perfectionism.

Podcast 121: How to get more reading done, an interview with Sam Walker about the qualities of the world’s best captains, and a car-related travel hack.
The Simple Show.  This next month or so they are talking about how to say "no" to things, which means you are saying "yes" to better  things.
         Ep. 87: When to Quit
        Ep. 88: No & Yes
A friend passed out a link to a talk she liked in RS on Sunday.  I listened to it and realized BYUtv has a link to lots of BYU Women's Conference talks, which I have loved listening to.  Well, I've only listened to two so far, but loved both of them.  The link that was passed out on Sunday was to Sister Eubanks, which was really good.  This link is to the talk by Sister Causse, who is wife to the Presiding Bishop of the Church.  She has a delightful French accent and talks about their experiences and I LOVED her talk.
 When do I have time to listen to a talk or podcast, you're probably thinking.  Here are some ideas:

  • while getting dressed and fixing your hair
  • driving in the car
  • on Sundays
  • before you go to bed
  • while crocheting, knitting, drawing, etc
  • while feeding toddlers their breakfast or lunch
  • first thing in the morning
  • while cooking dinner
  • at the gym or while exercising

Ear phones are great inventions as are cell phones and laptops that are portable.

I'm up for more ideas on what to listen to or watch.  So please share good things you've read and how you fit it into your schedule.

Thanks for reading,

Cathy
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Monday, August 14, 2017

Parenting Tip - The Four Tendencies

I'm a follower of Gretchen Ruben.  I loved her book, The Happiness Project, I listen to the podcast she does with her sister and I'm really looking forward to her new book, The Four Tendencies. What are the four tendencies?  They are personality or character traits that put you into one of four different areas--though you can also overlap areas.

This is how Gretchen explains it:
In a nutshell:
  • Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations (I’m an Upholder, 100%)
  • Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense (my husband is a Questioner)
  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike
  • Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves

I recently gave a talk at LinkedIn about the Rubin Character Index, so if you’d like to see me discuss each category in  a video, you can watch: for Upholders, watch here;Questionershere;  Rebels, here, and Obligers, here.
   From my observation, I can say with confidence that Rebel is the smallest category, then Upholder–this was a shock to me. I didn’t realize how few people are Upholders. Many things became clear to me once I realized this. Most people are Questioners or Obligers.
Obligers are the folks who are the most likely to say they wish they were in a different category. They say things like, “I wish I weren’t a people-pleaser” or “I wish I could take time for myself.”
Do you find yourself within this framework? If so, does it help you understand how to manage yourself better? Figuring out the Tendencies helped me understand myself, and it has also made it much easier for me to understand other people’s perspectives. Fact is, most people don’t see things the way we Upholders do.

As I have read about the four tendencies, I've been able to understand myself better.  It is so rewarding and satisfying to understand why you do what you do.  I'm an upholder.  I follow rules, I cross the crosswalk only when the green hand is up, I do what people ask me to do, but I can  also set and achieve goals I've made for myself.

Now I realize why some  people act the way they do.  The light bulb comes on and I inwardly say, "Ah ha! So that's why you feel that way and do those things."

It's really important to know what tendency your husband and children are.  It makes life so much more peaceful.  When you know that a child is a rebel, you will want to interact differently with him than your child who is an obliger.

A listener wrote to Gretchen and said that now she understood her preschooler was a "rebel", she was learning how to communicate differently with her, and her daughter's behavior had improved tremendously. Here's what she wrote:
Hi Gretchen, 
Thank you SO much for addressing my question about my Rebel preschool daughter in episode 120 on the podcast!

I wanted to send a quick update to let you know how much your advice has helped. I really have tried to embrace the idea that I CAN’T make her do anything. I can’t! She knows it, I know it, and it’s changed a lot of how I talk to her about things.  I make such an effort to make everything her choice. She can do it if she wants to, and if she doesn’t well then here’s what will happen. Very matter of fact, very calm, not punitive, just the facts.

Here’s an example of how I’ve changed my language.  She was looking at books on the couch and my parents were about to arrive for dinner. She had to wash up for dinner and I thought she should get it over with now, before the get here, to not miss the fun hellos. If I were speaking to my older daughter (tendency TBD but definitely not rebel) I would have said:

“You need wash up before dinner. Please go do it now so you won’t have to do it when Nanny and Poppy are here.”

I now know I would NEVER say that to the rebel. NEED to do something! HA! She would say. I don’t NEED to do anything.  I really thought for a minute and picked my words carefully.

“I’m going to ask you to wash up before dinner. Nanny and Poppy will be here soon. You can choose. You can go now and then you won’t have to do it when they’re here, or you can do it right before dinner, but then you’ll have to leave them to do it. Whatever you choose is fine with me. It’s your choice.” (I did in fact say choice that many times)

A minute after I left her I heard her little footsteps walking over to the sink. She was done right before they walked in the door and was THRILLED that she could say hello and chat and walk right over to the table.

I’ve also appealed to her sense of identity. She was hyper when we were visiting my frail old grandparents and I was truly afraid she was going knock one of them over. Telling her she HAS to stop running and calm down would have failed. I told her Grammie just got out of the hospital b/c she fell and she’s not sturdy on her feet yet and she needs her protectors. She needs the kids to be careful around her and protect her and make sure she doesn’t fall again. Success!  Or when she was sharing a room with her little cousin on vacation. Instead of you HAVE to be quite while he’s falling asleep I said, he’s younger than you and he’s so tired and needs to sleep. Will you be his helper? Will you help him go to sleep by ignoring him and letting him rest? She jumped at the chance.

Overall I would say part of the success has come from me changing my language and how I talk to her, but part of the success has also come from me changing my perspective and fully embracing that I can’t make her do things.

As an Upholder it’s also been freeing to let her help me break the rules a little. Like so what if we’re late? It was a self-imposed timetable, no one is counting on us. I’ve embraced her rebel-ness and this has allowed me see things differently. You’re so right. We’re free-er than we think!!!

Thank you so, so much.
Dawn

Brilliant strategy.  I tried it with one of my "rebel" grandchildren and it works!  Of course, I think letting our children make choices, and giving them the right to do it, is good parenting with any type of child.

Knowing about the four tendencies helps me in many aspects of my life when dealing with people. I'm anxious to apply it to my piano students.  If I can help classify them into one of the tendencies, I think I can help them with their practicing.  An obliger is going to need outer controls such as charts or rewards to get him to practice.  A questioner needs to understand the importance of practicing, and the rebel will need to be in control of when during the day he/she chooses to practice.

Food for thought, right?

Thanks for reading

Cathy
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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Music Tip - Ukulele group class and service opportunity






UKULELE MUSIC CLASSES & SERVICE OPPORTUNITY: 8 week class -7 weeks learning new songs and 1 week performing at a Retirement Center, plus possible ukulele flashmob experience!! (I’m working on the details.)
DATES: Classes begin week of August 14 thru week of Oct 2, 2017
TIME: one hour classes.
LOCATION: west Mesa, Main St/Alma School (tell your friends so you can carpool!)
COST: $65 per student or $110 for a family with 2+ children (pay cash/check on 1st day of class)
AGES: age 8 and up
CONTACT: Email me: Cathy Shepherd - playsmusic@hotmail.com 480-332-8379
FAQ: Don't own a ukulele? Borrow one of mine (register early to reserve one)
Five different classes offered—choose one. Register for the day and time that works for your children: Monday 1 pm , Monday 4 pm, Wed 1 pm, Fri 1 pm, Fri 4 pm (performances will be scheduled during your class time. *All classes begin week of Aug 14 (no Monday classes on Labor Day.)



SHARE THIS CLASS INFORMATION WITH YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS!!

Homeschoolers, check out this link for other resources: https://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Parenting Tip - Grandma's Camp

I just got back from Grandma's Camp last week.  This was a week of having fun, learning about ancestors, and bonding with cousins.  I invited my 11 oldest grandchildren, ages 9-14.  I have grandchildren that are scattered across the United States--6 in Virginia, 4 in Illinois, 3 in Utah and 7 in Arizona.  I don't get to see them that much, plus the cousins don't get to see each other either. Some of the cousins don't really know each other that well because they haven't been able to spend a lot of time together, so I decided to fix that problem.  Hence, Grandma's Camp!

The goal of Grandma's Camp was to have the cousins bond and create memories with each other, as well as for my grandchildren to get to know their ancestors better, namely their grandparents and great grandparents.  My husband passed away almost 6 years ago, so some of the grandchildren barely remember him.  Both of his parents have also passed away.

We held Grandma's Camp at my daughter's beautiful home in a beautiful rural area of southern Illinois.  Talk about green countryside!  Green, gorgeous trees everywhere, green rolling fields, wide open blue skies, and relatively wonderful weather.  What a setting for our week long camp.

Each day we focused on the life of one of the grandparents/great grandparents.  We told stories about their lives and I assigned grandchildren to find and tell a story too, so they would internalize their relationship with this deceased ancestor.  Then we would do a fun activity related to their grandparent's life.  For instance, my dad grew up on a dairy farm in the early 30's and milked cows when he was age 5 and rode a horse to round up the cows.  So on his day, we went horse back riding. My mother's parents came from Sweden and our Swedish heritage is big in our family.  My sister and I learned to say the blessing on the food in Swedish and always said it that way when we were growing up.  So I taught one of my granddaughters to say the prayer in Swedish, and she taught all the cousins, and at each mealtime a different grandchild would eagerly ask to say the blessing.

My mom painted rocks to look like cute animals, so on my mother's day, the cousins painted rocks. On my husband's day we went fishing, on my father-in-law's day we went rock jumping and swimming in a lake and even wore mustaches to honor his handlebar moustache.  My mother-in-law was an avid bird watcher and made pictures from pressed wild flowers, so on her day we had a bird scavenger hunt outside and made bookmarks with the flowers we had collected on our other days.  On my day, we played music, of course!

Each day also had free time for the cousins to play together.  They enjoyed sliding on the slip and slide, created fun mazes with mats and swings and air mattresses in the basement,  rode scooters, colored with sidewalk chalk and talked and laughed and bonded!

The goal of Grandma's Camp was accomplished.  Cousins became best friends and grandparents and great grandparents became real people with hobbies and talents passed on to their grandchildren.  Relationships is what life is about.  Loving people, enjoying family and building trust and friendships that will last throughout eternity--that is what we will take with us.  And our memories!

Thanks for reading,

Cathy




Thursday, April 20, 2017

Parenting Tip - Teaching Children to Feel the Spirit

There are so many things to teach our children, it can be overwhelming at times.
We may ask, "What are the most important things to teach?  How can I fit one more thing into my schedule?"

Read this article:  Learning the Language of the Spirit: 7 Teaching Tips for Parents and see how you can dovetail this type of learning with your everyday living that you already do with your children.

Thanks for reading,

Cathy
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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Parenting Tip - The Paradigm Test

Text from my daughter to me:
        "So I've been trying not to feel like a failure by choosing to run the half marathon instead of the full [this coming weekend] in AZ.  I just haven't been able to get the training in.  I'm disciplined in lots of other areas, but this one hasn't been able to be a priority right now.  I was feeling kinda low until I had a new thought - Oh my gosh Mom!  I passed the test!!!!!!!
    I chose sacrificing time running this school year for doing homeschooling and being with  my kids instead of out running for myself!  It's not a failure at all!  It's a giant victory!!!!!  How would my kids be right now if I was completely ready for the full [marathon]??That's a scary thought.  My relationship with A [her 11 year daughter] definitely wouldn't have been strengthened through this year.  She would probably resent me for all the time spent babysitting M [the preschooler].  M would be a screen junkie.
     Dang.  Paradigm shift!  So grateful!!!"

Text from me to my daughter:

     "Sigh of relief!!  You chose the good part!!!  You DID pass the test!!!!  I'm so proud of you and love you so much!! (Wow, I just had a thought - this text could be from Heavenly Father just as much as it is from me.)"


So what have you been sacrificing, that with a paradigm shift, looks more like a blessing instead?
Are you a stay-at-home Mom with a college degree and inner desire to be out in the workforce? What are you trading for and what benefits can you see if you look close enough?  Are you developing other talents such as gardening, cooking, love of children's literature, home repair skills, or beautifying your home with recycling items?

Do you have a child with autism, ADD, speech problems or other issues?  But are you gaining knowledge, insight and gifts that you wouldn't otherwise have?

Do you have to pinch every penny and long to have your husband out of school?  But are you becoming adept at finding sales, learning to sew, and acquiring skills to refurbish used furniture?

I've had to give piano lessons in my home my whole married life to supplement our family income. For years I felt frustrated and pitied myself.  Then one day I had a paradigm shift and was shocked at what I saw.  What I saw were blessings everywhere.  Blessed that my husband worked from 5:30 am to 3:00 pm and could be home with our children when they came home from school.  Blessed that my husband enjoyed cooking and cooked dinner while I taught piano.  Blessed that I never had to advertise and always had lots of students to teach.  Blessed that I could teach my own children and share my love of music with them. The more I looked, the more blessings I saw.  I immediately fell to my knees and poured out my gratitude to my Heavenly Father.  I asked Him to forgive me for my thoughtlessness and past complaining.  Over the years I have realized what a blessing teaching piano has been in my life and how much I have grown as a teacher and a musician.

Paradigm Shift: an important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way.

Look at your life, look at your problems.  Have a paradigm shift and enjoy the blessings you see.

Thanks for reading,
Cathy
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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Parenting Tip - Be Nice to your Future Self

I'm basically a lazy person.  If a recipe calls for cutting an onion and garlic, I'll either skip that recipe or just use onion and garlic salt instead.  If the weeds are over running my flower bed, I'll try spraying them rather than take the time to pull them out. But sometimes I'll amaze myself by talking myself out of being lazy.  Like if I'm too tired to take a shower at night but have to leave early the next morning, I'll tell myself, "just take a shower, you'll love yourself tomorrow."  And I do.  I thank myself over and over the next morning for taking my shower last night.

A listener on Gretchen Rubin's podcast mentioned "doing something kind for your future self" when she read a blog entry from Wil Wheaton.  This idea of doing something nice for your future self really resonated with me, since that is a tactic I use to get myself to do something hard.  Gretchen's sister mentioned on the podcast that she uses that idea to make herself lift weights, telling herself that when she is 70 years old and not feeble, she will thank herself.

You can use this idea in so many ways---getting yourself to fold and put away the laundry so your future self will enjoy seeing your family function more happily.  Doing the dishes at night so the kitchen is clean in the morning.  Ah, thank you, self!

Gretchen says this is a great strategy for obligers to use to help them do something just for themselves.  Obligers are people  who can meet outer expectations--they can do what others ask them to do, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves.  

Why is it so hard to do something just for yourself?  I think it is because we feel selfish.  We feel like we should be using our time to help our children, or our husband or doing our Church calling or whatever. We are told over and over again to serve others-- that is the key to happiness, but I think we forget that serving ourselves will give us more energy to serve others.


Another reason might be that life goes by so quickly.  We are so busy taking care of life in the present, that we don't have time to worry and take care of life in the future.   The "squeaky wheel gets the grease" and life squeaks really loud in the present.


So how can you and I take this idea and help our future selves?  I can tell my present self, "No, don't buy that cute blouse.  Remember you are saving your money for __________.  You'll thank me in 6 months."


I can tell my present self, "Don't eat that _______.  Go drink a glass of water instead.  You'll love me tomorrow."


I can tell my present self, "Yes, it's okay to stop and play with my kids (grandkids).  I'm bonding and will love myself when they come to me with problems when they're older."


Be nice to your future self--she'll thank you profusely!





Thanks for reading,

Cathy

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Parenting Tip - Modeling

I was babysitting Bromley, my 2 year old grandson, when he found a book lying on the floor.  It was a thick book with lots of pages and no pictures in it.  He opened the book, turned some pages, then closed the book and folded his arms and bowed his head and say, “prayer”.  He waited for me to say a short prayer, repeating some of the words, then he opened the book again, turned some pages, then closed the book again and folded his arms and bowed his head and say, “prayer” .  We went through this whole scenario 5 times in a row!

When my daughter came home I told her about it and wondered what was going on.  She exclaimed, “He was reading the scriptures!”   She said for the past several weeks they had consistently been reading the scriptures, then saying their family prayer afterwards.

Wow, what a great model my daughter and her husband were giving for their son to follow.  It got me thinking about modeling and how that can affect our own actions.  A friend of mine from childhood moved back in with her parents, who lived down the street from me, when her parents became ill and unable to care for themselves.  She modeled great love for her parents and the importance of taking care of them in their older years.  When my mother in law became sick and unable to live by herself, my husband and I invited her to come live with us.  We had seen great examples of children caring for their aging parents modeled to us and we followed and wanted to do the same.

What kind of modeling are we doing in our homes with our children?  We usually don't even think about what our actions are saying, but we know that actions are like a picture-- worth a thousand words. 

How do we model unconditional love with a rebellious teenager while a younger sibling is watching?
How do we model patience when potty training a three year old with the five year old watching?
How do we model forgiveness when our two year colors with crayons on the newly painted wall?
How do we model longsuffering when everyone in the house is sick, including you?
How do we model respecting others when your daughter rants about her _________ math teacher?
How do we model honesty when we find we weren't charged for the french fries we bought with our hamburger?

Many years ago I made a photograph book for my son illustrating when he liked to wear his Daddy's shoes around the house.   Each page shows 
him wearing one of his Dad's shoes, like his work boots, Sunday shoes, fishing shoes, etc.  These are the last two pages: 
I know it's hard for me to walk and keep these shoes on right.
So I'll follow Daddy's footsteps as he guides me in the light.
Choose who you look to for a model carefully, and remember who is watching YOU.

Thanks for reading,

Cathy
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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Music Tip - Mom/tot classes starting up


To all of you who live in Mesa, AZ, I'm starting up my Mom/tot music classes for this semester.  They will be on Tuesday mornings and will alternate between two different retirement/nursing homes.  You can choose which weeks you want to come (1st/3rd or 2nd/4th or all).  Here's the scoop:

Music classes held on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the following months at Symphony Rehabilitation (Broadway between Lindsay/Val Vista).  Classes are 10:45-11:30
Feb 7 and 21
March 7 and 21
April 4 and 18

Classes on the 2nd and 4th Tues of the following months will be held at The Courtyard Towers 22 N Robson, across from The Idea Museum .  Classes are 10:00-10:45

Jan 24, 2017
Feb 14 and 28
March 28
April 11 and 25

All music classes are Free!!  This is my service to the community.  However, this semester I am asking for a $20 donation per family that I will give to a children's charity.  If you want to come to all the classes every week, it is still just a $20 donation. Grandmas, use this as a play date with your grandchildren!!

There is something magical about combining 2 different generations with music.  Your heart will swell with love and pure joy as you watch your children wave scarves to music with the "grandmas and grandpas" or play the jingles or egg shakers with them.

Space is limited, so please email me early to register:  playsmusic@hotmail.com
I'm a past Kindermusik teacher for ASU's community ed classes.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Music Tip - Learn to play the ukulele!

Come learn to play the ukulele--adults and children---lots of fun!!
Plus, a service opportunity as we perform for the "older generation" at nursing homes/retirement centers.


UKULELE MUSIC CLASS & SERVICE OPPORTUNITY: 12 week class (10 weeks learning and 2 weeks performing at Retirement Centers).  Returning students will learn more advanced songs. 
DATES: 4th week in Jan for next 12 weeks *see info below
TIME: one hour classes. 
LOCATION: west Mesa, Main St/Alma School  (tell your friends so you can carpool!)
COST: $65 per student or $100 for a family with 2+ children
AGES: age 8 and up
CONTACT:  Text or email me:  Cathy Shepherd - playsmusic@hotmail.com     480-332-8379
FAQ:  Don't own a ukulele?  Borrow one of mine (register early to reserve one)Four different classes offered, register for the day and time that works for your children:  Monday 1pm , Monday 4pm, Wed 1 pm or Fri 1pm   (performances will be scheduled during your class time.  Ex. If you register for Wed at 1 pm, you come Wed, Jan 25 at 1 pm and every Wed until April 19.) 
*All classes begin week of Jan 23nd -  no classes March 13-17.



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