If you have watched the movie “Sound of Music” with Julie Andrews your mind probably continued to sing the song. . . “it’s a very good place to start. When you read you begin with A-B-C. When you sing you begin with…” ok you get the point. That movie is one of my favorites of all times. I think it’s something about a musical that just draws my little heart in. I have been around music my entire life. And I mean that in the literal sense.
My paternal grandmother has a masters in Music Education. She taught private piano lessons in her home until she was like 80 years old (or older) and was the organist for our church for, what we think to be, 55 + years. She won’t tell anyone the exact time and since the original staff that hired her is no longer around, it’s all a mystery! See what I mean, music has been in my life from the time I was in the womb. By the time that I was three (3) years old, she would stack book upon book on the piano bench just so I could reach the keys. I learned how to play octaves and chords before I learned my ABCs. I had even made a newspaper debut while sitting on said stack of books before I entered kindergarten. She is known for her amazing ability to ignite the heart of a child not only for music but just in life. That is what she and my grandfather did (once he retired).
They would have school aged kids in and out of their home. You never knew who’s bus was stopping or who would be getting off. (Their house was a place of safety and comfort, a place to congregate and to laugh. To sing and dance.) My Papa would feed snacks and talk life with children while waiting on their turn for a piano lesson or for a parent to pick them up on their way home to end the day. During those times with her students, my Mimi really did consider it her mission in life to find what it was that motivated a child and then use it to help develop their musical ability; as well as the child as a person. My Papa loved having reoccurring conversations with my Mimi’s students. Asking what they wanted to do in life, how were they doing in school, and what the latest was in their family. You name it, it was probably discussed. There are several of us “Ms. Dot piano students” out there that even learned to play a mean game of solitaire and maybe even more than one way to play it. Hang with me, I have a point in all of this rambling.
This week my children and I have been out of school for “Winter Break”. With break comes lots of time for movies and fun. Friday night the kids and I started watching “The Sound of Music”. One of the musical movies that my Mimi and papa would watch with me over and over and the memories begin to flood my mind. You see, I can honestly say, that it all does start at the very beginning.
My daughter, Evelyn, started Kindergarten this year. Boy oh boy was she excited for a new adventure! She could finally attend the school where her big brother attends. She could ride the bus that he rides (this is the part she was most looking forward to) and she would be making more new friends that are her age. (The girl is an extrovert just like her mother! A social butterfly that is.) But what she underestimated was the amount of work it would take to learn her ABC’s and the respective sounds. Yes we had worked on them at home and had started learning them, but she just wasn’t ready. Nothing enticed her to want to commit it to memory. Until, we discovered her love language. SHOES! Yep, you read that right. The girl has a SLIGHT fetish for shoes. Any shoes. All shoes. She adores SHOES!
This fall when I attended Evelyn’s parent teacher conference, it was brought to my attention that Evelyn was struggling. Not quite sure if it was something more than her lack of interest in the subject matter, her teacher and I set out to motivate Evelyn. Just as my Mimi would do with her piano students. It didn’t take much thought to figure out what it would take to encourage her to attempt to have her letters and sounds learned, SHOES! Date circled on the calendar, prize selected and the hard work began. I am happy to report that Evelyn accomplished her goal and as her reward she choose a pair of light up sneakers. Glitzy and glamorous, the girl has got the bling!
Just as Julie Andrews sang, “let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. When you read you begin with A-B-C. When you sing you begin with do-re-mi.”
The beginning really is a great place to start. Whether it’s the beginning of a story. Beginning of a friendship. Beginning of a new adventure. Ask yourself, what defines beginning for you? Maybe the beginning is investing in the life of a person no matter where they find themselves in life. Or maybe the beginning is being the landing pad for a child or even just a listening ear. For me, like my grandparents, the beginning occurs daily, time and time again, for any person that I cross paths with. The beginning is just that, a place to start, a place to continue, or maybe just a place to end.