Drums, Dogs and Dragons

If you are a parent by any means, you’d do well to learn about drums, dogs and dragons. These are tools of the trade that I highly recommend to those who would thrive rather than simply survive this quest of raising children.

DRUMS and other musical instruments encourage and provide opportunity for expression and creativity through music. For children who are constantly being shaped and formed to fit into the molds of normal and acceptable behavior, being able to freely dance to their own beat can counteract the challenge and stress of learning to do life right.

We almost always buy musical instrument gifts at Christmas. This year included a Kalimba, Djembe, Bongo, Xylophone, Bodrhan and Conga Drum.

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We experiment with these a couple of times a week. We have a music room. Well, it is just a room in this old fixer-upper of a house that we put the very used piano that was given to us, the keyboard, the drum set, my guitar I never learned to play and even harmonicas can live there. It is the place where we have explored and expressed ourselves without the worry of doing it right or doing it wrong.

Every family could benefit from such a place. A place designated to singing your heart out, dancing until you are breathless and listening for the beat. That’s how we usually start our music sessions. “Quiet! Quiet!” I will proclaim. “Listen for the beat!” Then we begin. We pass around the instruments, settle on a favorite and let the fun begin.

As a homeschooling mom of many teens and tweens, we have lots of hormones and feelings and attitudes happening at any given moment, let me just tell you. Sometimes, you just have to organize the chaos to the best of your ability and go with the flow. Or perhaps I should say rather to go with the beat.

I’m glad to say that as they have been regularly exposed to various rhythms and tunes, my children are becoming musically inclined and talents are behind discovered and then fine-tuned (pun intended). I’m often asked how they are all so musically gifted. I tell the truth, I just provided the drums and tried hard to never complain about the noise.

DOGS and other pets encourage and provide opportunity for learning responsibility and to nurture and care for another living being. Plastic dolls and stuffed bears have their place, but, a real living, breathing animal as a pet takes a child to a whole other place. Being depended upon and being counted upon is just what many children need in their lives.

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As a foster mom for fifteen years I often saw that the hurting and wounded children that walked into our lives could trust our dog before they bring themselves to trust us or other people. A pet is an opportunity to do for another life what should have been done for you. A pet never tells your secrets and never thinks you are ugly or dumb. They never think your dreams are unreachable. They love you at your worst. They think you are the best. What an opportunity for healing and growing and maturing!

DRAGONS and other fantastic creatures and adventures provide opportunity for imagination to soar. Stories can be written, poems penned, pictures painted, drawings sketched as they create worlds of heroes and heroines, worlds where good prevails and where you can soar far above the battle that rages below.

Look, our kids face battles just like we do. Whether you birthed them, fostered them, adopted them or simply loved them, the children in your life sometimes need to escape from the demands of school work and chores and maybe even memories of a dark yesterday.

As a mom I have learned the importance of listening patiently to the retelling of dreams that seem surely to have been embellished. I have learned to laugh with delight at the corniest of jokes. I have applauded effort rather than results. I have created scenarios to teach subjects that were tender and make them bearable. I have walked through the doors of imagination and validated the need to do so.

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Pretend is the place where you have no limits, no boundaries, no closed doors. They can visit Mars or save the world or be a little prairie girl. They can right the wrongs and correct the injustices and discover the solutions. They may, they likely will, discover themselves while the visit there.

Take courage. Gather your drums and dogs and dragons. Prepare thyself for the quest of raising up children who know how to find the beat, love and dream.

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