Keep Learning & Growing

Listening in music as well as in life is a big part of learning.

This last year while in quarantine, I wanted to keep my piano students on track but how? Because I was not considered an essential business, I couldn’t continue with lessons in my home. What could I do? I decided to offer virtual lessons. Although I was not sure if the virtual platform would work with piano or not, I decided to offer virtual lessons anyway. I am continuing to offer virtual lessons now as a convenience, although many of my students are now back live. My students and I have learned and grown through this experience. While I prefer face-to face lessons, the virtual lesson has been a way to connect with my students while they continue to grow and learn new skills.

Through the virtual experience, I learned to use technology better. I learned to schedule and conduct Zoom meetings, but the most valuable lesson I have learned is to listen better. When I was only teaching students live, I relied on what I saw them doing. You would think with teaching a musical instrument, you would hone into listening, but I have to admit, I didn’t always listen as well as I should. With virtual lessons though, both myself and my students had to listen better in order to be successful. Instead of telling or showing my students what to do, I relied a lot more on asking them to listen and then play what they were hearing. Of course, we still continued to work on note reading skills, counting and all the other techniques that go into playing piano, but both my students and myself honed our listening skills and our patience during this time.

As I was thinking about this experience, I realized how important listening is in life as well as when learning a new skill. Young Timothy listened and learned the scriptures from his mom and grandmother growing up and later from his mentor or father in the faith, Paul. Had he refused to listen, would Paul have later asked him to pastor the Ephesian church? I rather doubt it.

I wonder though, how many times have I forgot or refused to listen? Looking back on my life, I wonder would I have made better decisions had I listened better? Maybe, just maybe I would have saved myself some heartache and pain instead of having to learn the hard way.

Of course, we also need to listen to the right voices because let’s face it, some voices will lead us astray. Many voices tell us to live for today only. Buy it now, enjoy it now, do it now just because it sounds so good at the time, but remember, what results do you want tomorrow? If I want to be healthy and feel good tomorrow, then maybe I should say no to the person or advertisement that is saying, “I need that triple, chocolate, brownie sundae.” What is my ultimate goal? If my ultimate goal is to follow God, then I need to listen to others who are following God. Yes, I for sure need to hone my listening skills! I need to listen better and listen to the right voices.

I’m happy to say that while my students and I have missed some things by not being able to do lessons in person, we have also gained from our experience. Those who have honed their listening skills and emulated what they heard when the song was played correctly have grown in their skills and are doing well. Those who have struggled with the listening or balked at the idea have not done as well. I’ve found that recording and then listening to themselves helps too. (Taking time to listen to what we say to ourselves and others can definitely be a learning experience!) I’ve also noticed something interesting which surprised me, many students are beginning to branch out in their skills and are becoming more creative. They are listening better, taking what they have learned and writing their own simple songs. It has been a delight to hear their progress!

Where are you at with your listening? Are you learning and growing or are you stubbornly holding on to the old way of doing things? More importantly, are you learning and growing from Godly people or are you going your own way, making not so ideal choices and finding yourself stuck, unable to reach your goals and wondering why? Today is a good day, to turn around and hone those listening skills. Be teachable. God will help you!


PARENT PRAYER:
Father God,
I recognize how easy it is to get distracted or so focused on those things that aren’t important that I forget to listen. I need your wisdom and strength, your help to listen to the right voices, especially your voice. I want to learn from your Word and from others. Help me to listen closely to what you are saying. Show me, as a parent, how to teach and speak in a way that shows compassion and care for my kids while teaching them valuable life lessons. Perhaps, God, if I listened more to my kids, then they would be more apt to listen to me. Show me ways of simply being there for the people in my life and honoring them by giving them my undivided attention. Amen

HELPING OUR KIDS LEARN LISTENING SKILLS:
How can you be sure your child is listening? With young children, make sure you have the attention first. I’ve found that getting down on their level face to face, eyeball to eyeball works much better than shouting across the room.

* Try, try, try to listen to your child as well. When you listen, you are letting him/her know that he/she is important to you and building relationships which will encourage their listening skills.

* Be careful what you say and follow through with what you say – in other words, mean what you say. If you make promises and don’t keep them or threats such as a time-out and don’t follow through, your child will learn that you don’t really mean what you say and he/she will think he/she doesn’t have to listen.

* With teens, listen without judgment. Don’t cut them off, but truly listen. Trust your teen to make good choices and when they don’t, listen. Let them know that it’s safe to tell you anything they want to tell you.

* Ask your teens’ opinion on some things and do fun things together just because you enjoy spending time with them. No expectations just because…

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH YOUR CHILD THIS WEEK?

SHARE A STORY: Timothy Learns About God – Matt. 1:20-24; Luke 1:26-38
When Timothy was growing up, he lived with his family. His mom and his grandmother taught him all about God. He listened and learned and when he grew up, he loved God with all his heart.

“Timothy,“ said his grandmother Lois, “will you bring me some water? I’m going to fix you some soup to eat and then I will tell you a story. Would you like to hear the story about Moses crossing the Red sea or about Daniel in the lion’s den?“

“I want to hear about Jesus, grandmother,” said young Timothy.

“Oh, Timothy, Jesus loves you so much.” said his grandmother, “He loved you enough to die on a cross for you, but now He is alive and He is always with you Timothy.”

“Yes, Timothy, Jesus does love you and He wants to be your friend forever. He’s my friend and He is a very good friend,” said his mother, Eunice.

Everyday from the time he was a baby, Timothy learned about God and Jesus from his mother and grandmother. They taught him how much God loved him and they taught him verses from the Bible too. When Timothy grew up, He was Paul’s special friend. He became a pastor and taught others about God. Paul reminded Timothy to continue to do what he had learned and to continue to trust Jesus as his friend and Savior. He reminded Timothy that the God’s Word/the Bible is important. The Bible teaches us the right way to live and prepares us to do good things.

You are learning about God from your moms, dads, teachers and pastors too. You can thank God for those who teach you and thank Him for His love. Don’t forget to listen and learn.Then when you grow up, you can share the things you learn with others.

MEMORIZE: Psalm. 59:17 ERV – (Hold hands open as though holding a book.)
You are – (Clap hands.)
The God – (Point upwards.)
Who loves me – (Give self a hug.)

PRAYER:
Dear Jesus, Thank you for loving me. I want to learn about you and learn what the Bible says. Thank you for people who love and teach me. Help me remember the verses I’m learning. I’m glad you are my friend. Amen

KNOW: Timothy learned from His mom and grandma.
TALK ABOUT: Teachers, parents – people who help us learn.
ASK: Who loves you? Jesus loves me.
AND DO: I can listen and learn about God.

* Practice listening skills all week. What sounds do you hear when you and your child are in the car? How about when you get up in the morning? When you are outside? Don’t forget to read and listen to a Bible story too.

* Thank God for people who teach us and for all that you and your child are learning. If you want your child to be a learner, be one yourself.