By Bev and Phil Haas
What can we do to help our kids embrace Christian music while shielding them from secular music?
Music plays an important role in our daily lives. We hear music in most every environment, including home, school, work, shopping malls, and the church and we listen to music in between locations. A while back, Phil was with our grandson Caden and wasn’t paying attention to the music streaming out of his car radio—until he heard Caden singing along from the back seat: “I belong to the drinking class!” Those are the words from country music artist Lee Brice in his hit song, “Drinking Class.” Phil talked with then 5-year-old Caden about the meaning of the words and quickly changed the station. Phil has since decided to pay more attention to what’s playing when he has the grandkids with him!
There are many musical options competing for our young people’s attention, and not all of those choices point them in the direction we want them to go (Proverbs 22:6). Kids hear everything, and they are soaking it in (and later spitting it out). You are wise to pay attention to the music your children are listening to.
But we want to recognize that although some secular music has an immoral message, not all secular music is corrupt. For example, songs we learned as children helped us to memorize critical information yet didn’t have a Christian message at all. So please don’t try to protect your kids from all secular music.
The Power of Music
Music has the power to ignite all areas of development: intellectual, physical, social, and spiritual. Introducing children to music during early development helps them learn sounds and meanings of words. Dancing to music helps build motor skills. For all ages music helps connect us to one another and reinforces our beliefs and values.
Music is a powerful gift from God. The extensive collection of songs in the Old Testament indicates the importance God places on creative musical expression. An ancient theory called the ethos of music describes the power of music to affect mood and emotions. You experienced this the last time you sat in a movie theatre and were moved to feel compassion, fear, romance, or suspense. Whether you realized it or not, music played a primary role in moving you to those emotions.
The power of music can be a tremendous force in spiritual growth and development. When children learn songs where music is combined with God’s Word, music makes truth memorable, applicable, and expressible.
Research shows that kids who play music or sing regularly do better in reading, learning goal-setting, concentration, and cooperation; they also get along better with their peers and have higher self-esteem. So press play every chance you get.
Recently, we found out what music our grandkids were learning at church and bought them a CD so they could play the same songs at home. Keep a collection of songs in your child’s room. Play music while doing chores. If your child uses an alarm clock radio, tune in to a station so they wake up to inspirational music. As Phil learned in the story we shared earlier, when traveling pick Christian stations or play wholesome CDs. In general, surround your kids with uplifting and faith-building music.
We love that many Christian songs have snatches of Bible verses woven through them. We believe the Word of God is powerful and often even just hearing some familiar phrases is an excellent way to memorize Scripture and let God interject positive thoughts into your children’s day.
There are thousands of songs that go along with the Bible lessons we teach. If you don’t know any off the top of your head, do an online search for songs relating to the Bible lesson you want to teach.
As for secular music that you want to steer your children away from, first set some boundaries. Our grandson cannot download a song (or anything else) without first getting his parents’ permission. Then keep an ear out for what they are listing to. Help them decode what they are hearing by asking your child what he or she thinks about the music that is playing. This will get your child thinking critically about music and teach them to examine the words (Acts 17:11). As in all things, be an example by listening to music that builds up faith rather than tearing it down.
Bev and Phil Haas are involved in education and family ministry in Cincinnati, Ohio. They have two children and four grandkids. Send your questions about family life to Bev and Phil Haas in care of The Lookout (firstname.lastname@example.org). We regret that personal replies are not always possible.