Music Your Kids will LOVE

This summer we’ve been traveling, a lot. Riding in the car, a lot. And, spending a lot of time together, a lot. We do pretty well together. So, I thought I would answer a question I get asked a lot by other parents.

I’ve been asked the question at least a hundred times: “How do you get your kids to like the same music you like?” And, “why don’t you listen to Kid’s music?”
First of all, you may need to expand what you like a little. Music that you loved in high school or even the mostly pop junk that gets played over and over again on the radio that you may like to bop along to in the car by yourself, may not be what you really want your kids to love.
So, I would expand what you like if you haven’t already. First, let’s look at faith music…or music written about faith or by a person of faith. Since music is a big part of my life and as a worship leader and songwriter, I am often looking at new and old worship music and hymns. Some of these songs are completely new to me and some of the best bands are bands that I and probably you have never heard of. It’s worth taking a listen to shows like the radio show  Under the Radar  which plays the best music you’ve never heard and stations like Elijah Streams that play worship music from known and lesser known artists and churches. These are places I find new and new to me music that is both worship and singer/songwriter.
You may be thinking, “I don’t like what gets played on the radio.” Well, you are not alone. In fact, most of what is played on Contemporary Christian Radio Stations comes from a very limited number of artists. Some of them are great. Some are just what the radio stations and the labels are feeding us. There is a lot more music out there and if you just do a little digging, you can find it!
One of my favorite things about faith music is that even if the subject isn’t God, I still don’t have to worry about answering the awkward question, ie. “Momma, what are “blurred lines?” or hearing my baby girl sing “So you want to play with magic?” My kids still hear those songs. They just don’t hear them from me.

We also love a lot of older classic tunes by The Beatles, Elvis, Electric Light Orchestra, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, James Taylor, Eva Cassidy,  and many many more. We have current bands that we love too like David Ramirez , Mat Kearney and John Mark McMillian. One of my favorite records is still Brooke Fraser’s Albertine, produced by my producer on my album Radiant You, Marshall Altman. I’ve also discovered more bands and music to love through Marshall. Before meeting Marshall, I didn’t know of Gabe Dixon, Audrey Assad or Matt Nathanson. So, I would say if you really love an album, find out who produced it and listen to more of their stuff. Chances are you will find more music you…and your kids will love.

So, now that you’ve expanded your music repertoire, how do you expand the mind and musical tastes of your children? Play them the songs you like. It’s that simple. I’m not promising your kids will give up asking for Veggie Tales or Katy Perry immediately, however I am saying that chances are high that your children will enjoy what you enjoy if you put some extra thought into it. So, plan a play list on your iPhone of music that you like and make it a good mix of high energy, classic, singer-songwriter, maybe even throw in a soundtrack song. We like the Muppet Movie soundtrack. The songs are hilarious and well done and when Maddux and Leeland break out into their rendition of “Am I a Man or Am I a Muppet,” I am on the floor. It is amazing and hilarious.

Happy listening and happy parenting, friends!

Working with a Spirited Child and trying to be a better mom

I don’t know which is worse: the fact that my child throws himself on the ground and spits at me because I refused to carry him in the sprinkling rain or the fact that I completely lost my patience with him when he did it?

Clearly, it’s my response. I am the adult here. Yes, my child seems to have issues adjusting to change at times. He doesn’t like getting wet in the rain or getting his feet dirty in the mud or fire alarms. These are just a few of the things that seem to really bother him. He’s only four. So, my fear is there is more to come. But, I digress. At the end of the day, I am the one that needs to change. I am the one that needs to have better responses, better interactions and better direction for him. He is just a little boy. But, as a parent I can learn better ways to deal with him and help him to be a better boy.

There is no manual that comes with parenting. We just have to figure it out. Thank God we have some tools and resources to make our jobs a little easier along the way. Have you read “The New Strong-Willed Child” by James Dobson? I haven’t. And, I’m not sure I will. I’ve heard some positive and some very negative things about his philosophy on raising children.

I also saw a book in the church library today with the title “Raising Your Spirited Child” by Kurcinka. Do you have any experiences with this book? I read a little in the library and liked what I saw. First, the term “spirited” which seems to conjure up better thoughts about your child than the term “strong-willed” or even “difficult.” And the brief descriptions I read about the “spirited child” seemed to perfectly describe mine. Here is what Mary Sheedy Kurcinka’s website says we can expect from her book.

Raising Your Spirited Child can help you:
  • plan for success with a simple, four-step program;
  • discover the power of positive, rather than negative, labels;
  • understand your child’s and your own temperamental traits;
  • cope with tantrums and blowups when they do occur;
  • develop strategies for handling mealtimes, bedtimes, holidays, school, and many other situations.
     
     
    Do you have any suggestions for something else we should be focusing on or reading. I believe what God’s word says in psalm 139:14. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 
     
    I know my child is fearfully and wonderfully made. I praise God for his wonderful work in our son.