Last week we introduced the role of the Parental DJ in selecting music for our kids. As a parent of small children, it is my job to control what enters their minds and hearts, to shape what kind of musical tastes they develop, and to reinforce a worldview that is in line with Scripture. Music is a powerful tool that can be used purposefully!
Today we wanted to share some more specifics about how we’ve chosen to do this, in a few broad categories:
- Learning Scripture
- Worshiping, Praising, and Shaping Worldview
- Calming Bedtime
- Having Fun
First, learning Scripture. We want our kids to be ‘soaked’ in the word of God. Marinated, I like to say. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says that we should be talking about the Bible at home and on the road, and everywhere in between. We spend a lot of time on the road, running errands and driving to grandma’s house, so the Steve Green CDs are a must!
These are good for younger kids, probably starting at 2 years old. Our 8 year old still enjoys them, but I’m sure eventually our kids will think that they are too childish. But seriously, you have to buy both Volume 1 and 2. It is mandatory. You and your kids will quickly memorize a lot of good Bible verses this way.
Worshiping, Praising, and Forming a Worldview
Outside of pure memorization of Scripture, it is also important to cultivate a love of worship, praise, and reliance on God. We want our kids to be able to worship with us at church, so we purposefully buy songs that the worship team plays. This allows us to ‘practice’ the songs at home so they are familiar with them on Sundays. It much easier to get into it when you are familiar with the words. We put together some really good songs onto a CD, and in the car we have listened to it countless times. And yesterday morning when my 4 year old son was decisively singing “10,000 Reasons” along with the congregation, it reminded me that it was worth the effort and the $1.29! And then every once in a while a song comes along that just has a really good message to it – one that I want my kids to learn deeply. I have added a few of those as well.
This is our mix of songs for worship and spiritual lessons. (Along with Rend Collective Homemade Worship and Mercy Me Welcome to the New.)
- Name Artist
- Just Wanna Say Israel Houghton: Such a fun song, and it is declaration that we are not afraid!
- Your Great Name Natalie Grant: This song helps me keep my anxiety under control.
- 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) Matt Redman
- God Is Able (Live) Hillsong Live
- It’s Your Love (Live) Hillsong Live: This song blows me away every time!
- You Are Holy (Prince Of Peace) Michael W. Smith: Dana loves the part where the men and women sing in a round.
- Counting On God New Life Worship: This used to be Luke’s favorite song.
- Beautiful One By The Tree: At one point this was Hannah’s favorite song.
- Desert Song (Live) Hillsong Live
- Always Kristian Stanfill
- Stronger (Live) Hillsong Live
- Lead Me To The Cross Hillsong United
- Overcome New Life Worship
- Our God Chris Tomlin
- Get Back Up TobyMac: My kids love TobyMac! And this song highlights an important concept – keep getting back up.
- My Savior Lives The Desperation Band
- Salvation Is Here Lincoln Brewster
- Here In Your Presence New Life Worship
- How He Loves David Crowder
- Oh Praise Him David Crowder
- I Will Rise Chris Tomlin
- Saviour (Live) Hillsong Live
- Rest In You (Live) Hillsong UNITED: So peaceful and calming!
- All Things Are Possible Darlene Zesch: Establishes the power and joy we have in God.
- This Is How We Overcome Hillsong: Establishes the power and joy we have in God.
- Courageous Casting Crowns: Important song for my boys.
- You Are More Tenth Avenue North: I want my kids to know this deeply!
- What Faith Can Do Kutless
- More Beautiful You Jonny Diaz: Important song establishing a strong identity in our girls.
- God’s Not Dead Newsboys: A lot of fun, and obviously driving home an important point. Luke’s current favorite.
We have listened to that playlist countless times, so to mix it up we generally listen to KLove or Life 88.5. It is wonderful to be able to tune in to these channels without worrying about bad language or inappropriate topics. (The only thing we have to watch for is conversations that we think are too serious or ‘adult’ for our little kids, such as suicide or other very sad subjects.)
And this radio choice is important. As yet another example of how little kids are sponges who soak everything in, over the years our kids have gotten to know and love the KLOVE morning show hosts: Craig, Amy, and Kankelfritz. This weekend we knew that Craig was going to make an appearance at the Royals Game and Matthew West concert, and the kids were excited to meet him. They wanted to get his autograph, and also made a sign for him to take back to Amy and ‘AppleFritz,’ as they call him. He was very gracious and kind to our kids, and it was a special time to connect with the real human behind the radio personality. I share this example to show that even the choice of what radio station we listen to has an impact on our kids. Because we chose a Christian station, we are introducing them to people who share our values. It is another small step in creating a purposeful life. One small brushstroke in the painting. (I was going to say one more brick in the wall, but somehow that seemed like the wrong metaphor!) Our music selection presents our kids with a message that is consistent with other areas of our life together. This stability is an example of integrity in action.
I’m always searching for good arrangements of hymns, so please comment if you have recommendations! My favorite albums have been:
Page Cxvi: Hymns (We selected Come Thou Fount, Nothing But the Blood, and Solid Rock)
I also have songs from random albums by Steve Hendershot, This Train, David Crowder, Todd Agnew, and others.
Bedtime is an important ritual. I always sing Jesus Loves Me and Amazing Grace to the kids at bedtime. I want those songs to be deeply rooted in their souls. When we have had trouble with bad dreams or bedtime fears, we have played music for the kids to fall asleep to. We have used just a lullaby CD of classical music, a Christian lullaby CD, and at one point we literally just played the Bible on CD to them. (Unexpected bonus, the kids could at one point recite various names in Jesus’ genealogy, including Zerubabel!) : ) Seriously though, whether lullabies or Matthew 1, these are good to listen to when dealing with bad thoughts. They go to sleep thinking about Scripture.
Just because we are purposeful doesn’t mean we don’t have fun!
Wanna Say by Israel Houghton….good for not being scared
Kids On The Move: : My favorite is Jesus, What A Friend. I could watch my kids do the actions to this song all day!
Meet in the Middle, by Diamond Rio
The point of this rambling post is to share some of the songs we have found over the years, and to explain our purpose for finding them. We hope that you will be able to get some good ideas as you build your library of purposeful music. Remember, you are the DJ for your kids! Choose wisely!
Please share a couple of your ‘must-have’ songs. We’re all in this together!
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