I never needed to be told that music is powerful. I’ve always known that. I grew up in the 80’s, so I was a champ at recording that perfect song off the radio onto a cassette tape. (Please tell me you know what one of those is!) Being a mom of a funny, kind, timid, tender-hearted little girl though, gives me fresh perspective on the power of music.
My daughter isn’t shy, exactly, but she is…anxious. I suppose that’s the best word. She doesn’t like change – each new school year terrifies her. Last fall, she started 2nd grade, and even though she already knew who her teacher was going to be, and knew it was someone that she already loved to pieces, she was still nervous.
“What if I don’t do good?”
“You’ll do fine, I know you will.” (This was not the time to correct grammar.)
“But how do you know?”
“Because you always do, even though you’re nervous, you always manage to do what you need to do.”
“What if none of my friends are in my class?”
“Then you’ll make new friends. And you’ll see the old ones at lunchtime and at the playground.”
“But how will I make new friends?”
“You’ll see someone you want to be friends with, and you’ll say hello.”
“But then what?”
You see? This is how her little mind works. She is a worrier. That isn’t something I want for her, but she is. Finding ways to help her overcome those anxieties is so difficult. But soon after the school year started, she found something on her own. On this particular morning, I had my iPod plugged into the car radio and we were talking when this song came on:
“I like this song, Mom. What’s it called.” So I told her. We got to school and she went about her day and I didn’t think anything else about it. The next morning as we got in the car, “Can we listen to Stronger?” So I turned it on and she started trying to sing along. Over the next few days, this song was her every-morning request. She began to learn more and more of it. Always curious, there was one morning when she asked me what the first part meant, about the bed being warmer. Find a simple way to explain THAT to a 2nd grader! I said something about knowing how strong you are as a person and not needing someone else to make you strong, and that sometimes people in our lives actually aren’t good for us…she accepted that and then wanted to know exactly what the chorus meant. (Sidenote – at 7 my daughter still doesn’t understand that I am not up to these kinds of explanations before cup of coffee number 2.)v I unraveled the phrase for her as well as I could, and she went on singing. Then, just as she was about to get out of the car and go in to school:
“This song makes me feel confident. It makes me feel like I really am stronger.”
Later, she added another song to that one:
Because, as she said, “Sometimes I do feel like I just can’t do stuff. But this song makes me feel like I really can.” (I should add that this was after it was featured in the movie Madagascar 3, which we loved.)
So, those had been her favorites for this school year. She had other songs she liked a lot too, Bible School songs, funny songs, and every single song from these guys:
http://imaginationmovers.com/ (I’m sure I’ll be including more about them later – they’ve been a huge part of our mom/daughter time.)
Skip ahead to February. We watched The Lego Movie, which had the song, “Everything is AWESOME!” She and I both went around singing it for days, much to the annoyance of her Dad who apparently didn’t enjoy having it stuck in his head on a permanent basis. 🙂
Since she loved the song, I decided to download it for her, and while I was at it, I got some other songs that I knew she liked and made her her very own playlist on my iPod. I included songs from the movie Brave, and from The Lion King, some from The Muppets, just a nice little variety of kid-friendly music. I also included this one, which I knew she already liked:
This one is a family favorite, and we’ve talked a lot in the past about what makes a hero. Recently we were in the car and this one came on. After commenting how much she loves the opening, and singing the guitar part for me, she just listened quietly for a while. Then suddenly:
“Mom, this is a really good song, ’cause, you know, soldiers? They are so brave. They are willing to die for us.”
I agreed of course, and we talked about how Jesus was the ultimate Hero, because He gave His life for us. And then we talked about others in our world now who are that kind of brave – police officers, firefighters, soldiers, and the like. She got quiet again, and then,
“It makes my eyes water.”
I looked back and there was my tender-hearted little girl with tears in her eyes because she was thinking about real heroes, and what they give for others. It was a huge reminder to me, to be thankful for those who are out there protecting me, day and night, fair weather and foul, holidays and weekends.
It was another reminder too, of the power of music. If we are willing, music can impact us more than just at weddings and funerals. It can empower us. It can soothe us. It can remind us of what’s important. It can take us back to a memory.
And that’s powerful stuff.