There are certain types of music that I’m just not that interested in. I don’t care much for anything that could be labeled “modern country” or “metal.” And when an indie band gains notoriety and makes the jump into popular music, I have to ﬁght back the urge to curse the heavens. I value singer-songwriters. This isn’t because I’m a hipster (I’m nowhere near cool enough for that) but because I value words.
Meaning in Music
That’s why the songs that have most moved and inﬂuenced me over my lifetime are the ones that express profound truths in simple ways or simple truths in profound ways. It’s also the exact reason why I think children’s music is so incredibly important.
The words of a song can inﬂuence you. Lyrics can shape you and mold the way you look at the world. They can also teach. The message gets buried deep down inside of us, and I think God purposefully designed music to be that way. And like everything in this word that teaches, music will either teach something that brings glory to God or it will teach something that doesn’t.
Car Rides with Kids
Having two small kids in the car can be an exhausting thing. The longer the drive, the more you must provide to entertain them. (Or, at least that’s how I think it works.) So, despite my ever present desire to listen to “good” music, the reality is that it’s rarely under my control. Translation: We play a lot of children’s music in the car.
In life, we sometimes must make pragmatic choices rather than ideal ones. So, on our way home from the store one day, the decision was made to turn on an old VBS album. Epitome of song-writing, right? Right up there with the best of them.
But all that attitude came crashing down for me when my 6-year-old started singing at the top of her lungs: “I know who I am because of Who You are!”
Internalizing a Message
My daughter has absolutely no idea what the theological implications of that line are. But make no mistake, I desperately want her to know. In fact, I want her to know it as soon as possible. I want so deeply for her to understand that her value comes from being an image-bearer of her Creator and not from any created thing. I want her to understand that God is the One that declares her to be lovely and that no one else’s opinion will ever compare to His.
I beg God for my little girl to understand this massive truth. I want her to understand it in her elementary school years, in her middle school years, in her high school years and in her college years. I want her to understand it as she navigates the world and ﬁgures out boys and begins to seek out God’s will for her life.
The reality that her place in this world is deﬁned by a God who loves her more deeply than anyone ever could, including her daddy, is one of the great truths that I want to teach her in the time that God entrusts her to my care. And it just so happens that she loves singing that truth as loud as she can while strapped into her car seat.
There’s no chance that I’m listening to children’s music the next time I’m in the car by myself, but the next family trip? Well, I think we’ve found a good song.
Stephen Woodard is the senior pastor at Nashua Baptist Church in Nashua, NH.