There are certain types of music that I’m just not that interested in.
I don’t care 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. It’s not because I’m a hipster— I’m not cool enough for that. It’s because I value words. I’m more interested in what the songwriter is trying to express through their music than any other element of the song. This is 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.
And this is precisely why children’s music is so important.
It’s because the words of a song can actually influence you. They can shape you and mold the way you look at the world. Music teaches. Everybody knows this. And it does so in a way that goes far deeper than what mere words ever could. This is why you can’t help humming the ABC song when you’re trying to alphabetize something. Music teaches. And anything in this world that teaches will either teach something that brings glory to God or it will teach something that doesn’t.
Having two small kids in the car can be an exhausting thing. The longer the drive, the more you must provide to entertain them. So, despite my desire to listen to “good” music— the reality is that it’s rarely under my control. We play a lot of children’s music in car. It’s usually a pragmatic experience more than a celebrated one.
On our way home from the store this week, Katy resorted to turning on this year’s VBS album. VBS music isn’t typically on the top of the selection pile for us, but our kids adore it so….. well, you know.
And then my 4 year old started singing at the top of her lungs “I know who I am because of Who You are!”
My 4 year old has no idea what the theological implications of that line are…. But one day, I desperately want her to. I want that “one day” to be here as soon as possible. I want, so deeply, for her to understand that her value comes as being an image bearer of God. I want, so deeply, for her to understand that God is the one that declares her lovely and that no one else’s opinion compares to His. I want my daughter to understand that massive truth right now.
I want her to understand that massive truth in her elementary school years and her middle school years and her high school years and her college years. I want her to understand that massive truth 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 she or her daddy ever could is one of the great truths that I want to teach her in the time that God entrusts her to my care.
And she’s singing it at the top of her lungs on a Friday evening buckled into her car seat. Children’s music matters…
There are other songs on that album we don’t play in the Woodard car. They fall short on some theological issues. But tonight? Tonight we found a good song.