Tomorrow is Moving Day

Tomorrow is moving day.

He had the kindest smile and the brightest and biggest brown eyes a little baby could ever have. He happily slept through the night just weeks after appearing in my life. He filled my heart with thanksgiving and praise and brought joy to my existence.

Tomorrow is moving day.

When he was 3, he broke his arm. We rushed him to the hospital and he courageously kept from crying while the doctor manipulated his bones back into place.

Tomorrow is moving day.

In preschool he fell madly in love with a beautiful little girl and he told me he wanted to grow up and marry and have brown babies.

Tomorrow is moving day.

It took him forever to talk. I drove him to speech therapy and celebrated every clear word. His best friend, Mitchell, understood him perfectly well. They had hours and hours of fun with cars, legos, and pretend games. They never argued or fought. They just played.

Tomorrow is moving day.

I taught him to read. He was exhilarated every time he finished a book. The stickers on his chart were an outward expression of the pride and happiness he felt. He was a joy to homeschool.

Tomorrow is moving day.

There were very few things Daniel hated. Among those, are vegetables. He sort of still mostly hates them.

Tomorrow is moving day.

He always had a girl crush growing up. From kindergarten through high school, he was (and is) a romantic at heart.

Tomorrow is moving day.

Ryan became his buddy. Ryan is now his best man.

Tomorrow is moving day.

His love for animals was contagious. Nothing like a trip to the zoo or aquarium. He knew the name of every imaginable dinosaur, along with eating habits, time periods, and habitats.

Tomorrow is moving day.

He always had an incredible sense of direction. Lizette and I always relied on him to get us to the right place when we were lost.

Tomorrow is moving day.

I could always count on him when I needed someone to kill a palmetto bug.

Tomorrow is moving day.

The more he grew, the more he resembled his dad, both in looks and personality. Yet, he took after me in this one thing: his love for dancing. He was not shy about hitting the dance floor. His signature move was the worm.

Tomorrow is moving day.

He also loved the spotlight. I guess he gets that from me also (OK, he took after me in a couple of things). He found a love for theater and performing. He loved playing the bishop in Les Mis.

Tomorrow is moving day.

He served in Jamaica a couple of summers. He loved everything about it.

Tomorrow is moving day.

In high school, he fell in love with a long-time friend. Her name is Geneva. They officially became a couple on senior prom night.

Tomorrow is moving day.

He has always been and continues to be a very faithful friend.

Tomorrow is moving day.

His love for his family, especially his siblings, moves me deeply. When his sisters call him with a need, he’s willing to help at the drop of a hat. He is committed to Gabriel and I feel peace in knowing that Daniel will never leave him, but will watch over him with great care and love.

Tomorrow is moving day.

“Danieeeeel!” is what you hear at my house any time an electronic device freezes or malfunctions.

Tomorrow is moving day.

Goofy. ‘nough said.

Tomorrow is moving day.

He has become quite a fabulous young man. He is responsible, interesting, tech savvy, fun, engaging, respectful, and faithful.

Tomorrow is moving day.

Geneva has captured his heart and mind. He is a lucky duck. The two will wed in 2 1/2 weeks and ride into the sunset together.

Tomorrow he is leaving father and mother in order to cleave to his beloved.

My heart is full. I am proud, happy, excited, hopeful, as well as sad, nostalgic, and utterly surprised at how quickly time flew by.

 

daniel 4

daniel 6

daniel 10

daniel 40

daniel 39

daniel 38

daniel 36

Advertisements

My Son is a Genius

My son is a genius. No, I’m not kidding. He is a spacial genius. I don’t know if there is a specificity for the genial kind, but as a mom, I’m telling you, Gabriel is incredibly special and highly talented in spacial understanding and memory.

I know you are dying to hear my anecdote, so let me explain:

For the past few months: Gabriel has recently discovered the stimulating world of Google Earth. He has spent numerous amount of hours virtually navigating the streets of Miami, where he lived until four years ago. He has communicated to us that he wants to move back and that he has found a few spots where we can get a “new house”. He has a special spot in South Miami that he really likes. One day we found him looking at rental properties around the area, strategically planted within walking distance of a Pizza Hut.

Three days ago: My husband called me urgently to come into Gabriel’s room and see what his computer screen was displaying. We stared at it in total and absolute amazement, while Gabriel casually “visited” Seaquarium in his tablet.

24 years ago: When Gabriel was 1 year old, Juan and I, along with our two little ones, moved to “Kendall Club Apartments” and lived there for two years. When our third son was born (he was exactly 8 days old), we moved to a single family home nearby. Gabriel was 3. I do not ever recall returning to that apartment since our move. We drove by Kendall Drive many, many times throughout our life in Miami, but never did we enter the apartment complex again.

Three days ago: Gabriel was virtually standing in front of the exact apartment he lived in when he was 3 years old. Simultaneously, in his tablet, his finger moved through the streets of Miami, from the Seaquarium in Key Biscayne to Kendall Club Apartments. First the causeway, then US1, then Sunset Drive, passing by Pizza Hut, of course, to 87th Ave, to Kendall Drive.

He remembers it all. He can navigate it all. If he had the ability to drive, he would get in his car and drive straight from VA to his favorite spot in Miami. He could also take us, practically with his eyes closed, to Marco Island, Disney World (of course), Steve Reed’s house (inside story), Delaware, DC, Virginia Beach, or anyplace where he has been only once.

This may not seem like a genial trait to some. But for an autistic adult who has never driven, never seemed to pay attention to his surroundings, hardly ever looked out the window of a car, never asked or received verbal directions, nor ever studied maps up until recently, this is quite outstanding. None of my other children (who speak and drive) would be able to get to most familiar places of their childhood without any help or hesitation.

Of course, we already knew this about Gabriel. When he was 8 he got upset when I was driving him to school one day, and told me to “turn right”. I obliged, because when Gabriel used words we all made sure he was rewarded for that. After several commands to turn this way or the other, I found myself in Parrot Jungle. Gabriel smiled. He had only been there once before, but when he directed me there, he did so via an unfamiliar road, one that we had never taken to get to Parrot Jungle. Another time we discovered that he had drawn in his pad the entire way to Marco Island, one picture frame at a time, after we visited there once. The pictures took us to the hotel (and the exact room) in which we vacationed. These pictures were drawn several months after the fact.

Autism puzzles and intrigues me. Gabriel amazes me. I thank God that often times He gives us, who are closest to him, glimpses of the complexity of thought and depth of personality in him.

gabriel and his desktop

Gabriel elated to get a computer for his birthday

Gabriel and I

My boy and I

kendall club apartnements

Kendall Club Apartments in Gabriel’s computer screen

The 12 Months of 15K

On the first month of 15K my true love gave to me

My baby’s graduation party

On the second month of 15K my true love gave to me

Chilly days with family

And my baby’s graduation party

 

On the third month of 15K my true love gave to me

A fiddler on the roof

Chilly days with family

And my baby’s graduation party

On the fourth month of 15K my true love gave to me

A girls’ trip to Miami

Fiddler on the roof

Chilly days with family

And my baby’s graduation party

On the fifth month of 15K my true love gave to me

Kiiiids and more kiiiids!

Girls’ trip to Miami

Fiddler on the roof

Chilly days with family

And my baby’s graduation party

On the sixth month of 15K my true love gave to me

Beaches and vacations

Kiiiids and more kiiiids!

Girls’ trip to Miami

Fiddler on the roof

Chilly days with family

And my baby’s graduation party

On the seventh month of 15K my true love gave to me

Outdoor delights

Beaches and vacations

Kiiiids and more kiiiids!

Girls’ trip to Miami

Fiddler on the roof

Chilly days with family

And my baby’s graduation party

On the eighth month of 15K my true love gave to me

Seussical adventures

Outdoor delights

Beaches and vacations

Kiiiids and more kiiiids!

Girls’ trip to Miami

Fiddler on the roof

Chilly days with family

And my baby’s graduation party

 On the ninth month of 15K my true love gave to me

Fun in RVA

Seussical adventures

Outdoor delights

Beaches and vacations

Kiiiids and more kiiiids!

Girls’ trip to Miami

Fiddler on the roof

Chilly days with family

And my baby’s graduation party

On the tenth month of 15K my true love gave to me

Awesome BFFs

Fun in RVA

Seussical adventures

Outdoor delights

Beaches and vacations

Kiiiids and more kiiiids!

Girls’ trip to Miami

Fiddler on the roof

Chilly days with family

And my baby’s graduation party

On the eleventh month of 15K my true love gave to me

In the skies with Gabriel

Awesome BFFs

Fun in RVA

Seussical adventures

Outdoor delights

Beaches and vacations

Kiiiids and more kiiiids!

Girls’ trip to Miami

Fiddler on the roof

Chilly days with family

And my baby’s graduation party

On the twelfth month of 15K my true love gave to me

Hugs, smiles, and presents

In the skies with Gabriel

Awesome BFFs

Fun in RVA

Seussical adventures

Outdoor delights

Beaches and vacations

Kiiiids and more kiiiids!

Girls’ trip to Miami

Fiddler on the roof

Chilly days with family

And my baby’s graduation party

To the unmarried, Christian teenage girl who is pregnant:

I am proud of you.

Despite glances, gossip, and open criticism, you have chosen life.

Some have looked down on you for not terminating your pregnancy, making the assumption that the choice of birthing a child at such a young age will result in nothing but failure for you and for your child. Others have felt scandalized and even doubted that your faith in God is living and well, and have treated you as if your pregnancy made you unworthy of God’s love and grace.

You have felt ashamed as you have disobeyed the Word of God, which you have desired to follow throughout your life, and now your lack of judgement is worn on the outside, for all to see.

Yet, you have not chosen the “easy” way. You have wisely understood that despite your weaknesses, mistakes, and sinfulness, you have received a gift from God: the gift of life. You have decided that this life is more important than your social standing and reputation. You have put your life on hold and have made sacrifices and changes in order to carry and nurture this baby.

If you decide to parent this baby, you may give up your old dreams and replace them with new ones; you will live for another person and adjust your direction in life. It will be costly. If you chose to bless another family with the life of your child, by choosing adoption, you will suffer separation, yet you will be content in knowing your child will be well loved and cared for. It will also be costly. No matter the choice, you have willingly signed up for a very difficult task, and you have put the life of your baby over yours, and have shown tremendous maturity and displayed the heart of God for each one of his children.

I am proud of you.

So stand tall and rejoice in your choice. Do not let anyone bring you down. Life is a gift from God. Always. You inspire me to be brave and courageous.

I pray for God to fill you with his spirit, so you can obey him always, persevere in suffering, repent when needed, forgive when called for, pray constantly, and trust him in all circumstances.

My Son is Autistic. There, I said it.

My son is autistic. There, I said it.

During the last few years, advocacy groups for the disabled have encouraged the use of “People-First Language”. This concept has become the new and “correct” way of identifying an individual with disabilities. This means that, in my case, it would be incorrect to refer to my son as being autistic. Instead, I would need to say that he has autism. While I do appreciate the effort to not define the person by the disability, I think this is a matter of semantics. And it’s ridiculous.

Think about it. If we were to separate the condition or characteristic from the person, in every instance:

Wrong would be: “I am overweight”. Right would be: “I have extra weight”

Wrong would be: “I am a musician”. Right would be: “I have musicianship” — yeah, that doesn’t even translate.

Wrong would be: “I am talented”. Right would be: “I have talent” — Fine, they both work, but the first one is not really “wrong”

Wrong would be: “I am an American”. Right would be: “I am from America”

So what is the point? Is it to make sure that the autistic individual is not defined by a label? I think the label stands even if we say that someone “has” autism. Being a diabetic and having diabetes are one and the same! Either way, the person is medically defined by the pancreatic decease. Whether the person is or has, he still needs to stay away from sweets, inject insulin, and wear a medical warning on the wrist.

My son has autism, therefore he is autistic. Does it define him? Well, yes. And no. Autism influences the way he perceives the world, the way he processes information, the way he communicates, the way he conducts himself. His extreme talents and equally extreme disabilities and obstacles are because of autism. So yes, autism -not the label- defines him. And yet, autism does not define him. He is my son, autistic or not, he is loved and cared for, autistic or not. He can know God, autistic or not. He has feelings and desires, autistic or not. He loves. He is precious and valuable. So whether he is autistic or has autism, his essence as a person will never change.

My humble opinion is that we should just stop being silly pretending that the use of our verbs will alter the perception of the person. The overweight person can lose the weight, but the autistic person will more than likely never lose his autism. It is what it is. Let’s drop the semantics, people. It’s all good.

Gabriel and Juan hanging out in DC

Gabriel and Juan hanging out in DC

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

Psalm 139:13-14

Parenting Disney Style

As I was flipping channels looking for something to watch on TV, I briefly came across a reality TV show. All I could watch was about 7 or 8 minutes before I couldn’t take it anymore. Several girls had traveled to England to meet their Prince Charming. They did not know the man in question was an impostor and at the end of the show, after they “fell in love”, he would reveal his true identity (probably to the horror of the winning contestant).

But this is not a criticism of reality shows (I confess I do watch a couple of them; Have you seen Master Chef?) Rather, this is a perplexed observation of the interviews with these girls as they entered into their quest to find love. The words “fairy tale”, “prince charming”, “happily ever after”, and “soul mate” easily flowed from their mouths, garnished with deep sighs, bright eyes, and pensive smiles.

Let’s face it, girls are practically born romantic. Our little princesses love the idea of growing up and finding their prince. Not just any prince, but the perfect one, you know, like their dad. Through a steady diet of fairy tales, their feminine, little hearts are persuaded they will grow up, meet a great looking boy, fall in love instantaneously, and marry for sheer, eternal joy. Teenage girls’ Pinterest boards are packed with ideas for wedding dresses, wedding hair, wedding pictures, decorations, themes, and menus. Their minds are full of dreams of happily ever afters. It is natural and adorable when they are young. It is worrisome as they grow older.

I don’t claim to have an expert opinion on this issue, but it seems to me that it is actually unhealthy for parents to foster this idea of finding a soul mate, as if each of our kids are “meant” for a specific other person, and that this person will provide the happily-ever-after their hearts long for. It could seem harmless to instill this romantic idea that destiny (in a secular world) or God (in believers) has chosen this one, perfect match.

Am I just a cynic and a pessimist? I’m open to hearing other views, so feel free to chime in. But before you do, let me clarify my point of view:

I believe in marriage. I believe in marriage to one person, until death-do-us-part.

I believe in God, and I know that all things are ordained by him. Everything works out for the good of those who belong to him. Even bad marriages.

I believe that marriage is a really, really good thing. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful husband who has been my absolute best friend for the past 28 years.

I also know that marriage is hard, even painful. Spouses hurt each other, betray each other’s trust, and are hard to live with. Marriage takes WORK and perseverance. The idea of sheer happiness in a marriage, in my opinion, is non-existent. A good, intimate marriage develops in a battle ground where two people are striving and fighting against their own selfishness to love their spouse. It takes time and effort and lots of I’m sorry’s. It takes forgiving and forgetting. It takes self-sacrifice.

It is naive to think that bad things won’t happen, even in the lives of young people who take all the necessary steps to “insure” a future, good marriage. Death happens. Abandonment happens. Abuse and betrayal.

Finally, there are people who remain single, either by choice or by circumstance. The truth is that not all women find their “prince”. Our daughters could be called to God-ordained singleness, which is not a life any less worth living than a married one.

So if our girls, while maturing in age, do not simultaneously mature their thinking from fairy tale to fact, they could find themselves facing the harsh reality of life and not knowing how to respond to it. They could be so disillusioned by their crushed dreams, even to the point of a weakening of their faith in the providence of God.

I’ve been guilty of over-spiritualizing this concept of awaiting for this sole chosen mate. And while I don’t think we should crush little girls’ illusions and dreams, I am also convicted that we are to communicate realistically about their options. Marriage is an option. Singleness is an option. Hopefully they will marry one man and live intimately and lovingly with the same person until their old age. But sometimes things don’t work out that way. To me, what is important is to ground our children in a personal faith in GOD, not in marriage or circumstances in life. A spouse can abandon, but God will never abandon. A spouse can betray, but God has laid it all down for us, proving his faithfulness. We may feel lonely in our life’s journey, but in God we can find steadfast and fulfilling fellowship. So no matter what happens to our little girls as they grow up, if they are anchored in God, by trust, then they’ll not only be OK, but they will be prepared to face whatever comes their way.

Let us reject Disney and fairy tale parenting. Let us, instead, point our children to Christ, regardless of where life takes them.

 

 

Gabrieland: Eating Through the Middle

Gabriel has decided that food tastes better when eaten through the middle.

Picture a sandwich, a square sandwich. He will take his first bite in the middle of one side and continue forging through until he has divided the sandwich in two. In the process, he has smeared the inner contents of such sandwich, all over his cheeks. When he eats through a slice of pizza, he will end up with bright red tomato sauce up his nose and even to his ears. If we’re eating out, I’ll need to use at least 13 napkins per slice of pizza, and maybe, perhaps, if we’re lucky, he will look clean upon exiting the restaurant.

I don’t know why he thinks this is the proper way to eat, but to each his own, I guess.

I love this kid with all my heart.

 

 

Letting Go

We give birth to them, enduring discomfort and suffering after months of pregnancy and the pains of labor. We lose sleep and rise up early, cry when they cry, pray for them like we’ve never prayed before, and our entire lives change: priorities, schedules, activities, choices. Children redirect our thinking and cause us to learn how to love passionately and live for others. As we lay ourselves down and sacrifice our own wants and needs, we grow in affection and appreciation of these little people who come to mean the world to us. The more they grow, the heavier our trunk of memories and mementos.  We crave their well-being and happiness; we strive to raise them well and teach them the lessons we ourselves have learned. Our hearts latch on to theirs. We would do anything for them.

I believe it pleases God to give us children. The Bible says they are God’s gift to us. If He, God, has shown us unconditional love and care for us, his children, then it also brings him much joy and honor when we learn to love by having children. God transforms us more and more into his image as we learn repentance, forgiveness, mercy, and grace through relating to our kids.

So here is the conundrum: These people whom we love and die for, need also to be let go of, and often times I find myself feeling like I can never be whole again.

I remember the first time I left Gabriel, my autistic son, in preschool. He was three. We knew he needed to be in that program. But we also knew he had no ability to communicate with us and that if anything happened to him, there were good chances we would never find out. I could not protect him if he needed me. What fear I felt. What heart-wrenching pain. I watched him through the classroom door for a good 40 minutes before I was able to peel myself out of there. I sobbed all the way home.

About a week or so ago I was talking to my friend whose son just left for college. She told me she’s been crying every day since his departure. When I asked her what the biggest source of grief was, she said that she feared he would forget her, very much the way she forgot about her parents when she left home. That fear rang true with me. We might not completely “forget” our parents when we grow into adulthood, but we certainly do not suffer their absence as much as they suffer ours. So here we are left with a heart full of love and commitment and a life given over to our children, just to have to let them go.

Of course, I think growing up is healthy and leaving your parents is natural and actually a good thing. But despite the reason, the age, or the manner and degree in which children leave their parents, it is still a heart-wrenching transition for us. Sometimes the “leaving” comes in the form of the joyous occasion of their marriage, but sometimes it comes in the fearful departure to the military, or in the moving overseas, or in a child who leaves home prematurely, when we fully know they are not ready for it, or losing a child in a custody battle.  And what about when a child dies? How does one go on? How does a shattered heart continue beating? Not all of us experience the tragedy of the death of a child, but most of us do have to live through the letting go, to one degree or another, more than once.

I’ve had to let go many times. Having four living children, most of them now adults, and three miscarriages, the letting go has felt extensive. And there is a lot more coming! So how  will I do this? How does any parent let go of years of recitals or afternoons at the playground, or driving kids to soccer practice? HOW? Where is the switch that turns off the yearning and desire to spend time, to physically touch, or to feel our love reciprocated?

I do not have any answers. I just feel empathy. I feel for my friend whose son has left for college and for another dear friend who is a single mother and recently gave both of her kids in marriage, the same year. While these are great circumstances and blessed events, they also feel heavy and hard on their hearts. I feel for a couple I know who left their son at rehab on the other side of the country and for the parents I know who will be driving their son to boot camp at the end of the summer. I empathize. I understand.

If I were to be fatalistic about this whole thing, I would come to the conclusion that having children is not recommended, or that allowing oneself to love so intensely will only lead to pain and suffering, so why do it? But I do not see having children and loving your children as bad or destructive. I see it as a gift from God, a good thing. Yes, the more we love, the more we will hurt. So if we don’t hurt much it means that we have not loved much. I’d rather love and suffer than not to know such love. Besides, love for children doesn’t only produce suffering, but it also produces great, unimaginable joy. When I understand such love and happiness, I get a glimpse at what God’s love for me must be like. This is good.

While I don’t have answers, I do have hope. All of us, in this world of parenting, CAN have hope. This I know: If we put our hope in the outcome of our parenting, we might come to be sorely disappointed and wounded. In order to make it in one piece, I have found that my hope needs to be elsewhere. So even though my life will be wrapped around the lives of my children for a period of time, my hope for love, fulfillment, even companionship should lie outside the confines of those relationships. If it’s not, then I will cling to my children for dear life, and create a mess in the process. The love I feel for my children must have no strings attached and it should be truly selfless (not that I come close to achieving this but I strive for it’s approximation).

For one, I know that if I am a married woman, the love for my children should never surpass (in essence or in form) the love for my spouse. Practically, this is hard to do, since children tend to be more needy than spouses. But it is important to remember that the relationship with my children will change over time, while the relationship with my spouse is meant to be until death parts us. I can have a close friend and lover always, even when my children are gone. I can expect and hope companionship and equal partnership in a spouse until the very end, therefore I must treat this marital union with the utmost of priority, always.

But we live in a broken world, a world where people fail us, where loved ones die, where we push others away. So there are no guarantees in life: no surety of a lasting marriage, no certainty of faithful friends or financial security. Everything in life is temporary and changing. So even if I focus on my marriage and foster good, lasting friendships, and raise my children well, my hope cannot possibly be firmly placed on those things, because by nature, they could shift or cease to exist altogether. Only one does not change or fade. Only GOD is a rock, which cannot be moved. Therefore I know that as I prioritize my relationship with him, above the one I have with any human being, then I can rest assured that I will be OK, in the end.

I honestly do not have a grasp on how to let go of my kids. So this hope I cling to: “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” – (1st Pet 5:10). Suffering “for a little while” might last my life time, which in the scope of eternity is definitely a short time. The strength the Lord gives me comes in pieces and waves. As I need it, He gives it, mercifully. But the suffering, in one way or another, will continue until the day I am fully restored in His presence. What a hope! I do not labor in vain. I do not love and give and cry and pray for momentary happiness. I live through the bad things and the good things, and the great things of this life, with a much bigger calling: To see him, to be trained by him, and to love him more and more. Peter also says in vs. 4: “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” Yes! Yes, yes, yes! So even though the letting go of my children remains a daunting task and the loving of others will prove to be both a blessing and a source of pain in this life, there is an unfading hope of never ending happiness and steadfast fellowship with the one who knows me and loves me more intimately than any human being can possibly do. So maybe, just maybe, if I cling to this hope while going through this life, I can then not only “make it”, but rejoice in ALL my circumstances, even in the letting go.

Image

It’s a gift!

Singing with my boys

Singing with my boys

There is something so deeply entrenched in our souls that makes us, the human race, sing. I’m not sure how it works, but I know, from experience and from observation, that singing is a natural, instinctual even, response and overflow of our emotions. We don’t teach people to sing in the same way we don’t teach them to walk or smile. They just do. It’s simply a part of life: A gift from our maker.

Yes, there are factors which contribute to better or worst singing (I’m a voice teacher, I should know) but in the end, whether in key or out of key, trained or untrained, in company or alone, we allow our feelings to surface as we sing or as we listen to the singing of others.

Do you have legs that work? Then walk! Who am I to tell you that my walking is prettier than yours? Sure, some of us can use our legs for marathons while others simply to transport us a few feet, but if they move, they move. I get it, I basically stink at drawing (my father’s visually artistic genes skipped a generation, apparently), but I refuse to let that stop me while playing Pictionary. I will draw, even if badly, because I have hands that work and eyes that see. So why not sing? We have a built-in instrument that goes with us wherever we go and that requires simply the flow of air and the opening of our mouths. Yes, yes, you don’t need to point out that some singing sounds, well, less than pretty, painful even, but if God intended for only some of us to sing, then He would have given only some of us the vocal folds to do it.

So, why sing? Because you can. And because it’s healing and affirming and all around fantastic. Sing when you are happy and filled with energy; sing with others around a campfire and feel the bond of frienship; sing when you are depressed and in need of a good cry; sing when you’re in love; sing in the shower, you’ll enjoy the acoustics; sing when you worship God, in your car and in your church, and while you vacuum your house. Sing because you can, and because it allows you to feel and to let it all out.

I teach music for a living and I lead the choir at my church. I constantly meet people who believe they can’t sing (when they can.) Such belief usually comes from a time in childhood when they were told by others that they didn’t have a good voice. I have met countless of people who refuse to open their mouths to sing because they are convinced they can’t do it. What a horrible shame. I am not saying that everyone has a pretty voice or that everyone has musical talent. What I am saying is that everyone should sing. Period.

Parents, let’s never tell our kids that they can’t sing! Instead, encourage them. Sing them to sleep when they are babies, sing along to children’s songs with nursery rhymes, sign them up for choirs and music classes in school and after school. If they have a passion for singing, do everything in your means to help them develop their voice and treat it safely, not to obtain fame and wealth (even though that does happen in some cases), but to have longevity in their voice, to bless others, to create songs and record them, and to sing to their kids and grand kids.

Singing is good. And fun.

Only some of us will be professional musicians and singers. Only some of us will be cast in shows or hired as soloists or selected for a band. That should be expected. But singing is not only for the professionals. It’s a gift from God to all of mankind. So sing and worship and cry and laugh, because that what singing is for.