Meet Children’s Author, Wanda Luthman!

WandaLuthman

Wanda and I met in an interesting, serendipitous way. First we connected on LinkedIn, which really isn’t that unusual. After that, however, we discovered we were both going to the Space Coast Book Lovers Conference in Cocoa Beach, Florida. We were looking forward to meeting in person and then, better yet, our tables were next to one another! What are the odds? I call that something along the lines of “meant to be.”

I enjoyed visiting with her tremendously and was so impressed by her and her adorable books I wanted to pass that along. Her background in mental health and guidance counseling show through in these uplifting stories. If any of you have young children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, are teachers, or whatever, take note! These colorful books will charm your socks off!


MF:  I grew up on Little Golden Books and fell in love with stories when I was a

preschooler. What was your favorite book as a young child and did it influence your writing?

WL:  My all-time favorite book was Charlotte’s Web. My third grade teacher read it to us at school over several days while we were waiting for the bus. I definitely believe this book inspires my writing today. While I had already started writing books by third grade, this book is one that I look to aspire to. I want children to feel something when they read my books, just like I did with Charlotte’s Web.

MF: What influenced you the most to decide to write and publish children’s stories?

WL: My daughter has been a source of inspiration for me to write. I saw the world through her eyes growing up and it got me back in touch with my inner child which is where I believe my creativity lives. But, what inspired me to actually publish was that my Pastor had written a book and something about knowing an actual person who published a book made me want to go for it. Plus, being 40 and finally over the fear of people saying ‘no.’

MF: How do you get your ideas? Are they based on experience or just come to you?

WL: My ideas bubble up from somewhere inside that I can’t really explain. However, when I look back on a story after I’ve written it, I can usually see that it came from a thought I had while riding my bike or enjoying the beauty of nature or sometimes from a song I hear.

MF: Which comes first? Visualizing the illustrations, creating the character, or the poetic rendition of the story?

WL: When I write a picture book, the words and rhyme come first. Sometimes when I’m

particularly stuck on a spot in the story/poem, that’s when a visualization will help. If I can see it, I can describe it. By seeing it, though, I mean in my mind’s eye.

MF: Do you ever do readings? If so, do you have any special experiences to share?

WL: Yes, I love to do readings. I have read at schools and libraries and once at a Barnes & Noble. What I love is looking at the children’s faces just listening intently. Afterwards, I usually take questions and I love the questions children come up with. Often they are the children that like to write themselves. I truly hope I inspire them to follow their dream of writing.

MF: Of your various characters, do you have one who’s your favorite? Why?

WL: I think my favorite character is Franky the finicky flamingo. He’s very colorful and wants to stay that way but doesn’t like any other birds’ food. He’s fun and unique. He also has a second book coming out where he’s trying to find his favorite drink. But, it’s not about what you think. This one has an earth-consciousness message.

MF: What’s your favorite part of writing? You least favorite?

WL: My favorite part of writing is the actual writing. When I have something inside that is pushing me to write it down and I sit down and it just flows out of me. It’s like I’m in a zone. It’s wonderful! My least favorite part is figuring out how to connect my books with readers. I love book fairs, craft shows, and school/library events but they are not always easy to find.

MF: If you could have dinner with any children’s author, living or not, who would it be?

WL: It would definitely be with Dr. Seuss. I love his writings. He is playful, yet has a message. I also love his rhyme and meter. He is my writing hero!

MF: What genre do you like to read for you? Do you have a favorite author?

WL: I read a lot of children’s books. I started reading them to keep my finger on the pulse of what was happening in the industry and then realized I liked them a lot. I guess it’s how my mind words so I connect with them. However, I read a lot of spiritual books. Ever since my Pastor’s book landed in my hands and it turns out it was a 28-day meditation book, I have become very interested in contemplative meditation which has an eastern feel to it. So, I read everything I can get my hands on about that. I find it so encouraging to meditate and soak in love and then I turn around and can give that away to help make the world a better place.

MF: Each of your books have a theme and a cleverly disguised lesson. Do you know what your next story will be about?

WL: I never know what my next story is going to be about. I have to wait for the idea to percolate inside me and then bubble up to the point I’m aware of it and have to write it down. I have already written three more picture books (one for Halloween, one for Christmas, and one for Easter). I have a full book written as the sequel to The Lilac Princess. I have an idea written as a sequel to Gloria and the Unicorn and an idea that’s been turning over in my mind for a sequel to A Turtle’s Magical Adventure. But, right now, I’m finishing up the sequel to Franky the Finicky Flamingo, the one that’s about Franky finding his favorite drink. I can’t decide between the title Franky Finds his Favorite Drink or Franky the Thirsty Flamingo. I love the alliteration of the first one but the second one sounds more like the first title. If any of your readers has input, I’d love to hear it!


Wanda’s books are available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The Lilac Princess

A modern fairy tale of a young Princess with too much responsibility and not enough freedom. She is an only child to an elderly King and Queen of a Kingdom in turmoil. Upon her rests the responsibility to rescue her Kingdom one day, but for now, she is held within the castle walls for her safety. She longs to go outside just for a moment, to smell the sweet lilacs growing in the meadow. Come along on her adventure when she dares to escape the castle walls and meets a cursed dragon. Little does she know that while the dragon has an evil plan, her sweet spirit may just unravel it.

Franky the Finicky Flamingo

Franky is a finicky eater or so it seems. He tries food that the other birds like to eat but nothing appeals to him. Finally, a friend helps him discover the food that is right for him. The message is about accepting our “finickiness” while also understanding our need for the “right” (aka healthy) foods.

Little Birdie Grows Up

A precious story about a bird’s hatching to leaving the nest. Be warned, adults, have a tissue handy!

A Turtle’s Magical Adventure

A Turtle’s Magical Adventure is a charming, heart-warming story of a turtle who doesn’t like his shell because it makes him too slow. Tad asks other slow animals if they also mind being slow. Each one gives an answer that helps Tad feel better, but, still he wants to be fast. He happens upon a snake who tells him there is a wizard that can make him fast. He goes on an adventure into The Magical Timberwood Forest to meet the wizard and hopefully get his wish fulfilled. He encounters delightful, magical creatures along the way but also meets with danger and choices. Will Tad get his wish or will the wizard turn him into turtle soup?

Gloria and the Unicorn

Gloria struggles with her facial disfigurement and wanting to fit in. Gloria’s mother died at birth and her father gave her to Miss Libby, the owner of a children’s home. Miss Libby loves the little girl and feels protective of her. But, it’s not until Sir Louie, the unicorn, shows up that Gloria starts to believe in herself. She has a conflict at school and never wants to go back and then she finds herself in an even worse situation; she encounters the evil Wizards of Malcadore who want to kill her. She must decide if she will face her fear of certain death to save her friend, Sir Louie, or lose him forever. Come along on Gloria’s marvelous journey with Sir Louie.

Connect with Wanda

Amazon Author Page

Website/blog

Facebook Fan Page

Twitter

YouTube

Instagram

LinkedIn

Google+

Goodreads

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A Raw, Heart-rending Account of a Mother’s Love

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I’m heartbroken as well as outraged that someone had to have such a horrendous experience as the one chronicled in this story. The strength and maturity the author displayed while going through the heart-rending experience of being there for her five year old son while he battled cancer is truly a testimonial to a mother’s love, especially someone who had been abused herself, but had the fortitude to break that cycle.

It’s not like this mom had the support of her family during this trying time. To the contrary, she had an abusive, sociopathic husband and a mother who was to say the least, a psycho bitch from hell, both of whom did everything in their power to make Sarah’s life as miserable as possible. Neither cared about the poor child, but simply wanted to cause as much misery as possible. It’s amazing to me that the courts failed to stop these horrible individuals from harassing this poor woman as well as a child who was gravely ill. It really calls into question both the parental rights of sperm donors as well as grandparents who don’t deserve the time of day, much less inclusion in their grandchildren’s lives. With all the documented abuse, it’s outrageous the courts didn’t protect them. Her abusive husband, whom she was trying to divorce, had over 20 DUIs, yet he was allowed to have access to her and the children! Why wasn’t this worthless SOB in jail????

And then there is the medical side of this nightmare. First of all, incompetent doctors failed to diagnose the illness in the early stages, when perhaps it could have been treated successfully. Then when the poor little guy was hospitalized, it was amazing how many mistakes were made, or could have been, had his mother not been there, keeping an eye on everything.

What follows is technically a spoiler, but all you have to do is ponder the title or look at the cover to know that this story does not end well. In fact, the final mistake that ultimately cost the child’s life was due to a bad decision by a therapist that was carried out in spite of the mother’s protests. The autopsy showed no cancer remained in his little body, his death ultimately caused by the treatments he’d received. What’s the matter with these people who can inflict poisonous therapies on innocent children to the point of death and call it healthcare? Most of it is little more than experimentation, and certainly no better than some of the things the Nazis did during WWII. Okay, this story took place in the 90s and some things have improved, but not much.

While many people in the healthcare industry are caring and competent, and they do save lives, too often patients are seen as no more than another piece of meat or a cash cow. To be fair, I’ll admit that I’d probably be dead today except for having had cancer surgery twice in 1993 and 2008, and a stiff round of antibiotics for bacterial pneumonia in November 2017. Nonetheless,  I’ve had enough negative experiences myself with the medical profession that I am for the most part skeptical and wary when that prescription pad comes out or chemo is mentioned. It’s no secret that healthcare in the USA is not about making people well, but making money, particularly for Big Pharma, who virtually runs the FDA. Other cures exist for cancer–not just one, but many–which are suppressed by the powers that be because they are natural and can’t be patented. Seriously. What’s wrong with this picture?

When I think of that poor, innocent child  going through medical procedures that amounted to legalized torture, to say nothing of his mother having to witness it, I don’t know whether to cry or scream. The casual attitude toward x-rays and CT scans with no regard to the harm caused by exposing a child to repeated radiation is appalling. I’ve been through a round of chemo and it was pure hell. When I think of a child being subjected to that, plus the radiation treatments, my heart aches, especially when it’s possible that other, gentler treatments exist, yet are illegal because they could threaten the income of the pharmaceutical industry. In what universe is that morally okay?

And then there’s the matter that so many children from the surrounding area had come down with cancer. What was going on in the environment for that to happen? Why are so many children coming down with cancer everywhere these days? This reminds me of the fight Erin Brockovich took on against Pacific Gas and Electric, who were polluting the water supply hexavalent chromium and caused a similar outbreak of cancer in a small California town decades ago.  And then there’s the matter of our insecticide and herbicide tainted food supply to say nothing of matters such as Monsanto, GMOs, and so forth, all jeopardizing our health, while the government tells us it’s okay.

There is something fundamentally wrong with a society that allows such things to happen. The fact that this mother was able to get through this heartbreaking experience without being bitter toward those who failed her so miserably shows what a good and caring person she is.  I am furious that so many let her down, from the court system to the medical profession, and even the government, and that her story, decades later, is not that unique. While her love and dedication to her child is definitely inspiring, a system that exacerbates the pain of such a situation rather than relieve it is nothing short of criminal.

Pick up your copy on Amazon here.

A Beautifully Written Children’s Tale for All Ages

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5stars

While technically a children’s story, this beautifully written and touching tale by award-winning author, W. J. Scott, demonstrates that a great story works for all ages. In fact, some parts of it were so suspenseful and heart-rending, I felt it could be a little scary for some young children.

The main character, Kywah, is a silvertail, a unique species with subtle, magical powers. Much of these abilities lie in their tail, which acts similar to an antenna to pick up information around them. Unfortunately, poor Kywah’s tail was severed by an evil hunter named Samsa, stunting his physical progression to maturity.

To make things even worse, Tullius, the local wizard acquires the severed tail and discovers it has magical properties that will help boost his own failing magical powers.  This leads to a bounty being placed on silvertails for their tails as well as their pelts, which motivates the local hunters to seek them out.

A silvertail from a neighboring pack brings ominous news that hunters are closing in. Subsequently, Kywah embarks on a treacherous mission to visit Rotarn, their species’s “Wise One”, to obtain the deep magic needed to protect them.

This is an outstanding, suspense-filled story with a multitude of messages addressing courage, dealing with disabilities, the bonds of friendship, and commitment to one’s mission, whatever it takes. As an animal lover myself, the plight of these sweet creatures really touched me, in view of the many species bordering on extinction today due to being hunted by cold-hearted, selfish men. I recommend it highly as an outstanding example of a great story with an equally great message. Fortunately, it’s the first volume of a series, allowing me to look forward to the next book.

Pick up your copy on Amazon here.

“Watch RWISA Write Showcase Tour” — Day 26

RWISA TOUR (1)Guilt, Shame & Fear

By Stephanie Collins

I can’t stand the feeling of being out of control, so I’ve never had any interest in trying drugs or alcohol,” I mused.

STEPHANIE COLLINS

Stephanie Collins

You sure seemed to have an interest when you were younger,” Dad informed me. He responded to my perplexed look before I had a chance to deny his claim. “What? You don’t remember trying pot? Let’s see. It was about 1975. That would have made you five, right? I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a summer afternoon. I walked into the living room and found you with a bong in one hand and a beer in the other. You just looked up at me, glassy-eyed, with a smile on your face and said, ‘Hi, Dad.’ You don’t remember that?”

Uh…no!”

Ha! Do you remember the massive headache you had the next day? You hated life that day! I told you not ever to do it again…and you never did,” he reminisced in a tone laced with humor and pride.

It was after that conversation when I really began to question my apparent lack of childhood memories. I have next to no memory of life before the divorce of my parents (when I was eight) and precious few afterward.

My parental split also marks the onset of memories of the “secret playtime” I shared with Dad. I remember realizing that what was happening to me was wrong (to a certain extent, anyway), but Dad really missed Mom. I felt proud to be there for him in his time of grief and loneliness. I had many roles as the oldest daughter. I got my toddler sister to bed on time, scolded her when I found her drinking a beer (that one I do have a vague memory of), and I cleaned the house. Those “more intimate interactions” with Dad were just another in my list of responsibilities as I saw it.

But if Dad remembered the timeline correctly, Mom and Dad were still together when I was five. Where was Mom when her Kindergartener daughter was experimenting with drugs? Could this mean I should add neglect as a descriptor of my “chaotic” upbringing? Could it mean the molestation began earlier than I have any memory of? Does it even matter at this point?

For a time, I was skeptical if someone told me s/he didn’t have sexual abuse in their background. It seemed it was everywhere. I ran a support group in a junior high school when getting my psychology degree. It was for eighth-grade girls, and the only qualifier for an invitation to the group was poor school attendance. After a few weeks of meetings, I opened a session with – innocently enough – “So, how was everyone’s weekend?” One girl immediately began to cry. She explained she had confronted her parents over the weekend with the news that her brother had sexually abused her for years. She had come forward out of fear for the niece her brother’s girlfriend had just given birth to. That student’s admission led to the revelation that six of the seven of us in our circle that day had a history of sexual abuse.

My best friend in college was gang-raped in high school. My college boyfriend was [brutally] raped by a neighbor as a child. Maybe the most disturbing situation I heard about was when I was a senior in high school. I had befriended a freshman. She came to me one day, inconsolable. She was petrified, as she was positive she was pregnant. I tried to calm her with reassuring words, then asked, “Have you told [your boyfriend] yet?” She burst into a fresh bout of tears. When she was finally able to speak again, she confessed in an agonized whisper, “I can’t! It’s not his. It’s…it’s my uncle’s, or my father’s.”

I don’t know how I thought sexual abuse was rampant all around me but had somehow left the rest of my family untouched. Soon after my first daughter was born, I learned that Dad had attempted to molest my younger sister when I was about 12 (my sister would have been 7 or 8 then). As it turns out, I disrupted the attempt when I went to inform them I had just finished making breakfast. I learned of that incident because our [even younger] step sister had just pressed charges against Dad for her sexual abuse from years earlier. He served four years.

Incidentally, that family drama enlightened me to the fact that my grandmother had been abused by a neighbor. My aunt had been abused by her uncle. I wonder if Dad had been sexually abused, too (in addition to the daily, brutal physical abuse I know he suffered at the hands of my grandfather).

As with most survivors of abuse from a family member, I am full of ambiguity and conflict. I am glad Dad was educated to the error of his ways. I’m satisfied he paid for his crimes. I’m relieved the truth came out. I hate that the truth came out. I mourn for the shell of a man who returned from prison. I weep for a family that was blown apart by the scandal. I am heartbroken for my grandmother, who was devastated by the whole ordeal. I am thankful I live 3000 miles away from my family, so I don’t have to face the daily small-town shame they all do, now that Dad is a registered sex offender. I am proud of my step sister for speaking up. I am woefully ashamed for not having the courage to do it myself, which possibly would have prevented the abuse of others after me. I love my father. I am thankful for the [many] great things he has done for me over the years. I hate the effect his molestation had on me, including the role it likely played in my high school rape by another student, and my first [abusive, dysfunctional] marriage.

As I’ve clearly demonstrated, my story is far from unique. Heck, it’s not even remotely severe or traumatic when compared to what others have survived. Still, here I am – 40 years after my first memories of molestation – and I’m still suffering the consequences. Along with my disgrace for allowing others to be abused after me, I carry incredible shame for my involvement in the acts (regardless of the decades of therapy that advise me I had no real power or choice in the matter). I carry unbelievable guilt for the strain my history places on my relationship with my husband. He’s an amazing, wonderful, loving man, who deserves nothing less than a robust, vigorous, fulfilling sex life, but gets – to the best of my ability – a [hopefully] somewhat satisfying one. I carry secret embarrassment over the only real sexual fantasy I have – that of reliving my rape and [this time] taking great pleasure in castrating the bastard in the slowest, most brutally savage way imaginable.

Heaviest of all, I carry fear. There’s nothing I can do to change my past. All I can do is work toward preventing the continued cycle of abuse. I may have a warped view of personal boundaries, I may struggle with my sexuality, and I may be somewhat unfamiliar with healthy family dynamics, but I can do all in my power to ensure my kids fare far better than me. I fear failure.

My eldest daughter has mild to moderate developmental delay. While statistics for sexual abuse in the general population is scary enough, the likelihood of abuse when a cognitive disability is involved is all but a certainty. My second daughter is non-verbal, non-ambulatory, and severely mentally delayed. She’s a prime candidate for abuse. What if my efforts to protect them fall short?

My [teenaged] son and my youngest [“tween”] daughter both have ADHD. Impulse control is a constant struggle for them both. What if the education, counseling, advice, and coaching I offer them about healthy relationships, sexuality, safety and personal responsibility aren’t enough?

I try to counteract these lingering after effects of abuse by remaining ever thankful for the love, good fortune, and beautiful life I share with my husband and children today, but my guilt, shame, and fear cling to me with tenacious persistence.

I am just finishing “It Begins And Ends With Family” by Jo Ann Wentzel. I highly recommend the read. The subject is foster care, but no conversation about foster children is complete without a discussion of child abuse and neglect. While we can debate the best course of action in helping abused children, the top priority must be to work toward a goal of prevention; to break the cycle of abuse. I am hopeful that – as a society – we can work together to empathize, educate, support, counsel, and care enough to stop the cycle of all abuse. If sharing my truth will help toward that goal, well…Here I am. This is my truth.

***

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH RWISAWRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Stephanie Collins’s RWISA Author Page

FREE Family History Tips and Tricks!

FHFFStars copy

If you’re into genealogy, family history, memoirs, family folklore, or scrapbooking, don’t miss out on these tips and tricks available for FREE for a limited time. But hurry, this offer is only good until May 17, 2017.

You already know that memories worth keeping should be preserved. Here’s how! In most cases, all it takes is your smart phone! If you’re not sure what to include, are short on ideas, or think family history is limited to a bunch of boring pedigree charts, then you really need this book! Download your copy today!

FREE! It doesn’t get any better than that!

Still not convinced? Check out these excerpts on Bublish.

Download for FREE from Amazon US

Prefer a print version?

$4.95 Amazon Print Version 

or get 15% off with Discount Code CVJXJUUC at Create Space

 

A Coloring Book with a Biblical Message

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More than just a coloring book, this inspirational activity book will help you relax, unwind, and enjoy some creative fun while hiding God’s Word in your heart.

The 35 separate verses and passages are printed in colorable word art with decorative borders, blank on the back to make them easier to remove and frame or display, if desired. Each one is accompanied by two different activities or puzzles featuring the verse or key words from it.

Hide it in Your Heart is an ideal Scripture memorization aid for Christian schools, homeschool programs, Sunday schools, or your own personal use. Children and adults will enjoy learning, practicing, and meditating on these artistically presented verses from the New International Version Bible.

Proceeds from the sale of Hide it In Your Heart will be donated to www.Christar.org to help provide a translation of God’s Word for a particular people group in East Asia who do not yet have the Bible in their own language.

Here are a few sample coloring and activity pages from Hide it In Your Heart. If you’d like to color them or complete the word puzzles, click on the link below the illustration to access a PDF that you can download and print.

09212016pdfclipSample page: Psalm 68:5-6a

Hide it In Your Heart is available in paperback on Amazon. Click here to order your copy for $8.99.

HOWEVER, you can get it for 15% off if you order it here on CreateSpace with coupon code JZBVVBH8! The code can be used an unlimited number of times and will not expire, so feel free to order as many copies as you like for family and friends. Hide it In Your Heart makes a great gift for anyone who enjoys word puzzles, coloring, or God’s word!

You’re welcome to share the code with others, too.

Happy coloring!

About the Author:

annie-douglass-limaAnnie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published thirteen books (two YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, five anthologies of her students’ poetry, and a Scripture coloring and activity book). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

Connect with Annie Douglass Lima online:

Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com

Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieDouglassLimaAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/princeofalasia

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGoodreads

Google+: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGooglePlus

Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/AnnieDouglassLimaOnAmazon

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AnnieDouglassLima

LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnLinkedIn

Sign up for author updates and receive a free ebook of “interviews” with characters from her fantasy series: http://bit.ly/LimaUpdates

 

5 Parenting Tricks to Raise a Smarter Child

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Children are born curious. That is why they drive their parents nuts. Even before they can talk, they’re into everything, whether it’s the kitchen cupboards or the catbox. Hopefully, the no-no’s are replaced by toys that are equally stimulating, though most parents have found that nothing can replace something as simple as a big, fort-sized box. When they learn to talk, then the questions begin. And for busy parents, these are often seen as a nuisance and distraction versus the opportunity they are to enhance your child’s intelligence and creativity. Instead, it’s usually squelched by sitting them in front of Netflix or a video game. I won’t even talk about the concept of going outside to play, since nowadays that seems as old-fashioned as rotary phones.

Most parents want their children to grow up to be successful, self-sufficient adults. With luck, maybe they’ll even take care of you someday. The question is whether your current parenting tactics will bring that result? What does your child’s diet comprise? Not just physical, either, though that’s the first place to start. Proper nutrition is important in too many ways to address in this blog, but if nothing else, it teaches healthy eating habits, even if you don’t explain why vegetables and fruit are healthier than cupcakes and soda. Proper nutrition contributes not only to a healthier body, but mind as well.

A healthy emotional diet is important, too. Lots of hugs, positive reinforcement and appropriate discipline are essential. If a child feels loved, overcoming other parenting mistakes is much easier.

learntothinkBut what about his or her intellectual diet? What’s feeding their little minds? Are you putting some thought behind it when they’re bored or just reaching for the easiest distraction? Here are a few tips for encouraging your child to love learning.

1. Answer their questions! In the past, unless you were a physicist, it was more difficult when a child asked “Why is the sky blue” or “What causes a rainbow” or “Why can airplanes fly?” In the past it required a huge dictionary and a bookcase of heavy and expensive encyclopedias. Now all it takes is a quick query on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Don’t dismiss any question as stupid! Face it, you probably think it’s stupid because you can’t answer it. That attitude will rub off, too! If your child sees you looking up answers, it won’t be long before they do, too.

2. Make learning fun! There are just as many educational games out there as mindless ones, most of which teach battle strategies and violence. Shop carefully, paying attention to what the story line comprises. If your child gets addicted to video games, wouldn’t you rather they be learning something?

3. Failure is not an option! Part of making learning fun is creating a love for challenges, which is what games do. Make learning something new exciting, not something to be feared. Encourage your child to confront challenges, head-on, by setting goals, then celebrate even small successes. Teach the concept that failure isn’t permanent, but only a learning experience that serves as a stepping stone along the road of life.

4. Identify his or her learning style! It’s great that there’s so much visual learning these days, which I wish had been the case when I was a youngster. There are numerous learning styles with the most basic audio, visual and kinesthetic (hands-on). Do you know which one your child favors? It’s best to introduce all three and see which one your child’s naturally drawn to.

As a visual and kinesthetic learner, I did poorly with teachers who did nothing but talk, which went in one ear and out the other. Visuals helped, but hands-on resonated. While it’s a good idea to introduce the other styles to build skills in those areas, be sure to use your child’s favored media for the most important areas. Once you know what it is, find out which method(s) your child encounters in school. If it’s not the favored style, then you’ll want to supplement learning at home in the style s/he’ll not only absorb but enjoy.

5. Music appreciation! Learning a musical instrument not only teaches discipline, it actually improves a child’s brain and concentration. If this isn’t possible, you can still control what they’re exposed to. What becomes familiar is what they’ll prefer. If a child never hears classical music, it’s unlikely to be embraced later.

If music programs the brain in some way, then what do you want your child to listen to? Pay attention to lyrics, too, which are absorbed at the subconscious level. Music is a powerful tool. Make sure it’s having the desired effect. Going on vacation? While you have a captive audience in the car is a great time to introduce classical music. Turn off the DVD player occasionally and have them watch the countryside, which can be used as an impromptu geography lesson. Visiting a National Park? What an excellent time to introduce the compositions of Bach, Beethoven or Brahms.

None of these take a lot of time, certainly a lot less than most sports programs, which have their place in a child’s upbringing. But if most of your child’s leisure time is occupied with sports, what priorities are you teaching? Think about it.

Once you make up your mind to focus on these simple tricks, they’ll become second nature, not only for you but your child as well. Children truly do learn what they live. The intellectual quality depends on you.