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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Teaching our children to sing

Lately I've been thinking a lot about teaching my children songs and music. My oldest is 3.5 yrs old and so far he doesn't know a lot of children's songs with the exception of the alphabet song and parts of "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star." Do I sound like a failure as a parent? Well, then, let me rave a little about songs that my kid does know. So far we've been teaching him hymns. Every night when putting Matthew in bed, Evers sings to him and prays with him. As a result, he knows how to sing the following:
  • Before the Throne (This seems to be his favorite. Even my younger one who is 1.5 yrs knows how to hum parts of it)
  • Rock of Ages (a new version from SGM). This was one of the first songs Evers started to sing to him, so he almost knows the whole thing by heart. He even recognizes when Evers tries to skip a stanza!
  • Holy, Holy, Holy
  • O Worship The King
  • Doxology ("Praise God From Whom...")
It's so wonderful and sweet sounding to hear him sing even just parts of a hymn. It's especially encouraging when I see his eyes and ears perk up when we sing these songs in church. He gets very excited because he knows how to participate in worship.

I don't know exactly why I don't teach my kids children's songs. I don't have anything against them. I think the reason we teach ours kids hymns is because it's a reflection of who we are and what we like to sing.

I came across Bob Kauflin's blog today concerning music. If you want a free CD from him (which you'll have to blog-review), you should email him ASAP since only the first 50 people who email him will receive it.

In his blog he said:
I've noticed for some time that children often sing songs that assume they have a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. That's due partly to the fact that many adult songs are simply adapted for use by children. Also, many songs written today for congregational worship tend to be responsive rather than objective in nature. "Jesus, you mean more than anything, I love you, You're my best friend, etc."
It's so true! Our songs tend to be responsive rather than objective. Perhaps this is why we teach our kids hymns. Hymns are rich in expressing God's nature, beauty, and love.

Bob also went on to say:
A case can be made for unconverted children singing songs that profess a love for God or an assurance of salvation. They enable children to develop a vocabulary that will have meaning later on in life as they turn to Christ in repentance and faith.
Amen! We can instill wonderful words about God (including the Bible!) in our kids minds right now so when they are called to embrace the saving work of the Lord down the road, they'll have rich resources from which to draw upon in expressing their own love and worship to the Lord.