The author of this post lives in the Mormon corridor and owns two pianos. And a keyboard. Because even though her piano skills are Primary-song level, her children must. practice. every. day.
He’s sitting on the piano bench, utterly refusing to play anything. We wait, the piano teacher and I. For twenty minutes, twenty minutes which cost about three dollars a minute, till he decides to play the sightreading. With those tedious practice instructions. And we can finally get to the songs he and I have labored over all week long, hurrying them into our remaining ten minutes of lessons.
At the end of it I feel drained. I wonder if wrestling my ADHD son with piano lessons is worth the power struggles. But he was named after his grandmother, a musician, and when we first started this journey he talked about that. “I’m just like Grandma, and I’m named for her,” he said. “I’m playing the piano and composing music too.”??That was when I knew we had to stick with it, in spite of the practicing battles, in spite of the challenge of helping his ADHD monkey mind to stay focused and still. In spite of twenty long minutes of time without him playing a note. I want him to feel connected to the woman we named him after, my husband’s mother, who he’s never met, and if piano does that, I will keep going.
But I can’t do it alone, helping this wild and brilliant child tame his inner demons long enough to focus on rhythm and notes. The piano teacher who sat patiently beside us, encouraging him, applauding him with sincere joy when he finally complied, she’s a part of this too. Continue reading
When General Conference rolled around last October, I realized that it was the weekend that my children were scheduled to spend all day Saturday with their father. I felt somewhat ambivalent about this. On the one hand, I looked forward to a day of actually getting to hear the talks and ponder them in quiet peace without the stress of trying to help three small children sit through eight hours of talks in a somewhat reverent manner. On the other hand, I do take seriously the counsel to watch and listen to Conference and to encourage participation from our children. During the past decade since becoming a parent I have sought to make General Conference a significant family tradition. I’ve tried special foods, coloring packets, bingo, key words, going for scenic drives, and, most commonly, just requiring children to be in the room doing something quiet and not bothering me. I don’t remember watching Conference much as a child, but I don’t fault my mother for this at all. If watching Conference meant hauling five small children to the chapel by myself for eight hours of viewing, I’d probably opt out as well. However, now that I live in a time and place where General Conference is easily accessible in my home, I try to participate as much as I can. What to do when my kids weren’t even going to be around for half of it? Continue reading
I’ve been working full-time for nearly two years now and the thing I hate the most is the fact that five days of the week I have to get up, get ready, and be out the door by 8:00. Winter, summer, fall, spring—it doesn’t matter. Saturday is still precious, but the impact of one Saturday a week seems to fade when compared to the relentless onslaught of early morning wake-up calls. You would think that I would be used to mornings right now; I’ve been getting up insanely early for years. When I was 11 I got an early-morning paper route. I would wake up at 4:45 in order to have time to carefully fold all the newspapers, place them in bags on my bike handlebars, and ride around the neighborhood delivering them. I only quit the paper route when I started high school and four years of early-morning seminary. Then I went to college and had to wake up early to get to work or class on time; that was followed by my mission, where the mandated 8 hours of sleep every night and regular sleep and wake times were healing after years of sleep deprivation. I had a few years off before having children, and we all know what kind of havoc children can wreak on parents’ sleep. Continue reading
“Mom, how much money is in your bank account?” This was the question my son chose to spring on me the other night during the chaos of cleaning up dinner. I hesitated a bit, partly because I wasn’t sure of the exact amount and partly because I wasn’t sure how much to share with my son. I did finally tell him an approximate amount of money, and then we talked a little bit about how it might sound like a large number, but that we had quite a few bills to pay and how much they were in relation to the amount of money currently in my bank account. After listening to me for a minute, he launched into a detailed explanation of his savings and expenditures of tokens in an online game that he has been playing lately, then ran off to take a shower.
As I finished cleaning the kitchen and thought more about our conversation, I realized that I haven’t talked to my kids much about money. I don’t know what their thoughts and attitudes are about it; other than a few random conversations about our budget and sporadic FHE lessons about tithing, the topic doesn’t come up much in our house. I do know, however, that even if we aren’t talking about, they are still forming attitudes and beliefs about money from the things they see and hear around them. A few years ago I read a book about budgeting that focused on the psychological issues surrounding money—the premise of the book was that no budgeting system will ever fix your money issues until you figure out and solve the particular money beliefs that are driving your behavior. Until I read that book, I thought I was doing pretty well when it came to money management, but I was able to discover some unpleasant truths about myself and the way I handle money (like being scared to talk to my children about it, for example). Continue reading
First, our book reviews tend to meet with resounding silence, so I’m posing questions at the beginning for you to think about as you read.
How has living (or visiting) in different places changed your view of the world?
As emissaries of Christ, do we have a responsibility to understand other cultures?
Where would you choose to live– for a few years or forever– if given a chance?
How can those of us who are planted in one city gain a world view?
Also, if you have any questions for Melissa, she’ll be checking the comments.
This is NOT an unbiased review.
Contributing to Segullah since 2007, Melissa Dalton-Bradford is one of our OWN. In fact the acknowledgments read, “…Segullah aided in the development of my voice and the telling of this story.” If you search her name on our blog or literary site you’ll find her gorgeous poems, essays and musings. And personally, I love and adore Melissa Dalton-Bradford around the globe and back. Continue reading