He that is of God heareth God’s words: John 8:47a
A recent trip to Faith Music Missions in Evansville, Indiana during a time when my beloved country is under violent siege caused me to think about negative and positive influences of music. In my last post, I mentioned that good music in our home reinforced the Biblical values we taught Lois and India.
I have good memories of hearing hymn and quartet music playing in my home as a child. I will never forget hearing my mother playing hymns while she sang. Beyond the Sunset, O blissful morn. I loved hearing her sing in church, the same way I like listening to my daughters sing in church, in a pew near me. Do beautiful voices skip a generation? Not always; right?
These beautiful hymns became mingled and eventually overshadowed by the music of the world. Most of the music was sensual and took my mind to places that a young single woman need not go. Those songs were not primarily love songs, with the understanding that the passions sung about were within marriage. They promoted immorality.
The lyrics became more and more blatant, even vulgar. My interest was not strictly limited to pop music. I never lost affection for hymns and I developed a taste for the classics. My brain was not totally immersed in the spiraling music of the day. In those days, what I listened to was not entirely private. Cassette players of various types were not as portable or private as today’s devices. My parents heard what I listened to.
Sin, unchecked, always escalates. The music of my era promoted acceptance of immoral lifestyles and sadly, abortion was one of the results. Music cannot entirely be blamed for this intense loss of life that continues today, but it was a factor. Pause and consider that.
Let us fast forward a few years. Content in music was not limited to love and feelings, feelings without commitment, but tended toward increased aggression. Ten years ago there was much discussion about shocking violence in music, violence of every imagination. By this time, what was playing in our children’s ears was pretty much their business. It was rarely challenged by parents. The quiet was so nice; they did not want to rock the proverbial boat. After all, how bad could the music be? In some homes, parents embraced the latest music too. The music had a beat that drew you in the more you listened. It was addictive.
You cannot look at the streets today and deny the influence of neglectful parenting with violent music. (Is violent music an oxymoron?) And for the families that have resisted violence, stronger and stronger sexual themes are promoted in music today. I try to stay relevant, but hiding one’s head in the sand is not how to stay relevant.
Music that mocks Biblical standards is not going to add anything to your life. Mark it down; it will tear you down.
As parents and women that love children, it is vital to pull help from every source available. Obviously, a place to begin is on our knees, but when we get up, we much act. The first place is to consider the music you enjoy. Lois and India have asked me when they were young how I knew the words to a particular and perky song in a store. It was a popular song from my youth. It might have been a fun, almost innocent song, but not always. I did not bring that music into my home though.
If we, as women, can develop our own music standards, we will be better equipped to expose our younger ones to music that will reinforce contentedness and godliness. Music has the power to enhance calm feelings or to embolden rebellion. I know which I want in my home.
If you don’t play music of any kind in your home, you are missing a treat. My preferences change from time to time. Right now, I have a piano playlist that I blast through the house when I am working. I have a friend that shares an interest in French-Bistro style music. Think accordion, but not square-dance style. It is cheerful and makes a perfect background for our coffee and croissant visits. For an hour, we are transported.
I have a few children’s CDs. I made a playlist, but I removed some of the songs from them that I felt had a displeasing beat. Many of the remaining ones are “peppy” in a fun sort of way but do not encourage frenzied carrying-on. Mostly; children are children. A little frenzy can be good for grandmothers too, just a little.
Do not underestimate the power of music in your homes. It is without pride, I tell you that the greatest compliment I have received about my home is that it is peaceful. Our guests have frequently said they want to move in with us. I am touched and humbled, but also encouraged. Creating a lovely home, pleasing to the senses and sensibilities has been a pleasure of mine. Homemaking is a thing I may enjoy instead of other pastimes, but it is something that is not difficult if it is important to you. Why have a house, if it never becomes a home, a refuge?
We are to teach the young ones, but let us be careful ourselves. They are watching us; they are listening. What conviction; what opportunity.
Be careful little ears what you hear.