Father, how sweet must be the pleasure You find in Your eternal Son For long before You made the heavens Both You and He rejoiced as one And long before You formed the angels Before You made the day and night Jesus exulted in Your presence And He was all of Your delight
Father, what love You’ve shown to rebels That You would send Your Son so dear Into this world of grief and trouble To bring unworthy sinners near We’ll never fathom how it pained You When You supplied the offering To rescue those who had disdained You To watch Your dear Son suffering
Jesus, it fills our hearts with wonder That You would leave Your heavenly place To take on flesh to thirst and hunger To save the ones who spurned Your grace You came to forfeit every mercy To die that mercy we would find And then You hung alone in darkness So in our hearts Your grace would shine
Jesus, in glory You’ve ascended Never again to leave Your throne Because of You we are befriended Received and welcomed as God’s own Father, how sweet now is Your pleasure In us, Your daughters and Your sons We will delight in You forever In Jesus You have made us one
The perfect wisdom of our God, Revealed in all the universe: All things created by His hand, And held together at His command. He knows the mysteries of the seas, The secrets of the stars are His; He guides the planets on their way, And turns the earth through another day.
The matchless wisdom of His ways, That mark the path of righteousness; His word a lamp unto my feet, His Spirit teaching and guiding me. And oh, the mystery of the cross, That God should suffer for the lost So that the fool might shame the wise, And all the glory might go to Christ!
Oh grant me wisdom from above, To pray for peace and cling to love, And teach me humbly to receive The sun and rain of Your sovereignty. Each strand of sorrow has a place Within this tapestry of grace; So through the trials I choose to say: “Your perfect will in your perfect way.”
My husband once shocked a congregation by announcing from the pulpit on Mother’s Day, “I think Mother’s Day is silly!”
After everyone recovered from their indignation (not really) he continued to say something like, “After all mother’s do all year long we say, “Okay, you can have one day.”
So here at small steps, big picture,we’re going to celebrate Mother’s Day all week long! I’m so excited!!
I have several posts lined up that will encourage and compel women and mother’s from all walks of life; so check back during the week and celebrate with us.
To start it off, today I have the lyrics to a song I’m working on inspired by my sweet little Mckayla. Her little breaths and contented sighs while nursing melted my heart. Is there anything as sweet as a newborn?
To close, I’d thought I’d share a few funny comments from… ahem… my student.
It’s come to my attention that Hope is not unlike other students at all; she frequently blames her mom for the fact that she hasn’t practiced.
Unfortunately for her (and me!), I am her mom.
This week it was, “Yeah, we didn’t practice that too much, because I kept asking my mom if we could do it and she kept saying, “Not right now,” but then we never did do it.
Okay, partly true, but definitely blame-shifting!
“I didn’t do my theory because my mom never remembered to help me with it.”
Have I mentioned I have four kids five and under?
“So, I didn’t practice very much this week, but it wasn’t my fault. We were really busy.”
Oh, but I take it all in stride. Mrs. _____ knows the truth. One, that Hope is a perfectly typical little girl who loves to practice, but also doesn’t always quite do it the way she should, regardless of me; two, that I’m a just a mom with all the imperfections, busyness, and priority struggles of every other mom.
All this means that our weeks of practice follow a very normal pattern for beginning piano students, and I think that’s probably a good thing.
Thank you so much for reading! If any of this has been helpful or interesting, I’d love to hear your feedback. I know there are other moms out there doing the same thing, so I’d love to hear what has worked for you. Hope you’re having a lovely week!
This week is going to be short and sweet! (At the bottom are links to the other posts in this series if you need to catch up)
When I taught piano lessons to other people’s children, it was very important to me that I looked nice and that my house looked nice. Sensible enough. These people are paying me, I’m exerting some measure of influence over this child, and I want to look the part.
I think the same should be true, even when you’re teaching your own child.
Prepare yourself and your house as carefully as you would if you were teaching someone else’s child.
Obviously, I try as a rule to be dressed and looking nice during the day just for my girls. But there are days where my appearance and perhaps even the status of my shower-ed-ness is less than desirable. But not on piano lesson day.
If the morning was rushed and I was unable to get ready, then I will take fifteen minutes before Hope’s lesson to do my make-up, earrings, outfit. I want her to know that this is important to me; I also want to help myself take it seriously even on days when I’m tired or other things around the house aren’t quite up to par.
Would I be okay looking like this if another kid was coming for a lesson?
Then there’s the house. Thankfully for us, Hope’s lessons are on Monday afternoons. Monday is after Sunday; and that means that Monday morning is basically clean up from the aftermath of Sunday time. All that to say, there’s not usually too much for me to straighten before the lesson. However, after I put the little girls down for their naps, I take a look around and try to put things away until it looks presentable.
I’m not sure that Hope notices any of this. But I know that it helps me and my mindset. I want to give her my best, to be serious and committed. And for lesson day, that means looking put together personally and having a house that’s neat.
Any other thoughts on how to be professional while teaching your own child?
Here are the links to the other posts in this series:
Well, hello again! I have been teaching my daughter Hope piano lessons for twelve weeks now. Knowing that it would be a challenge, I decided to chronicle the happenings here. It’s been great for encouragement and reflection and hopefully even helpful for you as well.
The first post in the series dealt with a little trick I call The Name Game.
Today, I’m going to share some helpful tips I’ve learned about practicing with your child during the week, as the mom and NOT the teacher.
Tip #1: Take a different posture than you do while teaching.
If you usually stand while teaching, try during the week to sit down while they practice. If you’re the teacher who prefers to sit, trying standing while they practice.
This might seem so small, but it has made a huge difference for me.
The first few weeks of practicing with Hope during the week were really rough for me. I was trying so hard to not be “teachery,” but having trouble! I know one day I literally chewed a great big spot in my cheek. (It hurt!) Everything in me wanted to be correcting and instructing, moving her hands and straightening her back, and ugh. Something had to happen. So one day, probably the day after I chewed the inside of my cheek off, I decided to pull up an ottoman and sit down next to her instead of standing. (I always stand up when giving lessons) It was amazing how this small change gave me a totally different perspective. Instead of being a teacher, now I was just a mom. Listening, helping her know what to practice next, making sure she wasn’t dawdling in between assignments, but other than that, just being there and watching her play. Sometimes I hold a hot cup of coffee and just sit there; it’s actually kind of relaxing.
Tip #2: As a general rule, only correct what an ordinary parent would know to correct.
Yes, while I’m watching Hope practice, there are a thousand things that I know “Mrs. _____” would say if she was listening, but during that time, I’m not her teacher, I’m her mom. Especially at this early stage, I’ll do more damage than good by using my “pianist knowledge” with her as she practices. I would much rather her come ask me for extra help, then wish that I would put a cork in it.
When she’s practicing, and I think I should remark about something she’s doing wrong, I ask myself, “Would an ordinary parent know to say that?” And if I think yes, then I go ahead and try to help. If not, then I leave it alone. After all, we wouldn’t “Mrs. _____” to not have any work to do during the lesson.
Tip #3: Focus on developing good concentration skills and work ethic.
I feel that a parent’s “supervisor” role should have as it’s focus their child’s concentration skills and work ethic. Do I want Hope to learn to play that D Major scale correctly? Yes! But I can artificially teach her how to play it perfectly. As a parent, it’s more important to me that she begin to learn good character as it regards to learning and practicing.
Here’s an example, I won’t correct every wrong note or note value that she plays; but I do work on her dawdling in between songs, playing what I call “whatever music” (just random notes on the piano).
“Hope, this is your time to practice your lesson. That is not your lesson. We only have so much time, and you need to work on only the things that are written in your assignment book. When you finish one thing, you go right to the next.”
I’m all for being creative. I regularly let Hope have time at the piano to just “play.” She likes to experiment with sounds and intervals and ups and downs and everything. That is good and that is helpful. But when it’s time to practice the lesson, she must be focused.
This might sound like a lot to ask from a five-year old, but I’m not actually expecting her to do it perfectly now (that’s why I’m here), I’m just trying to plant the seeds of how to focus on a task you’ve been given. This translates to chores, schoolwork, and even games.
The same could be said of work ethic. I have the chance to watch her and gauge her diligence and effort. Even now, I want to encourage her to give her best. It’s a huge lesson in life to learn that a major way to respond with thankfulness for opportunities is to engage yourself in them with all your heart. Thankfully, she does pretty good at this right now, because she’s still loving it.
These things, concentration and work ethic (thought I might not use those exact terms with her), are things that I will comment on as I see the need. I feel that as the parent, these are things that fall under our concern. We’re uniquely able to deal with these issues as we oversee the practice time during the week.
Tip #4: Try not to make up for your child’s memory just because you are also the teacher.
This in some ways is a sub-point under the last tip. I’ll try to make it short. = ) A teacher has to be very careful and clear about what they want during the week. The child’s responsibility is to remember. If something is extremely important and the teacher thinks the student might need help remembering, they will probably make an extra note on the assignment book so the parent will be aware of the instructions as well. This way the parent can also help the child remember.
As far as Hope and I go, if it’s not expressly written in her assignment book and she doesn’t remember what Mrs. _____ said during the lesson, I don’t remind her (even though I am technically Mrs. _____ and know what she’s supposed to do). She needs to be accountable for remembering and she needs to feel the consequences of not remembering at the lesson if she didn’t follow through.
I hope these have been helpful and thought-provoking. As I already said, it’s been good for me to think through the different challenges of teaching your own child; and it’s been fun to figure out solutions to those challenges.
I can only imagine what we’ll learn together in the future! = )
(Next time we’ll talk about preparing yourself and your house to be “teacher-like” on lesson day)
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments.