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Shenandoah Feb. 19, 2014 (This I wrote on 2/19/2014)

Most mornings I wake to the sounds of birds, creak of the old house, sometimes rain on the roof, and sometimes just the sound of the neighbors leaving. It’s all a kind of music. Some music is soothing, some is work music, some just grates on our nerves. All of the sounds triggers memories.

The other day while my little grandson tried nestling down for the night, the song Shenandoah came to mind. As I hummed the melody, I heard his rhythmic breathing as he drew closer to me to feel the vibration of my chest. The more I hummed, the more I remembered the things that were soothing to me about the song and for the three nights over the last 4 that I had the little guy I sang or hummed Shenandoah (not that I have the best voice and luckily he doesn’t care at this point).

Until about 15 years ago, it was just another song with a pretty melody that evoked a reverent moment with thoughts of the country I live in. Now, I love that song more than ever. It takes me to a fall evening sitting in the Weber State Football Stadium watching the high school marching band playing. Lights were bright, the cool air chilled my cheeks while the trumpet solo warmed my soul. It reverberated through the entire stadium and from other comments, it was heard across campus in the night air. Beautiful, clear tones that swelled my heart until it overflowed down my cheeks. The soloist finished and stepped back into line keeping in rhythm with the other band members. Then I saw my youngest son round the corner as all the legs looked like someone moved them in one precise movement.

So every time I think of or hear that song, I remember a 15 year-old young man in his heavy white with gold trim uniform, a tall hat perched on top of overflowing blond curls, and bright red cheeks marching and playing his trumpet with the precision that carries him through the jobs he does now. (Just a note for his wife, I realize that keeping stuff picked up isn’t one of those perfectionist activities.) I thought about this curly headed  son of mine and realized throughout the years he had these characteristics from the moment I held him in my arms.

I thought about my 4 children and their attitudes, attributes, and characteristics and the variety of life each bring to the table. I thought  how we, as parents and grandparents or other adults in a child’s life, either make something worse or better by our reaction. I wondered what was the best way to promote habits that will help the children to be positive, kind, hard working, and so that they know how to follow a dream to fruition.  Our children aren’t born perfect, but sometimes the choices aren’t so good because of the lack of their experience and knowledge. They are learning just as we as adults do everyday.

Knowing we aren’t perfect as parents and children don’t come with handbooks, it’s wasted energy to berate ourselves or play the “if only” game. With each child and each day, we gain experience. We can’t change the other person, we can redirect behaviors and learning as babies grow We can change ourselves and how  react to situations.

It’s important to show love when a child repeatedly asks the same question. Otherwise, they will fear asking questions in other situations. Without asking questions, we lack problem solving skills and curiosity. Relish in their curiosity.

The old cliche of “Pick your argument,” has truth. If you freak out over the minor things, then the life threatening things lose validity or they think they can do nothing right.

Children need a safe place to make mistakes, ask questions, and learn they are special and have much to contribute. In the meantime, they will learn that everyone is special–at every age.

Remember also to not worry so much about past mistakes, learn and move on. Fill today with peace and love you, for that love will overflow to your child, family, friends, and to someone who may need it.

When I need a moment of peace, a clear memory of a happy time,  I hum Shenandoah and now I think of my little grandson and the days of my children. Music uplifts our souls. So find a quiet moment to reflect and enjoy the good times.