sing for your supper

I was at the football field a lot the last two weeks. My sweet Ethan begged for months, I repeat, MONTHS for me to get him on a football team. My older boys played football for a few practices, til it got too hot, so I was a bit hesitant to fork over the wad of cash it was going to take to get my boy going in the world of football. But, Ethan is a sweet boy. He is the kind of boy that follows through on what he says he is going to do. He isn’t a quitter. At least, that is what I told him as I wrote out that big check for football. We signed up back in March and just barely started practicing two weeks ago. If dad were around, Ethan might have used that time to get in shape, throw the football around, or even watch football. I know, it hasn’t been football season, but still…..there are ways….. Mom is not dad, in many many ways, so we did none of the above. We just prayed we would remember when it all started to go down and that we wouldn’t miss practice.

Ethan has done great. He has gone to all but two practices and has tried his best. He is younger than a lot of the boys on the team since it is a junior high age team and he is only in sixth grade, but he is a big as most of them so it works. He didn’t even hurt himself til the second week of practice, the first day of full pads and ‘contact.’ He is a tender boy, so getting banged up was not easy for him but he has weathered through like a real champ and I am very impressed.

I haven’t been able to stay and watch practice very often. I am usually dropping him off and then driving to drop off or pick up some other kid and end up getting back to the field just a short time before practice ends and the light go out. They don’t waste any time with those lights.  Friday night I was able to watch the last half hour or so and I loved seeing how much Ethan had progressed since the beginning. They work those boys pretty hard!

As I sat there beaming with righteous pride for my future football star, I noticed a couple of young girls near me. They were probably around nine or ten years old. One of the girls had an ipod in her hand and they were both jamming out to songs a singing along with all their might. I love music and love to see kids enjoying it and singing without inhibition. I wish we could all keep that innocent joy of singing and not get so bogged down by the feelings of inadequacy that comes to us as we ‘mature.’ As I sat there listening and watching them (and the field), I realized they were singing a very popular song I had heard on the radio. As I listened to the words these young innocent girls were singing, I wondered if they had any idea what they were saying. The song is all about “Friday night” and all the things the singer did. Getting drunk, going to jail, getting high…..etc. It is a fun, upbeat song with a horrid message that having fun means basically having no standards and living with reckless care for your spiritual as well as physical well being. It made me sad thinking that these girls may not know what they were singing, but it was getting in their heads. It was training them without them even knowing it. The next song that came on was one that I actually kind of like. Its a song about not wanting to do anything. Just sit around and blow off a day. Who doesn’t have days like that? It is a fun song, or so I thought. The girls were again singing their little hearts out and then suddenly they stopped as a “bad word” came in the lyrics. As soon as the word was over, they picked up the song again.  What does that tell you? What it told me was that the girls knew darn well what the song was talking about and they were just editing the obvious words.

How sad is it that music has sunk so low. I remember as a teenager, Madonna was so very bad and outrageous. But, back then, it seems the songs only hinted at things. Now they are saying things right out loud. No guessing in most songs what is being said. I know the old argument, “I just like the melody and the beat, I don’t listen to the lyrics…” sounds a lot like “I don’t look at the pictures, I just read the articles…” and you KNOW what I’m talking about with that one. To me, it is the same. It is getting in your head. You may turn a blind eye to the lyrics, but your subconscious mind is soaking it all in. The kids in the backseat are soaking it all in. The message is getting out there and you are helping. I say ‘You’, but I am to blame too. I LOVE music. I love love love it! I love to rock out in my car and sing along. I love to move my couches out of the way and dance with my kids. I love the feeling I get when a good song comes on and it lifts me up and blows my blue day away.

But I have to wonder….am I choosing the best music for my family? Am I using music to build or to destroy? Music is so very powerful….even in commercials. They use it to mess with our emotions. Why in the heck would I cry over car insurance? Or over coffee? It’s the music. They use it to make us have feelings so we will buy into their product. The same goes for the music on the radio. They might be selling a ‘product’ but they are selling a way of life. A way of thinking. A way of acting that is not in accord with the teachings of the church. Think about the popular songs out today….what are they selling? Sex, drugs, alcohol, homosexuality, and a lack of responsibility for one’s actions. That is not the kind of life I want for me or for my children. That kind of life brings nothing but sadness, loneliness and dissatisfaction.

It is hard to tune out the world. It is harder to turn off the radio. After seeing the girls at the football field, I turned my radio to the classical station in my car. It was like a breath of fresh air. I felt calmer and more at peace than I had for a while. We used to always listen to classical when the kids were younger. It is going to be a battle with the kids and we may have to make some compromises, but I am going to really try and have better music in my home and car. The  lyrics do matter. The message does matter. I will probably miss some of the songs….but my family is more important. I won’t sell them for a song. Cause I said so.

comments make my heart sing...don't leave me hanging!

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