Which is more powerful, a negative worldview or music? Don’t count music out too fast. Research has long shown that music can have a dramatic impact on body and mind. While I can’t say that music is capable alone of changing a negative worldview, I do know that for my family it makes a big difference for children and parents alike.
One of the effects of a neglectful, abusive, and/or traumatic beginning in life is that it often leaves a child with a darkened worldview. We interpret and make sense of our world through our experiences, and when our experiences are largely negative it only makes sense that our view of the world in general would be negative as well.
Parenting a child who looks at the world like the Winnie the Pooh character Eeyore can be frustrating and depressing. It can seem as if no matter what you do your child is still unhappy and gloomy. That’s because worldviews are not changed with motivational speeches, lecturing, nagging, or reminding a child how lucky he or she is. Worldviews do not change instantly just because the child is placed in a better situation. Worldviews are changed slowly and methodically over long periods of time. Only after millions and millions of cycles of need are completed for the child can these new more positive experiences begin to also impact that child’s worldview. Even then, a child’s worldview doesn’t often change dramatically. I think it is more common to see a subtle lightening of a child’s worldview and hopefully a continued lightening over time.
Years ago music became a sanity saver in terms of helping me stay upbeat while battling my oldest child’s sometimes gloomy outlook. I took to singing her rousing choruses of “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” and “Zip- a -Dee- Do -Dah” as we were waking up each morning. These off key silly moments were as much for my sanity and centering as they were for her. But I really do believe now that they also helped to chip away at that Eeyore-like outlook. She is in her 20’s now and when she was home visiting recently she gave me a morning hug and broke into our “Oh What a Beautiful Morning.” song. So if nothing else, it is a fond memory for her.
My two youngest kids are teens now and reminding me indirectly that just being a teenager can weigh heavily on one’s worldview. Sometimes it’s hard to stay positive and upbeat as a teen in our society. So I’ve decided to break out some morning music again. I made a morning play list and this weekend happy wake up music became part the Drew family breakfast again. I do believe over time it will chip away just a bit at those challenging teen worldviews and if nothing else, it will help me to start each day off on the right foot instead of getting sucked into their grumpy.
Thought you might enjoy a peek at my list. I’d love to hear what music inspires your family.
I think this first song started everyday of my oldest child’s first grade year:
My mom and dad used to sing this one to me when I was small and this is the one my daughter most remembers us singing in the mornings:
Good Day Sunshine, Beatles
A Beautiful Morning, The Rascals
Three Little Birds, Bob Marley
Ok I admit it, my kids were kind of rolling their eyes at my breakfast music this weekend UNTIL this one came on and then they burst out laughing!
Because of James Brown I was given a reprieve on eye rolling for John Denver. And I’m sorry but who can’t feel just a little happy listening to this….
More Beatles. You can’t really go wrong there.
Classic ….James Taylor
Feeling Good, Nina Simone