There is not a day that goes by in the Cahill household without a soundtrack. Music is practically as much of a staple around here as food or clothing. With a few exceptions, there isn’t much we don’t listen to- jazz, indie hip-hop and rock, traditional Celtic or classical music, good ol’ pop punk, orchestral renditions from the Legend of Zelda, industrial instrumentals, folk (and bluegrass-punk–there’s a fun one!), some classic rock, a handful of top-40, and stuff that is so amazingly original it’s hard to categorize.
My preschool- and kindergarten-age boys could take on the hippest of hipsters with their knowledge of obscure indie bands. They are always walking around humming or singing something. Two nights ago, I turned on a song for them that they both had stuck in their heads, and while I didn’t think they paid it much attention beyond the catchy hook and fun beat, they completely caught me off guard. After the song had ended my oldest began asking me questions about the song that only could have come from really listening the lyrics, trying to understand the message of the song. Then, to my even greater surprise, his 3 year old brother, without looking up from his coloring book, answered before I could. They proceeded to have a (relatively) existential conversation about the meaning of the song.
-What does he want, Mom?
-He wants to go home.
-But is that REALLY what he wants?
–He’s lost and wants to find his way home.
-What if he doesn’t know which path to take?
It’s so easy to take for granted that the child-mind sees things simply, and to forget that this allows them to sometimes see more than those of us who skim over things as though we already understand and know the answers. These two beautiful children rarely concern themselves with anything in the future beyond the next meal-time; yet there they were, dissecting this song, dissecting the part of this artist’s life that he had shared, and asking questions that we are still asking ourselves as adults.
I am so mindful of what I let my kids eat or what they watch on TV, I surround them in the visual beauty of the world, but I honestly don’t think as much about the content of what I let them listen to (and I’m talking mostly radio-played music here) but I forget that their little ears are absorbing and processing that just as much as their bodies do to quinoa and organic veggies. Perhaps it’s time that I make sure that, if they are going to listen with intention, I make sure they are listening to music made with intention.