I’ve made more than one mix tape in my life. It once was a long labor of love, waiting for various songs to come on the radio and pushing “record” at just the right moment. CDs made it easier – considerably so. But then came the days of the true playlist in which you were really just picking and choosing from thousands of songs, every one of them at your fingertips.
Now making a playlist is so easy that I don’t even do it any more – I just use the ones other people have made and shared. This is the world in which our children are growing up. They don’t understand the concept of the radio – it’s frustrating to them when they can’t skip a song in the car because we aren’t blue-toothed connected. They want their own playlists, the ones that specifically cater to their likes and preferences. The songs that fit their mood perfectly. The tried and true tunes that capture the mood of the moment.
Of course our children want their own music because music is important. Probably more important, in fact, than most of us realize. Music has the unique capacity to reach us at an emotional level that few things do. And when you combine a beautiful tune with rich, God-honoring lyrics, music becomes not only something to listen to in order to pass the time; it becomes something we can actually look to in order to preach the gospel to ourselves day in and day out. Perhaps that’s at least one of the reasons why God over and over commands His people to sing – He knows the great benefit that comes to our minds, hearts, and souls when we do.
Music is indeed important. It’s important to our children though they might not realize how much so. That’s why, as parents, we should take an active role in creating a “life playlist” for our children. I’m not talking about micromanaging their iTunes account, though we should have a wary eye on that. I’m talking about instilling into them the deep, rich songs of the faith over and over again while they are young. These songs become the life playlist that comes back up in their minds over the years when they need them.
Our children need a life playlist so that, 20 years from how, they can know that though sorrows and sea billows roll, it can still be well with their souls. They need a life playlist so that when everything else is sinking sand they know they can still stand on Christ the solid rock. They need a life playlist so they remember that God is a mighty fortress they can trust in, though our ancient foe would seek to do us woe.
See, music sticks in our minds. It embeds itself in our thoughts, taking hold with a ferocity few other things do. It’s no wonder, then, that scholars tell us that one of the most rich passages in the entire New Testament, Philippians 2, was actually an early Christian hymn. In these verses we find a succinct and memorable recitation of the person and work of Jesus Christ. And it lifts my heart to think that somewhere, in a time long long ago, there were early Christians singing these words. Singing them so they would stick in their memory. Singing them so they would feel them as well as know them. Singing them so that, when all else fails the song would come back to them on the darkest days.
So may it be with our children.
So parents, consider what music fills the halls of your home. Consider lyrics are working their way now into the hearts of your kids, for those are the words that are forming the playlist that will stick with them for years to come.