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Archive for June 2014

Goody Two-Shoes

Fight the darkness. This is a recurring theme that all of us need to hear regularly.

There is underlying mood in the general public that can seep in under our own doors and basically whisper to us that all of our efforts in the end is for naught. That good or bad, it is all for ashes and it makes no difference if we are wise in our efforts with our children or not. It’s all a crap shoot. But I’m hear to tell you that that is not true.

Here’s why I believe philosophically that it is not true: I use the Bible as my ultimate guiding authority and the Bible tells me explicitly that the actions of righteous people do matter. The choices of godly people and the efforts they make bear fruit, sometimes immediately and sometimes down the line. A false flagellating modesty poisons the confidence of many well-meaning moms and paralyzes them into inaction.

Mothers can start believing that their desires and efforts to do good with their children are ethically and spiritually the same in weight in God’s eyes as those of their drugged-out neighbor or of those of a profligate friend’s feeble attempts to hold her family together. The underlying sneer they hear is “you are a goody two-shoes.” They are told that since there are so many false people out there, then that can only mean they must be false and hypocritical too. And so, good acts are immediately labeled as acts of hidden malice and undiscovered hypocrisy. Good is labeled as evil. Well, that is false and unbiblical.

The correct attitude of the Christian is even though it wasn’t innate goodness that originally made us friends with God (and that of course keeps us humble and we are reminded of that), that God is now pleased to give us confidence that what we do now, once we are His friend, does make a difference in His eyes.

We are told:

“we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

(Ephesians chapter 2)

and “God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

(Hebrews chapter 6)

Instead you are instructed to awaken, get busy doing good, so that it can be said of you:

“Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
‘Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.’
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates”.

Proverbs chapter 31

 

Teaser Clip for Talent Discovery Workshop

Watch the teaser clip for my upcoming talent-for-children video course. It is designed to accompany the guide “How to Discover and Develop Your Child’s First 100 Hours of Talent”.

In this clip you will see an excerpt of Jimmie Lanley putting herself out on the line as an example of how it can be done by working with me on creating a First 100 Hours talent statement. This was to create a talent statement based on her daughter’s interests and her family’s unique advantages.

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Use Family Goals to Help Talent

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It is possible to have your child try to develop his talent without involving your family’s collective goals and aspirations. But here is why I discourage you from ignoring what makes you different from all the other families.

Any skill, and collections of skills, used in the development of a long term talent need to be applied in a particular situation and place in time in order to have an impact on the world around you. It’s all fine and dandy to say that your child wants to be a singer, but he will not be a singer in a vacuum.

(WARNING: If your child is well into developing his core talent of singing and he is only singing for his teacher, you need to stop your talent trajectory RIGHT NOW. You should make sure you are not developing an expensive HOBBY that has no value for others in his adult life. Your paid teacher does not count as proof that your child’s talent has meaning for the future.)

You would still need to decide on where and for whom your child would actually start singing. The place and the people your child would start practicing his singing will influence over time the type of singing he will favor over all the other types of singing he could practice. This is where family goals come into place. You could randomly let any number of accessible venues be an option for your child to perform his burgeoning talent.

Maybe you currently have the following choices:

  • a year-round Wednesday night community choir
  • a weekly Sunday volunteer group that visits retirement homes and would welcome singers
  • musical plays put on by a beloved community theater group
  • an international month-long jazz festival

Of all the above choices, there is in fact one that stands out over all the others as being the best choice for your child’s talent development. You can know there is one best choice and not just guess at what to get involved with.

Why can you be so certain? Because when you look at the list of family goals you wrote down in the talent discovery workshop, you are reminded that hosting foreigners happens to be an important family tradition that your family is particularly adept at carrying out and it derives great joy in exercising that kind of hospitality. By saying yes to the international jazz festival, you are foregoing the other venues. By saying yes to the festival, your child is riding the tide of your family’s positive energy to be part of hosting foreigners coming from out of town.

Some of those foreigners will actually be some of the smaller jazz bands who can’t afford full on hotel stays and your family is already on the list of hosting homes. Your son will continue to be the beneficiary of all the informal inside tips on how to interact with people from other cultures, but this time those tips will also help him to interact with the talented people in his field of interest. Not only that, but in anticipation of the international event, the rest of the family will be excited to come and watch him practice his year-round jazz singing. He’s practicing his jazz that much because he managed to join the the local amateur jazz band that will be opening the act for the bigger bands. He won’t be the primary vocalist, but he’s persuaded the adult members that he can add a lot to the variety of background vocals with his youthful timber.

By choosing to exercise his talent in the context of his parents’ family goals and traditions, he is maximizing the potential to be in harmony with the world around him and maximizing the likelihood that his parents are going to go all out in giving the time and space to practice his talent. This is why family goals should not be overlooked or despised.

Fear or Prudence – How Do You Run Your Homeschool?

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How do you run your homeschool?

Is it with fear or with prudence?

There is a difference between the two and the impact on your children will not be the same. Fear will cause you to hunker down and pass up opportunities that you should have taken for your children. Prudence on the other hand will know that it should keep its distance from some dangers, but it will willingly accept other opportunities, even though they also involve risks.

To discern the difference, you have to have a standard by which you can decide what should stop you in your tracks and what you should accept as an acceptable risk.

This is where the power of two people, two parents, the male and the female, really comes to shine. As husband and wife you can together assess the risks and opportunities from different angles and help encourage and re-assure each other as to what course of action to take. This is the proverbial balance between not letting a toddler play in the neighborhood street unsupervised, but allowing boys to climb trees. Bottom line you are important as parents to navigate those risks and opportunities. A hired teacher can not, should not, and will not make those decisions for you. It is your glorious burden.

The other source of knowledge I highly recommend is to be found in the Book of Proverbs, in the Bible. It is shock full of instructions on what to accept as acceptable risks and what risks should be avoided at all costs. It even tells you that whatever you do, you should definitely not accept gifts from the local mafia godfather*! Well okay it doesn’t actually that, but you judge for yourself if that verse would encompass a mafia godfather 🙂

It is also shock full of instructions to be diligent and to not be ruled by fear to the point of paralysis. It teaches you to accept that some risks,should they come to materialize, are outside of your role of responsibility and clearly fall under God’s providential will that a calamity should occur. In that case your conscience would be free of guilt. But without knowing what those good and acceptable boundaries are, you would not know what is reckless and what is acceptable action.

God is good and he teaches us how to recognize those boundaries.

 

* Proverbs Chapter 23: verses 1-3

When you sit down to dine with a ruler,

Consider carefully what is before you,

And put a knife to your throat

If you are a man of great appetite.

Do not desire his delicacies,

For it is deceptive food.

Experience History Through Your Music Talent

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How does a parent realistically provide for the time and energy to develop a super-talented child?

On the one hand, you might be concerned about ripping the family apart because 15 year old Susan needs to be taken every night to her training and taken every other weekend out of town in order to progress to the next level of her talent. If that’s the case and you are more tender-hearted, then you are likely to abandon the effort in order to save the family. If you are more ruthless, you might decide it is in fact worth ripping the nuclear family apart and spend every spare moment of the family’s normal rest time to go all out for it. If you do go that route, you have to be aware that parents might divorce over the toll that it can take. I’ve painted extremes ends of different types of reactions can have to the presence of real emerging talent in their son or daughter’s life. Nevertheless those dangers are common enough occurrences that could become a reality in your family if you don’t have a strategy in place.

So is there anything you can do that still allows you to not be quitters with regards to your child’s talent and still allows you to keep the family harmony intact? Yes, yes, and yes!

One of those yeses is because you can take advantage of the fact that you are homeschooling your child and are therefore in charge of your normal school curriculum. So for example, if your child’s long-term talent has music as its core skill, then you should seriously consider choosing a history curriculum that will study the time periods through the expression of the lyrics and songs written during that time. This means that if you are studying history one hour a day through the music and lyrics of that time, then you will automatically be turning that hour into one of pushing your child’s talent deeper into his intellectual understanding. If you also should choose to have your child practice in the next hour, composing new lyrics in the style of that era on the topics of concern in that era, then you would be combining her English writing time with talent development. Again, her art would be pushed deeper into her mind and broaden her musical abilities.

If you really pick-up the spirit of dovetailing school work with talent time, then you could also focus on the science of sound and mathematics of sound when you realize that you can choose to focus on an aspect of science and math that supports your daughter’s talent growth.

Once you start dovetailing your school time with your child’s talent development time, the stress of trying to be like everyone with normal school and the stress of trying to find a separate, additional time for talent will evaporate. Harmony in the family will be restored and your daughter will be compounding the benefits of what were previously completely unrelated skills.

If you sign up for my newsletter, the first thing I will send you is worksheet to help you evaluate your current school time against one of how it could look if you leverage it to develop talent at that same time. So forward this post now to a friend who’s looking to get ahead with their child’s talent. Have them sign-up for my newsletter of weekly tips and I will immediately send them that worksheet too.
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