You sing a song

So last night I was playing with Beauty and I started singing to her.  As it happened, the song that came to mind was “Looking for a Good Time” by Lady Antebellum:

How ’bout baby we make a promise
Not promise anything more than one night
Complicated situations
Only get worse in the morning light
I’m just looking for a good time

It’s actually a great song, musically speaking, and a lot of fun to sing.  But it’s not exactly the best message to be teaching our little girl.

It’s being kinda tricky for me.  Which songs are okay, and which ones are not?  When does musical artistry outweigh an unsavory message?  Should we let her hear songs that glorify rebellion? sex? dangerous behavior? dating?  And should I really be worrying about this when she’s only six months old?

One option is to stick to Christian songs entirely, of course, but that seems closed-minded and unnecessary.  That rules out the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, U2, etc etc etc.  Not to mention all my Broadway soundtracks.  I probably do need to invest in some good new believing music, though.

I grew up on various Christian sing-along tapes for kids.  Mostly groups of children singing Bible verses set to little tunes.  Over and over and over.  I have a love-hate relationship with those: the thought of actually listening to them now makes me cringe, but I can’t deny that 90% of the verses I have memorized now are from those songs.  Well, maybe not 90%, but quite a few of them.  So maybe I’ll play them for her and get earphones for myself.

What do you think?  What music would you play for your children?

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3 Responses to You sing a song

  1. Beth S. says:

    With the exception of profanity, which will rub off, I don’t think the lyrical content of the music really affects the listener that much. I would argue that people who seem over-identified with certain artists are that way because they tend to seek out music that speaks to how they are already feeling rather than the other way around.

    I listened to a whole lot of Green Day as a child, and I’m fairly sure the questionable lyrics didn’t outweigh the combined force of parental, school and youth group behavioral indoctrination. The only thing that can overcome the influence of actual people in a kid’s life are other actual people.

  2. There’s also the point that kids generally don’t have ANY idea what songs actually mean for a very long time. While I kind of got the idea that Dave Matthew’s “splish spash, you and me taking a bath” wasn’t something most friends did together, it’s also a pretty nice view of what two people in love might do with each other. That… was about it. I was able to memorize most of Rent without understanding it when slightly older. Even Simon & Garfunkel’s Cecelia is incredibly sexual, but not in a way that many children would notice even if they’re looking for it.

    I’d encourage you to look at what public libraries have in their kids CD sections. There is kids music that’s not Christian specific, but is still kid appropriate, and some of it is even fun for adults. There’s some great world music compilations created for kids- I like “Sing Along with Putumayo” (http://www.putumayo.com/en/putumayo_kids.php). And some Broadway compilations that are more kid friendly (You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Really Rosie, The Lion King, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are also more kid friendly than, say, Rent, Les Mis, and Miss Saigon….)

    And then there’s the educational tapes!! My life would have been far less rich if I had missed out on Beethoven Lives Upstairs and Mr. Bach Comes to Call. I… still listen to them sometimes.

  3. How could I forget Mr Bach comes to call? We had a couple of the others as well – one about Vivaldi and one about Mozart I think.

    Thanks for the other suggestions. I wasn’t seriously thinking of banning all secular music, though I know families who have. It’s just pesty finding good music that all three of us like. And Hero’s more cautious than I am.

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