Guest Post by Aaron Doerr
My 11-year-old daughter just finished a program called Memory Masters for her school. In it, she had to memorize the history of the world.
Yes that's right, the history of the world.
Ancient empires, major civilizations, significant inventions, world leaders, movements and wars around the globe from the beginning of time until now all needed to be recited in order. Word for word.
How in the world did she do this? With music.
The creators of this history timeline turned it into a song. A crazy long song mind you, but still a song. Nearly every time we were in the car, we played this timeline song and our girls would listen, soaking up the names, dates and facts that were cleverly linked to rhythm and melody. Now it's embedded in their minds.
It's also stuck in my head, for better or worse.
Why does music do this? Why do we get songs stuck in our heads? Does God just have twisted sense of humor? As it turns out, God has a much bigger purpose in mind when He made music and when He made us.
Scientists have learned that our brains are uniquely constructed to connect memory, emotion and meaning to patterns. And it just so happens that music is the most powerful mechanism known to create deep connections between memory, emotion and meaning by using patterns like rhythm and melody. It has to do with neural pathways and synapses and other science stuff that goes way over my head. How it all works isn't really the point. The point is that God has literally hard wired our brains to feel deeply, remember vividly and construct meaning through music. My dad says the mystery of music is that is appeals to our emotion and intellect at the same time.
Ultimately, this isn't just about our brains, though. God built our brains this way because he wants our hearts.
In fact, God wants all of us. God knew that there is no way we can fully understand Him, explain Him or even experience Him within the limits of our own language. So He lovingly created us with the ability to use music to explain what we cannot say, feel what we can't speak and understand what we can't describe.
After prayer, singing is the second most commanded Christian practice in the Bible. The largest book in the Bible, Psalms, is a collection of songs that God's people were commanded to sing so that they could remember, rejoice, lament, confess, learn, grow and find hope as His followers.
Jesus himself knew the Psalms and quoted them often. He probably sang them with His dad, Joseph while growing up working as a carpenter, letting them sink deep into His mind, heart and soul.
Dads, if you're serious about raising your kids to know and love Jesus, then you have to make music at least one of the tools in your belt. Music can reach parts of your kids minds and hearts that even your best "dad lecture" can't touch. This is good news and bad news.
The good news is that there is more than enough music available that will help your kids fall deeper in love with Jesus. I even sing old hymns with my kids at night before bedtime and they love the time together.
The bad news is that there's plenty of music available to that can help them fall deeper in love with something besides Jesus. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you should only listen to certain radio stations or buy music by certain artists that are officially sanctioned, sterilized and sanitized by team Jesus. I listen to plenty of music that doesn't fall into this category. What I am saying, is that we need to respect music for what it is: a doorway to our hearts.
Dads, you are shepherds of your kids' hearts. Choose wisely what you allow into that sacred place when they’re young. Use the power of music to help them know and love Jesus. Cultivate their appetite for music that draws them to Jesus. As you do that, they will naturally crave it. It’s much easier to carefully introduce your kids to Taylor Swift, Drake and Imagine Dragons later on in life than to try to convince them when they’re 14 to "give Christian music a try." Good luck with that.
You don’t have to be musical, or even a music fan. Just remember it’s a powerful tool you need to use as a dad. At home, in the car, working in the yard or the garage. Sing with your kids. Listen to music with your kids. Forge memories with your kids as you learn to know and love Jesus more through music. They’ll thank you for it.
Pick up Aaron's Debut Album "Hymns"