As parents, we tend to get lost in the moments as they come our way, but you can master each teachable moment by parenting with your whole heart!
by Jordan Paul | Follow her on Facebook.
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“It’s okay to sing out of tune if you sing with all of your heart…”
Unless you have a toddler, in which case it is imperative that you never sing. Ever.
I spent most of my childhood thinking I had a rockin’ voice. I did a lot of practicing. One time I put one headphone in my ear and sang Mariah Carey’s “Hero” and man, did I sound good. I belted out those high notes like I was a backup singer under her wing, eagerly awaiting my moment in the spotlight. Removing the headphones, I sang a cappella. Goosebumps emerged, but not the euphoric kind from heavenly sounds—rather the queasy kind that precedes nausea. Mic dropped, tumbled off the stage, and retired indefinitely.
So trust me when I say that I tread lightly into the singing arena, even when I’m doing children’s songs in a safe octave, sing-song way. I thought when I had kids, I could venture back into this quest for validation in the singing world. I mean, how well do I actually need to sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?!”
My talent agent, aka, my three-nager, doesn’t find any song I do amusing. Right around Easter, we went on an egg-hunt. Afterward, I turned around in the car and oh-so-gently sang, “who found eggs?” She replied excitedly, “ME!” Feeling pretty good about my approval rating, I continued with a little more gusto. “WHO FOUND CANDY?!”
The husband gasped, the baby started to cry, the car brakes activated, the tires squealed, and my toddler’s granola bar was thrown across the seat.
“MOM! NO SINGING! STOP! THAT HURTS MY EARS! NOT THAT SONG!”
Well, okay, then. Noted. Tough crowd. Just call me “Lady Gag-Gag.” I slowly turned around, slid down a little to hide my existence, rolled down the window so the rest of my integrity could leave the car, and silently thanked (cursed) my older siblings who bought me a voucher for singing lessons when I was ten… but never actually bought the lessons. Just printed a voucher.
We spent the rest of the car ride listening to the radio and me singing like a robot, just so nothing could be confused as a note coming out of my mouth.
But in the midst of being reprimanded by my offspring, I learned a few things. As I pick up the broken pieces of my ego, I am using them to build a foundation of teachings for my kids. I want to always be parenting with my whole heart and here’s a few tips that I found beneficial for myself and my girls.
1. It is OKAY to sing out of tune if you sing with all your heart.
Isn’t that the key to life? You may not be the best but if you are loving the experience, having fun, and trying your best, the rest doesn’t matter. (Unless you are a doctor or roller coaster builder; please be good at that). The truth is, I want my children to be experts at some things and I want them to find areas of improvement in others. And frankly, I kind of want them to be bad at some things, so their kids can call them out on it. KIDDING!
I want them to know the difference between a profession and a passion and jump over the lines in the sand as they toggle between both. Being #1 isn’t everything. Being last isn’t the end of the world. A marathon is still 26.2 miles, regardless of your attitude. Choose the fun way. Choose positivity.
2. It’s OKAY to speak up for things you don’t want.
Yes, it’s important to stand up for the things we do want, but it is equally important for them to be able to say, “no” or “I don’t like that” without feeling guilty. I want them to be able to say no to broccoli or to a cookie and feel heard. And then I want them to find a new family because who turns down a cookie?
Most importantly, I want them to feel so empowered as women that when they say something, they’re acknowledged and respected. I don’t want them to spend their lives finding ways to please people. I want them to be so confident in their desires that they bring out the confidence in others. Ideally, they’d find more tactful ways than the Easter Egg Recap Incident of 2022.
3. You can’t change what other people think. You can change how you react.
Your reaction matters. What you do next matters. Her reaction to my singing was so abrupt that it caught me off guard. I was so quick to wither into a puddle of self-pity that I just avoided the teaching moment altogether. I had spent my whole life feeling like a terrible singer and here is this little innocent, human lie-detector, calling me out in an area I already feel inadequate in. Ridiculous, right!?
Now that I’ve had a chance to think about it, I would have changed my reaction. I would have kept singing. I would have taken a breath when done and said, “Baby, thank you so much for feeling comfortable enough with me and trusting me to tell me how you feel. But I was having a great time singing and I was so excited to ask you about your eggs.”
Is it profound? No. But the older I get, the more I realize that other people’s opinions of me are not my business.I have no control over how people think of me, feel about me, or what they say about me. However, I do have control over my own reactions. I can either allow their opinions to defeat me, or I can choose to wear a smile and live my life to the fullest.
I want my girls to plow through life realizing that there are going to be people looking for opportunities to tear them down. Instead of shrinking into a defeated mindset, I want my girls to square their shoulders, tighten their boot straps, and step right over the people in the way of their greatness. And then, because I am a good human, I want them to turn around to offer a hand to the people left in their dust…or walk away again. Whatever makes most sense at the moment.
I’m molding these little humans into great contributors of society, and I am finding that they’re reshaping me. I’m being shaped to be a better Christian, human, wife, friend, daughter, sister, and mom. And in the process of taking on my new shape, I’m helping form these beautiful girls. And I’m doing it out of tune– with my whole heart!