29 August 2012

{Super Mom} Jeannie Castillo of Kindermusik with Teacher Jeannie and Company

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13
Being a mom, wife, daughter, and being able to work eight hours (or more!) a day, maintain a household and still find time to do something you are passionate about is not easy.  As a first time mom, I am still adjusting to my new role.  Juggling it with all my other roles require discipline, commitment and A LOT of love!  The key, according to Stephen Covey, is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.  Super Mom is a Cruisin' Mommyhood's blog feature where I interview moms who can give inspiration and empowerment to working moms like me.

I met Jeannie Castillo, or Teacher Jeannie, for the first time last May when we attended a trial class at Kindermusik with Teacher Jeannie and Company.  Though Don and I are impressed with the information we gathered online about Kindermusik's well-researched programs, we want to be certain that the location, class environment and educator are the "right fit" for Julia and our family.

Don and I feel so blessed that we found a learning environment that is perfect for our family.  Teacher Jeannie has been a part of our Sunday morning family bonding ever since that trial class.  It's not really just because of her credentials, it's that genuine happiness that we see in her when she is around children... we feel her passion for music and learning while she teaches in class... the sincere concern she shows us when we talk about Julia's progress and development.

I am right, Teacher Jeannie's super powers are: unlimited supply of patience, a truckload of energy, and an impressive talent in singing and skills in teaching.  But it's heartwarming to know that what fuels her super powers are her passion for music and learning, her love for her family and above all, her trust in God.

Describe your typical day.

Teacher Jeannie
I'm very blessed to have my days filled with singing, dancing, and plenty of love, laughter and hugs -- whether at home or at work.  A typical day for me normally begins with morning quiet time (for prayer, meditation and office work), followed by a busy work day of classes, trainings, and/or business meetings, bringing my kids to classes and enjoying family time in between (I'm very blessed that I live very near work, and my kids' activities are near work too, so I get to be with them often during the day).  Evenings are for dinner and more time with the family, working at my computer, tucking the kids into bed, and ending the day with a prayer, thanking God for all our blessings.

How did your passion in teaching start?  What made you decide to leave your successful career in the corporate world and start Kindermusik in the Philippines?

Teacher Jeannie
My passion for teaching started with my eldest son, Jamie.  He was born with Down Syndrome, and when my husband and I learned about his needs, I knew I needed to immerse myself in learning how to help him learn, surrounding him with as much love, support, and positivity as possible.  I discovered Kindermusik in my research and travels, seeking out programs for Jamie.

At that time, there were no well-known music and movement programs offering classes in the Philippines, so when I stumbled upon Kindermusik abroad, it seemed that it was the perfect fit for me and Jamie.  I had always been musical, and Jamie and I had already been enjoying music together at home as I could see it was such a great motivator for his learning.  Teaching Kindermusik seemed to be the perfect balance for me -- it combined my love for music, children and parenting -- while offering me the opportunity to build a family business that supported my role as a teaching mom as well. :-)

The more I continued teaching, the more I discovered how much I loved it -- being with children, singing, dancing, and getting hugs every day has got to be the best existence in the world!  Before I knew it, our enrolled parents were referring their friends to classes, and our program began to grow... and grow... and grow. :-) Our Kindermusik headquarters in the U.S. noticed our growth, and asked me to head up the Kindermusik Philippines office and operations for our country.

Now 10 years into my Kindermusik career, I'm forever blessed and grateful to have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of all the children and families who have been touched by Kindermusik, and to have developed great friendships with students, parents, and educators along the way.  It's an amazing blessing... that all began with the blessing of Jamie in our lives. :-)

What do you love most about being a mom?

Teacher Jeannie
Oh wow, where do I begin?  It's hard to pick out just one thing... but if I had to describe just one, I think it would be the simple joy of hearing my boys, Jamie and Jack, call me "Mom" :-).  Just those three little letters bring so much meaning and fulfillment to my life -- knowing that my boys belong to me, and I belong to them.  Having the honor of being their mom is so humbling to me... to know that we hold each other in our hearts the closest, and that together with my husband, our lives are completely tied together as a loving family.

I'm very fortunate to have the opportunity to have many children in my life... over the course of my Kindermusik career, I've been grateful to be "Teacher" to now thousands of children and to see them grow beautifully -- with each one of my students being an incredible blessing to me, bringing love, fulfillment, and true joy to my heart.

At the end of a long day though, I am completely blessed and grateful to have the joy of going home to my own children, to see them run to greet me, to wrap their arms around me, and to say "Hi Mom!" with a hug and a kiss.  It's that word that I will only ever hear from my own two boys... and one that reminds me of the special honor I have, to be raising these two very special beings in my life. :-)

Who is your role model?  What is the best thing that your role model has taught you?

Teacher Jeannie
Oh wow again :-), I've had many inspiring people come into my life -- each touching a part of my heart, and teaching me important lessons along the way.  Of all the people who have been angels to me along my path, for sure, my husband is the biggest one.  He has been with me through every road and turn in my life, and continues to be an inspiration to me of what it means to be a true and loving individual.  I am completely and utterly blessed to have such an amazing person in my life, who continues to teach me to love unconditionally, and encourages me to continue sharing my heart and spirit with not just our children and family, but with the children and families in our classes as well.

Balancing work and family is a common dilemma for working (at home or in an office) moms.  What tips can you share to working moms on managing time and priorities and spending quality time with family.

Teacher Jeannie
In my case, I'm very grateful to be doing work that involves my children and family.  If I could offer a practical tip to working moms, it would be to -- do work that you absolutely love and that you find meaningful.  It's the only way to justify spending time away from home... doing work that will hopefully make a better world, and a better "mom" for your family. :-)

When you are free from work, carve out as much quality time as you can with your children and make it count -- as a Kindermusik educator, I can absolutely guarantee that songs, dances, stories and cuddles are a great way to share quality bonding time together.  Create family memories and rituals together through music... have a special song or a special rhyme that you and your child share, that is all your own.  Be completely present for your children when you are together, and allow yourself time to recharge and regroup after a long day.

And... at the end of a long day, say a prayer to the "greatest superpower," and ask for the strength and grace to do it all again tomorrow. :-)  May the force be with you! :-)

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