I have a vivid memory of her as a one-year-old, pushing her walker full of wooden bricks and whistling! It seems that music is part of her DNA, and it is undoubtedly part of her spiritual DNA. It is such a blessing to hear her worship; and I’m triply blessed as I also have a daughter-in-law with a beautiful voice and a son who plays guitar in their church band. Our house was always full of songs and I cannot imagine it any other way.
What is it about music that seems to get under our defenses and connect with our hearts like nothing else can?
Whether we are crying out in adoration and praise, or from the depths of pain and sorrow, it is often listening to a praise or worship song that allows us to express deeply those intimate feelings. We know that David could calm the rage of Saul, and we see time and again the use of music to lead God’s people to victory. It seems that the heartbeat of God, His love and compassion, His joy and creativity, they all flow through music and songs and touch us more than anything else can.
And this brings me to the sadness I feel when it seems that music and singing are disappearing from our preschools and nurseries.
When we visited the Kindergartens in Hungary a few years ago, we were overwhelmed with the beauty and quality of the singing by such young children. There is an expectation that teachers will be excellent musicians and this is reflected in all aspects of Kindergarten life, where children sing with enthusiasm and joy. Is the loss of singing here to do with lack of confidence, inhibitions or just a feeling that it is not important enough?
I suspect it may be all of those and so I would encourage you, wherever you are, however nervous you feel, to take the plunge and start singing again with the children in your care. If you’re not confident then practice at home. Ask some of the other adults to sing along with you, you can do it. Look up those gentle lullabies for our babies, timeless and soothing, we need to ensure we don’t lose them. And don’t be afraid to make up songs about everything from sweeping leaves to skipping home!
And it may mean they do not have those times where God can reach through the dark times and use music to soothe their souls and lift their spirits. If we sometimes need to weep in worship, to dance and jump for joy, or sit quietly while the love of God washes over us through music, then I am sure that young children need these times too.
There is no disadvantage to bringing young children and music together and, by experiencing it frequently in many ways, singing to the Lord from their hearts just may draw them that much closer to their heavenly Father just when they need it.
*Ephesians 5:19 my paraphrase