He fills the longing soul with good things. Ps. 107:9


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Music, Mozart, Moshing & Mommies

Tonight I drug my tired self and my poor blistered foot back into the van to go take down the yard sale signs and buy some powerade for my part-camel husband.

I was cruising around in my super-cool grocery-getter, enjoying a tune by a popular CCM artist. But then typical Saturday evening Christian radio led me to endure what some would describe as music and others as Christian (both debatable).

Apologies to the toes of any of you moshing, head-banging moms out there….

And I was thinking about my philosophy of music-listening, and what I’m going to tell my kids when they’re teens when they want to crank it up in about 9 years. (Isn’t God good to give us a decade or so to prepare – or at least brace ourselves and stock up on cotton?)

Then I remembered that I’m totally programming them right now. I am developing their musical tastes by my own. Filling their fresh, young minds with the vibrations that their brains will literally grow around. (Maybe I’ll blog about the scientific truth of this another day….it’s powerful stuff!)

I do have some clarity on what I want to teach them. But sometimes I’m nervous because my musical tastes are bafflingly diverse. As I mentioned before, head-banging music makes me want to….well…bang my head! But other than that, it is difficult to find a style of music that I cannot enjoy or at least appreciate for a few moments or longer. But I am aware of the dangerous paths down which an ipod-mesmerized youth can be led. Vigilance is not optional. Right now – even when they’re 0, 2 and 4!

At this point in my meager parenting development, I am of the tendency to not forbid entire genres of music, but rather to teach and model the principles that will guide the practice. That idea basically summarizes the philosophy of my husband and I in all lifestyle issues. (Not that there aren’t absolutes….I won’t digress).

I am also of the opinion (ducking from possible rotten vegetation) that God did not design our bodies so powerfully to respond to music in every way if He had already sanctioned THE music that is “okay.” Translation: Dancing is good! Please don’t freak. I’m being funny. Sort of.

Many of you have heard my Dad’s sarcastically famous reference to “The Seven Songs that God Likes.” So much he taught me makes more and more sense as life goes along. I am so convinced that God does not fit into a neat and tidy musical box. So many parents push their children away from being spiritually and intellectually thorough in their music choices by FORBIDDING instead of TRAINING.

Today I was also reminded of the “do what I say, not what I do” phenomenon. My children are not allowed to make negative comments or noises about food they are given. But I tasted something today and said, “Blech!” I think it was Kayla who caught me. I am trusting in the fact that kids also learn powerful lessons from hearing their parents back up and apologize when needed.

You’ve all heard about the "Mozart Effect." I, of course, have opinions about all that, but I’ll spare you. But I do know about “The Mommy Effect.” I’m not saying my kids will grow up to love the same music I love. But it is possible. And those 6 little beady eyes are watching….6 six crusty ears listening (uh....ear infections).

It makes me at once want to crank up the music with joy and throw out the speakers in fear. What an opportunity to introduce their ears and minds to the handprint of God. But mercy – I’d better have my musical ducks in a row.
Angie Davis said...

We've already started discussions about music around here, since a certain little boy is enamored by all things containing drums. I like lively music and I like it loud, but I'm paying more attention now that I know someone else is too. Sometimes we just have to turn the local Christian radio station off!

Sankey Family said...

Wonderful post...we are now IN the middle of this - my oldest son, Jordan, LOVES music. Lord, help us do this right.

Sarah, Thanks for your ditto to Tamra's comments about me on a friend's blog. I am honored to be your friend and truly cherish the connection we share. I believe "soul mate" would describe it well. Truly I am inspired and challenged by your example...you're an incredible mom and wife and totally committed to God. Keep leading the way, friend.
Love ya,

Kelly S said...

Hi Sarah. Thanks for the comment on my blog. I too think it is fun to get new ideas from other Mommys. That's the fun of blogging!

Regarding your question about our prayer time, I usually try to make the prayers that we pray in family devotions real to the kids and try not to bog them down with things that don't make sense or that they don't know about. I encourage them to listen to prayer requests in church and then at family devotions they each have to remember one of the requests and pray for that person. It makes them feel a part and if God chooses to answer the prayer - wow...what a boost of confidence it gives them! We always remember the missionaries. They each have several that they enjoy praying for. I show them pictures/blogs whenever I can to make those people more interesting to pray for. I had a chance to introduce them to a few at IHC and that was special to them.

Regarding my early morning blogging that you asked about...I work a full time job doing medical transcription for The Health Alliance (an alliance of about 6 hospitals in Cinci and Northern Kentucky) and I do it from home. I start at 3:30-4:00 a.m. so that I'm off soon after my kids get up. I blog during my little breaks. So yes, sometimes very very early!

Juwah said...


As usual I enjoyed your post. I listened recently to a speech(via CD recording)given by Andrew Pudewa entitled The Effects of Music on Education. Very fascinating stuff.

I too, want to experience different styles of music with my children, but have noticed that some styles they don't seem ready for yet. ie. some music that gives me the energy to get the house cleaned in record time, also makes the boys run around like mad men. I have assumed up to this point, that perhaps some kinds of music are better experienced with maturity and self-control. I'd love your opinion on this. I also understand that this topic is rather flammable, so if you are not comfortable to take this one on via the WWW, perhaps someday we can discuss it live and in person. :)

~Heather~ said...

Oh you are sooo right about music. I have heard a lot of your Dad's comments on music too, and we agree with him. I once heard about a Mother that LOVED rockier music than her husband agreed with, and today, her son is NOT A CHRISTIAN...and his hang up is his rocky music. SCARY! My Phillip was born sanctified...and I was born without a concience =)...but I'm getting more of a concience the older I get...for I realize that I have 3 PRECIOUS CHILDREN (SOULS) WATCHING MY EVERY MOVE...and walking in the very footsteps that I leave. GOD HELP ME!! AND HE WANTS TO HELP WE PARENTS...He wants us and our children to get to Heaven more than we want to get there ourselves!! Isn't that encouraging?

Have a great day in Jesus.
Love, Heather =)

Toots said...

I like to see thinking Christians. It certainly seems to me that as we seek His wisdom and use the brain He gave us, we can come to some answers that are appropriate and wise in the area of music.

I, like others, found that when my children were little, music affected them greatly. I altered my listening habits for their sakes. Not to mention, when you have fussy, cholicky, sleepless babies(like I did), Mozart and quiet hymns are extremely soothing!

During school hours (most of the time) we play classical these days; it helps us focus. But, now that my girls are older, I've introduced them to a variety of Christian music. If the lyrics are painted by the music, and the lyrics speak truth (as best we know it) it can be so powerfully motivating, inspiring, etc.

I do agree that the key is where our children's hearts are. If they have a whole heart for God, they will not want anything that does not push them toward Him.

We don't have to legalize anything.

skier1998 said...

Hey Sarah,
I really enjoyed reading your music post. Preach it sister!!! I don't have children. But, it's definitely about teaching people/children principles to live by that can guide them to God's will for their lives not a "good/bad" philosophy. Great post. Keep 'em coming.


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