When I was in high school, our youth minister was really big into talking about what music we listened to. And what books we read and what movies we watched. He told us we should guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. He told us, garbage in...garbage out. I heard it a lot.
I still listened to "secular" music sometimes, but mostly I tried to listen to contemporary Christian music.
I grew up listening to country music. That's what my parents listened to. And by the way, I read once that children in the 40s listened to whatever kind of music their parents listened to. There was not separate music for different ages. It was during the 50s when "teenager" became a marketable notion, that music began to be sold and made and marketed just to them. Suddenly, children thought their parent's music was no good, and insisted on listening to "their" music. The divide remains.
Anyway, looking at the whole thing from a wise old 39 year old viewpoint, I can see what a racket it all is. Justin B. is a good example of this. You may have never heard any of his music, but by golly, you've heard of him. Most children know about him. He is well marketed. And he seems to be a clean teeny-bopper kind of kid. What could be wrong with his music? Lay you ten to one most parents have never even checked it out. There may not be anything wrong at all with his music, but it is being produced by adults. Who know what they are doing.
I do not have children who are interested in music just yet. Sweetheart got a little MP3 player for her birthday and S loaded it with some Christian music we had on our computer. It's not exactly a hip play list from a worldly point of view. She hardly ever listens to it. She just isn't "into" listening to music. Whatever I put on in the car is fine with them. And my kids still don't know who Justin B is. I know because I overheard a 1st grade boy ask Sweetheart if she knew Justin B. and she said no. He was shocked. I wonder, how does HE know?
I'm thinking about all this today because my nephew listens to some bands I've never heard of and when I look up the lyrics I am not really happy. A teen at our church told me a name of a band recently and I looked them up. Yeah, not impressed. It isn't really even what they are saying wrong but that the lyrics make really no sense. Throw in a few cuss words and I'm really not impressed.
Now I know I sound old saying the lyrics make no sense but really...I am literate. I minored in English. I am left reading the song and thinking, "WHAT is this song even about?" Sometimes it's quite obvious what the songs are about and that Christians should not be listening.
When I was a teenager, I differentiated between songs...not singers or bands. I might say, "Well, this one song they sing has bad words, but most of their stuff is OK." I really didn't buy CDs (OK OK---cassette tapes) of groups or singers that much so I was pretty much left with what was being played on the radio or MTV. And no, we weren't supposed to watch MTV but we did when my parents were gone.
I want to get a grip on all this before my children start caring about music. It's funny to be thinking about a topic from a parent's point of view, FULLY remembering how I felt about the topic from the other side.
As Christian parents, what should we say and do about music in our children's lives?
Tell them "Christian only" and enforce that at home?
Buy them itunes cards for Christmas and choose to not listen to their ipod to see what they downloaded?
Tell them it's up to them but don't make the rest of us have to listen to it also?
Look up the lyrics to every single song and read over them with our children before putting a band on the good or bad list?
Make them listen to classical music until they leave home? :)
What do you think?