The Strength of Emerging with Your Own Lyrics

As a teenager, music was very important to me. I loved songs that had a meaning, a message. I’d come across some new song and beg my mother and step father to listen to it, certain that they would see what I saw. But they never did. Their taste in music was very different from mine. I would argue with them…“Even if you don’t like the way it sounds, don’t you hear what they’re trying to say?” But they didn’t.

Today I hear the music my kids listen to, the message it is sending to the world. Some of the songs are strong and powerful. They’re songs about loving yourself and reaching goals. My youngest came home one day a couple years ago singing Sit Still, Look Pretty by Daya:

Oh, I don’t know what you’ve been told
But this gal right here’s gonna rule the world
Yeah, that is where I’m gonna be because I wanna be
No, I don’t wanna sit still, look pretty
You get off on your nine to five
Dream of picket fences and trophy wives
But no, I’m never gonna be ’cause I don’t wanna be
No, I don’t wanna sit still look pretty

And I loved it immediately. I was enamored with the message it was sending out to all the girls who think they need makeup and fancy clothes to be valuable. I wanted my kids to know they can rule the world, and this song told them it was possible every time they heard it.

Of course my girls think I like these songs because of what it teaches them. I do, but I have always been this way, long before I had kids. I believe that the stories, songs, poems, books, posts, TV shows, movies, art or whatever else is put into the world should make it better. There is so much power in media and it should be used to build people up, not tear them down.

But now that my kids are in middle school they’re being exposed to a lot of things I have a harder time appreciating. Recently my youngest introduced me to Trust Fund Baby by Why Don’t We:

I don’t really want no trust fund baby
I like my women independent
And I say to people, “That’s my lady”
And we don’t need nothing e-e-e-lse
I don’t want no trust fund baby
Save your money, don’t spend it
And I say to people, “That’s my lady”
And we don’t need nothing e-e-e-lse

I struggle with the message this is sending. I don’t want to criticize what my daughter likes, but it’s so difficult when she puts these types of songs on. “That’s my lady?” Really? “Save your money, don’t spend it?” Why? Why does this song appeal to my daughter? I know it’s the music more than the lyrics, but she hears these messages every time she listens to the song.

And yet I can’t prevent it, not entirely. There are certain songs that I will not allow her to listen to when I’m around. I explain why and it’s always because of the lyrics and the message. Sometimes she assumes it’s because there’s a swear word, but my issue isn’t with these words necessarily, it’s the overall message I’m concerned about. I have no problem with the girls hearing “bad” words if the story in the song is powerful and positive. But more often these words are used to shock the listener or for no real reason at all, at least not that I can see.

I can give them my opinion, but they will listen when I’m not around, even though they know I don’t approve. I realize this. As they get older what I’m able to control decreases. I try to be okay with this, even though letting go is difficult.

But it’s time they start writing their own stories, their own lyrics. I am here to help them but I can’t do it for them. They have to choose the message they will bring to the world. They may not choose what I would choose for them, and I have to be okay with that. It’s their turn now.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Song

26 thoughts on “The Strength of Emerging with Your Own Lyrics”

  1. I would drive my mom nuts playing the same song over and over again. Usually I had a) fallen in love with it and played it until I was sick of it or b) it spoke to how I was feeling. ‘Love Hurts’ by Nazareth was played often in my teen years poor lovesick child that I was.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ❀️ I know. I give them space…But today I was again subjected to Trust Fund Baby (which is not one of the ones I’ve banned from my presence). I grin and bear it….Then whine here πŸ˜‚ But you’re right. They will write their own lyrics in time!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember my mom didn’t very much like the kind of music my older brother and I used to listen to before specially when we were in high school — rock, heavy metal, etc. — she always insists that their songs/music are a lot better. πŸ˜‰ I actually agree with her somehow. So I guess the choice of music is more of a “generation thing” if you can call it that. Haha! Anyhow, I think you’re a really nice mom!

    Liked by 1 person

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