I fear that this topic may cause some…conflict. My words may reflect “preachy” when very little is further from my style of writing. I try to keep all things on a real level because we, as parents, are all just trying to do our best and survive each day, am I right? You do your parenting and I’ll do mine, and maybe we can swap war stories every now and again when we see the other dragging and falling apart at the seams.
So I want you to know, need you to know, that my heart is to share something that is so very important to me without causing anyone else to feel “less than”, judged, or ridiculed by my far-from-perfect opinions and perspectives. In my capacities as a mother, therapist, Christian, and simply as a person, I’ve had a passion to share my feelings on this topic for quite some time. Many people will not understand me, and several may tell me I’m naïve and sheltering my children too much. You may tell me exactly where I can shove this article.
And to those people, I say this: I still love you. And I love your children and my own enough to post this.
Here it goes.
I don’t let my kids listen to non-Christian radio. (I know, I can hear the groans now, but please stay with me.) I don’t let my kids listen to non-Christian radio, not because I’m against secular music. Personally, I enjoy and appreciate almost every genre of music. (Although I still think that heavy-metal is sung by people who weren’t hugged enough as children…. Just saying!) God hand-picked and delivered gifts and talents to so many people for the mere purpose of bringing pleasure to the world, meeting people where they’re at, and giving the voiceless words they can really get behind. Words they can move to as well as words that will move them. This is true whether the musicians themselves hold the same beliefs as I do or not. Music is music and I love it at its core. It makes us feel things and express things and cry and soar and yell at the tops of our lungs as we drive down the road with our windows open!
I don’t let my kids listen to non-Christian radio simply because my kids are kids. They aren’t teenagers, they aren’t young adults, they aren’t even pre-teens, for that matter. And if radio channels had ratings, Christian radio would be the only kind of station consistently rating above the PG-13 category. I am quite aware that there are occasional songs played on every station that are perfectly lovely and that my kids may either benefit from or perhaps just not “get” because they’re too young to be influenced by the words being sung. But as many of you other parents are, I am busy. I am tired. I don’t need another hat to wear, another role to play, another task to complete. Simply put, to be the radio police? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
I don’t want to see one more child bopping to Justin Beiber or hear one more child singing “Baby” anything! These are children, folks. They don’t need to be calling anyone their Baby because they are still babies themselves. In a society filled with parentified children, shows about teen moms, and those who have suffered abuses of all kinds, we need to run with abandon towards innocence and purity for our little ones. I want to stray so far from the middle line on this one because I want the small people that I protect to enjoy the few years of their lives unmoved and unshaken by all things that are “gray”.
But, even in our diligence to watch what our children are exposed to, we’ve all had those moments where our beautiful, wide-eyed, sweet little ones unsuspectingly belt out words to a song that makes our hair stand on end and our tummies roll. And honestly, nothing saddens my heart more than hearing my grade school kiddos belt out lyrics about booty-shaking or drinking a cold beer. My kids are not 21 and the only time they should be shaking anything is if they’re doing the hokey-pokey!
Even my two-year-old knows when something is inappropriate. There we were, watching the American Idol finale. On comes a song that featured a group of half-dressed female dancers. Naturally, they began to shake what the good Lord gave them. My baby looked at me and said, “Mama, they’re shaking their weenies!” And he was right. Maybe it makes me a prude, but I don’t care. I’m sticking to my guns that toddlers shouldn’t learn about pelvic thrusting, butt clapping, or twerking…. At least until they’re 6.
Something that I think we as parents can all agree on is that there are lots of inappropriate songs in the world. There is literally a song entitled, “Rape Me”….seriously. None of us are going to ever play this song for our children because of a little thing called common sense! Miley Cyrus naked on a wrecking ball? Yeah, probably not going to find that in too many 10-year-olds’ CD collections. However, there are so many gray areas with music, aren’t there?
Look at Taylor Swift. Sweet girl, beautiful voice, pleasant songs about love (or falling out of it)…. No cursing or outright references to sexual content. But I just can’t let my kids go there. Why not? Because my kids are 9, 7, 2, and 1. They are in desperate need of learning concepts of pure love, compassion, friendship, justice, generosity, sharing, truth-telling, and faith. They need to hear their role models sing songs about peace and kindness, treating others how they themselves want to be treated, humility, and giving to the poor. I want my children to learn about the kind of love that extends to all people, not the kind of love that leaves a girl’s heart-broken in two after she was cheated on by the supposed love of her life. I like Taylor Swift. But I don’t trust her with my daughter’s heart, her identify, or her little girl view of relationships. No one should be in charge of those things except her Mama, her Daddy, and her God. (When that first boy breaks her heart, then she may listen to Taylor Swift!)
And please don’t misunderstand. Many of these songs are amazing….for adults. Even some for teens. And if you find yourself reading this and wanting to scream at me because your small person knows all the words to most of these songs by heart, please know that I am not looking down a righteous nose at anyone. You’re the Mom. You’re the Queen of your house. You’re the rule-maker and the enforcer of all things in your child’s world. My only hope is that we can all be diligent together - to really pay attention. To listen to what’s blaring from the speakers. To evaluate the concepts being taught under the veil of beautiful or fun music.
Because, Mamas, it takes a village. There are days that I need you to be there for my children. And there are days that you need me to be there for yours. If we can come together and agree to uplift innocence instead of cleavage, think about how far our daughters will go in this world? And if we preach chivalry instead of booty calls to our boys, how the dating world will change for our young men (and, in turn, our young ladies)!
Therefore, I say No to lyrics about stalking the object of one’s affection (Lady Gaga). No to words about partying (Shop Boyz). No to hooking up with strangers (Carly Rae Jepsen). No to craving sex (Jennifer Lopez). No to wanting a “bad boy” (Brittany Spears). No to having swagger. No to staying out all night. No to falling apart over a break-up. NO to grinding and swearing. NO to being like the “cool kids”. NO to obsessing over one’s looks and the opposite sex. NO NO NO NO NO, A MILLION TIMES NO!!!!
Let’s keep them young. Just for a little while longer. We won’t always be able to protect their hearts, so let’s do our best while we still have the chance.