Lately we have been playing these lullabies for our kids at night that are Scripture set to music. I am completely in love with them and the peaceful atmosphere that permeates the bedtime scene when I hit play on that iPod. They’re certainly no magic cure for the trials of that hour but combined with all the other routines and continuing to tweak what works best for our kids, they are blessing us with a more serene nightly ritual.
This reminded me of all the ways that the music in our home sets the stage for attitudes, choices, words, and the atmosphere of our days. I think we often underestimate the impact of music choices on our children’s minds and hearts and on our own. If I am struggling through my day and remember to turn on praise music, it is amazing the change in my spirit that I instantly feel as my focus goes from the magnitude of my problems to the greatness of my God. It is much harder to yell at my kids over a song talking about the power of the cross and God’s mercy toward me.
Over the last few years we have been in the process of introducing the kids to some of our old favorites in the children’s music department as well as discovering some new loves like those Scripture lullabies. I’ll post some of the ones we love the most in case any of you are interested in trying them out for your families. I see more and more of a trend toward skipping children’s music altogether and training children to like “our music” as soon as possible so that we don’t have to be annoyed by “theirs.” This makes me a little sad because children’s music and the things about God that I learned from those kids’ tapes like Psalty, Patch the Pirate, or Agapeland are a beloved part of my spiritual makeup. We have years and years to just be adults and “be cool” or not listen to anyone with a funny voice, but we have this precious, innocent, short time of laughing and singing and learning from those often silly characters or childish musicals. Plus, it’s amazing how quickly that inner child can return and enjoy those moments right along with our kids.
It’s interesting to me that as much as I love the newer songs being written today, at the times of deepest joy or hurt it is a childhood song that will always pour forth from my heart. Sometimes one of those “kid” ones and sometimes one of the many, many praise songs that filled our home and car for years. When I am hurting it will often be the Psalty, “I cast all my cares upon You. I lay all of my burdens down at Your feet.” When I am in my most precious moments of speaking with the Lord it is almost always “Lord, You are more precious than silver…” Some of the ones we listened to the most were from the Psalms and whenever I am reading those chapters the songs begin playing and keep that Scripture in my head throughout the rest of that day.
Lately the kids have been listening to some of my childhood songs and stories where many of the songs have to do with situations they are facing throughout their little days. I love it when one of them is doing something questionable and the other will begin singing a little song “reminder” about the right decision. Maybe a, “Do it now. Don’t delay. Don’t put it off ’til another day.” Or a, “Be kind and compassionate to one another.” But my absolute favorite is when I will walk in the room to hear one of them softly singing, “Here am I Lord, send me.” It really drives home how much those songs are sinking in and becoming a part of how they think. And it isn’t simple memorization because they know the appropriate situation to which they should apply a certain song. Which by necessity means that has to be flipped around so we understand that the opposite would be true. Songs with negative messages or even hours of music with empty messages would lead to hearts focused on negative or empty thoughts.
Music quickly becomes a life soundtrack. Not just because we are listening to it and hearing it, but because it is affecting our minds, spirits, and emotions. It is driving some of what we are doing because anything we repeatedly pour into our hearts will begin to pour out again. And it somehow carries a special power in its ability to permeate our day, circling over and over through whatever else we are doing. We will listen to a song thousands of times throughout our lives where we might read a book or a watch a movie only a few dozen times. I pray for wisdom to know how to make the best possible choices as I create this “playlist” that may very well become the deepest cries of my children’s hearts when they are adults and facing difficult trials or abundant joy. I know for sure that my time with them is limited and there is much of what is out there that will simply not make the cut.