Ten years ago I didn’t even have a boyfriend. What I had were master plans, mysterious plans to be precise, about how my future family would be run with a heavy hand. I wrote those plans. Made them public even. On Facebook Notes. Very extreme and opinionated ideas, you can actually see me clenching my teeth and fists if you read them. Do not. I was someone at war but without any military training.
Some of those plans concerned what I would do about their choice of music and recently I have had to refer to my former mind, wondering what gave me such audacity as to think I had it all figured out. Two children later, I am battling the demons that ten years ago I was so sure I could squish between my thumb and my middle finger then whiff them away as I strut off to build the nation.
I still agree with my former self that the vulgar sensual music that is paraded wherever we turn is distasteful and displeasing to God. The immorality, the offensive words and the impure thoughts that are the basis for the writing and the enjoyment of such lyrics is everything against the knowledge and the worship of our holy God. And we want to please God, as for me and my family.
Even if you do not care for pleasing God, what good could possibly come out of your child talking dirty, obsessing about being sexy, promoting a drug-and-thug culture, or just having their mind filled with all the obscene thoughts that a lost adult somewhere thought to put down?
My younger self thought if my TV had a password that ensured it could only be tuned into Christian channels, we would be okay. I was surprised to read from myself that I even had thoughts of home-schooling the children whose father had not even been identified! But that idea was warped, I wanted to employ a teacher (with a degree in Education, perhaps even a master’s) to teach them at home so I could shield the children from the world’s perversion until they were in late teenage then release them out with a soldier-prep-talk on how to conquer the world. I was so strange.
My current self: I have two children, age seven and four. T.V. is off till weekend and even then, monitored. They go to school. Both have some degree of exposure to the secular lyrics. One of them knows what ticks me off and knows how to steer away from a discussion on behaviour change and any consequences that appertain. So, she will sing a tempting line when I can’t hear. Still I hear, because I am her mum and I know her. The other is an open book, will tell me which song played when she was at the pool, which one was sung by someone at school, and which is playing in the supermarket, or salon. Or just at the hotel especially during 4:00pm teas.
See, the opportunities for your child to be exposed to the senselessness in worldly music are more than I can list down here. The best thing you can do is have a workable plan on how to parent in this generation.
Don’t bury your head in the sand: If you think that your child has no idea of anything besides their Sunday school lessons and regular school nursery rhymes, you need to rethink that thought.
Don’t get shocked, get interested: This goes beyond music, even when your child says something you did not expect from them, control the facial expression from that of shock to the one of the desire to know more. If your natural impulse is to give stern warning and end that moment as quickly as possible, you have blocked yourself from future opportunities of impactful parenting.
Don’t say no for no reason: While its true that your word is king, it is more effective if you give a reason for or against what you say. Say for instance you hear you child sing “Kiki, do you love me…dadadadadadadada” , instead of only saying that’s not a good song for them, tell your child the tune sounds captivating but the song in its entirety speaks for bad values like materialism, has bad language in other parts of the song, does not reflect girls who treat their bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit (just say ‘with respect’ if you do not subscribe to the Bible) ,etc.
Don’t make the assumption that it is harmless: it may sound like an innocent line from the chorus now, but as you and your family continue being comfortable around it, your child gets more prompting to go ahead and check it out on the net and a can of worms will be opened because you kept quiet.
Be the good example yourself: You spend more time with your child than the world does. Even if not, you have the upper hand compared to the world so in little time you can undo what the world did when you were away.
Provide alternatives: Do your children know any other good quality music that they can dance to or sing along?
Influence the village: Who are your children’s friends? It helps if you care about them too, enough to give them the values that you are giving your own child. This works better than forbidding your child to be friends with XYZ. Appreciate that you will not always be present to choose friends for your child, let them know how to have meaningful friendships.
Stop imagining that we listened to all those songs and we turned out alright anyway. It is a fallacy, we could have done much better as adults if some of our ideologies were not shaped by wrong things we heard when growing up. We would have made better decisions about love, drugs and sex if we had better influence. Music is a powerful source of influence, among others. We would have been more realistic in our ideals on marriage if we only had the right info about love. We would be fighting less to keep curse-words under the breath. Or maybe we don’t even care not to be offensive, sadly. All the secular music we got exposed to has not made us any better people than we would have been if we chose our music right. And don’t be cheated, it is not even the same music, now it is way more offensive and way more graphic than it used to be. Also now, our children are exposed to it at a much earlier age than we were.