Grandparents ARE a gift. With some, they are a gift if they live nearby. With some, they are a gift if they live far away. Yeah, I know what you are thinking, and that may be the case for some folks, but I am serious here.
To a child, the best from their grandparents is the gift of unconditional love, and the gift of time, which many of them finally have at this stage in life. (As multi-tasking parents, time is do-able, but not so wide open.) And the best gift TO a grandparent is to watch joy brighten the child’s face because of them.
Over the years, I have been blessed with the opportunity to watch this process play out through my own life, as well as through Kindermusik.
A young family with their first born red haired baby boy named Elliot, was extremely excited when a grandparent who lived far away chose to give the gift of Kindermusik. Elliot and mommy, and sometimes Dad, were able to attend 15 weeks of classes together, singing, playing drums & percussion instruments, dancing, and playing peek-a-boo with the scarves. Elliot loved the book and instruments in the home kits, and the music that became familiar was the only way to soothe the baby on long car rides. Mom loved the one on one time with Elliot, and connected intensely with another Kindermusik family, becoming fast friends who do many things together. Grandma also received the weekly emails, and got some fabulous pictures of Elliot and Mommy in class. When she came to visit, she was able to attend class with them both, and seemed so grateful that her gift had given so much joy to her family over time.
(And right now, it is EASY to give this gift of a session enrollment at an easy price of just $60 a month. See details on the 2012-13 Session.)
Grandparents are always welcome in Kindermusik class ! In my opinion, the more family members involved in a child’s musical life just expands the opportunities a child has to be surrounded by the magic of music. I have special memories of my grandmother singing “You are My Sunshine” to me, and reading me stories. When we moved to a different city, I remember calling her to sing her songs I had learned, or to play a piece on the piano while she listened from far away. She was always so proud of me, and I knew how important music was to her.
Grandparents who live nearby are sometimes in the position to take care of the child while the parents work. Kindermusik has provided an excellent opportunity for them both to get out of the house, have some fun together, and be a part of a social atmosphere that allows children to play with others their age, and to learn the good skills of putting things away, sharing, taking turns, and interacting gently. Because as you know, most often, when at a grandparent’s home, the CHILD rules the roost, and they get everything they want, when they want it. Ok, maybe that’s just my husband’s mother. Bless her heart. And my DAD, sheesh ! My daughter has him wrapped around his little finger, and there is nothing I can say or do that will stop him from taking her to get ice cream even when she hasn’t had a good dinner. But in Kindermusik, the structure of the class with a group of children gently sets the scene to learn these interactive skills naturally.
Some of the most fabulous grandparents I have ever known (besides those in my family) are those who attend Kindermusik with their grandchild. They take such joy in simply watching their grandchild’s expression of joy as new instruments are brought out to play, and are pleased as punch when the child turns to them with such a proud look of accomplishment as they play the drums, or hide behind a scarf and peek out.
Nana Sue has been attending Kindermusik classes with Zoey since she was just about 3 months old, and she is now a walking, talking, singing, dancing, two year old, with a blossoming confident personality. Yes, this age requires a lot more energy ! But it also provides many laughs. I love to hear the stories that Nana Sue brings to class about how Zoey is singing a new song, or is totally fascinated with continuing one of the activities we introduced in class, like the recent kitchen bowls, spoons, and cotton balls !
Another family of working parents recently enrolled their child in the Village program (for babies). It is Poppy (Grandpa) that brings in little Erika each week, often accompanied by other grandparents, as many as FOUR total in a class, a regular cheering squad in chairs along the back wall. Erika, and the other babies, are happy to interact with each one of them as they toddle around the room. Generations are coming together in such joy. Our class is so much of a fuller experience with Poppy’s humor and good natured participation. Plus, I love to hear his deep voice as he sings along with us.
Another grandmother made the trek from Winter Haven each week for two years so that her 5 – 7 year old grandson could participate in the Young Child class, where his active learning style was a perfect fit for the way we learn music theory, music history, and melodic instrument skills. Ritchie and I connected in a way he had not been able to with his other teachers, and his grandmother could see that music, and this program, was a good outlet for his emotions and energy. Together we communicated and worked to help him in many areas of his education.
These children are truly blessed to have their grandparents as part of their lives. I have LOTS of these stories of Grandparents that are amazingly involved in their child’s musical life, whether they live nearby and participate in the weekly class and continue the fun and learning at home, or whether they live far away, and get to hear the child sing on the phone, and look through the pictures on our private Shutterfly site.
In this holiday season, in which we hold our extended families a little closer, I just want to recognize the Grandparents who are precious gifts in so many ways.
Please share a story of your own about YOUR grandparent sharing music with you, or how your child is musically blessed by their grandparents.