I consider myself a pretty hip forty-something mother of five, but I came to a realization a few years ago that changing the music I was listening to was important to my children’s overall well-being, and in the process of doing something for them, it allowed me to benefit as well.
You see I used to listen to the top hit music stations in Dallas. I switched to KLTY (94.9 FM) after having an epiphany one day when I heard my then 4-year-old daughter Mia belting out the lyrics to Rihanna’s “S&M” as she rode in the backseat of our minivan. The reality of the words I was hearing and the fact that my children liked to sing along made me realize something had to change. Do elementary school aged children have any idea what Lady Gaga is referring to when she sings about “riding on your disco stick” or when Pitbull sings “Let me see where the Lord split chya Lollie”….God I hope not. But, I believe kids internalize a lot of messages and pick things up even when we think they aren’t paying attention. So, I became a fan of the “Family Friendly Morning Show”.
After a week or so, what I heard from the backseat caused me to pause, and hold back tears…my kids were singing along with Israel Houghton’s “I Am A Friend of God”! Hearing them sing along to tunes such as Sanctus Real’s “Forgiven” or Amy Grant’s “Better Than A Hallelujah” warms my heart. As an added benefit, several of the songs on KLTY cross over into the music that is played at mass so they now participate more in the service. Do I think just changing the music we listen to in the car when we tool around town will significantly change the course of their lives…maybe not, but it can’t hurt either.
When you stop to actually listen to popular music it is no surprise the way many teens and young adults behave. There is an amazing amount of pressure today, much of which is promoted by music, television and movies. It is clear the entertainment industry has a great deal of influence over our youth.
As a parent I believe it is my responsiblity to promote media of all forms that build self esteem, confidence and values. I hardly think this can be accomplished by the likes of Dev’s hit tune “Dancing In The Dark” where she says (among other things…) “I’m only talking to you if you want to surf my seas…” Seriously?!