She’s 15 and been to lots of live music venues, but I’m talking one that costs a chunk of dough and has a biggish name act.
Now, I loooooooove music. But, I have a bit of a bipolar relationship with it in regards to my chillens.
You see, one of the troubles with being a Mother Who Thinks is that you tend to have Kids Who Think, and while this is certainly good in the grand scheme of things, sometimes, it’s a bit uncomfortable.
My Girl Child in particular has always been one to question the meaning of things, from the time she could speak. Things like stories, and street signs, and phrases, and since I like to rock out in the car and around the house and pretty much anywhere, she would often question the meaning of song lyrics.
Needless to say, it could be a tad bit awkward explaining to a wide eyed little face of innocence what exactly was the meaning of the words her mother was shaking her bootie to. And this child didn’t usually just take a basic answer and let me change the subject~ no...she wanted to know the real deal. Then, she would stare at you with what looked a lot like condemnation while absorbing it all.
Truth be told, I rarely thought about the meaning of music until this child came along. And when I did think about it….well, much of it wasn’t something I really felt like sharing with my little ones.
When songs are violent, or all about random and meaningless sex, or degrading women or just plain negative, in all honesty…. analyzing the meaning with a child kinda spoils the fun of at times.
So, a good deal of my favorite music went on hold, at least when the young and innocent ears were around, just to save me from the explanations.
Having formerly spent most of my spending money (prior to having kids) on CDs and concert tickets, this was an strange twist of fate for me. But, motherhood had so many of those that I just rolled with it.
So, how to actually enjoy music with your young peeps?
Tip #1: Find some positive music that you can enjoy together. None of you should feel like crying, shrinking, or jabbing knitting needles in your ears during the shared musical experience.
Here’s where the awesome part of the above mentioned concert comes in. On a whim, we got tickets with friends to see Michael Franti. The whole thing was awesome actually, but this guy is not just an amazing performer.
Michael has an equally amazing and super positive attitude, and this was huge! He came out to dance in the audience, with little kids and old people, he told sweet stories about his mom, his family, his love, and visiting war torn countries like Iraq to play for both citizens on the street and soldiers on bases. And he rocked the freaking house.
Tip # 2: Bring along the right friends. That way, no one cares if you shake your groove thing.
I danced alongside a small gaggle of teenagers, including my Girl Child, all of whom were having so much fun, they didn’t even notice my funky mom dance moves enough to be embarrassed. Now, if we had brought along friends who were more worried about looking cool than having fun, or who didn’t already think I was a cool mom, then it would have been a totally different experience. Luckily, everyone in our little group was awesome and easily swayed to come to the Fun Side.
Tip # 3: You might have to loosen up a bit and let go.
Let me tell you, two and a half hours of solid dancing is a workout and I was a sweaty beast by the end of it. But so was everyone else there, including Michael, which my Girl Child found out as he danced near us and she gave him a pat on the back, only to come away with a really wet palm.
Now, we are a family of mild to moderate germaphobes, so this could have been a really unpleasant thing for her. But, her face only registered the shock momentarily, and then resigned back to joyful exuberance and dancing like a crazy mini me. Yay for letting go!
The idea of letting go applies to me too. Not all the music we share these days has as positive of messages as Michael Franti’s stuff does. As a Parental Unit, I’m not always 100% comfortable with these messages, but I do have to trust in my kids, that they will use their brains and discernment in regards to what they hear and how they act.
Plus, we talk a lot, so like it or not, they hear my 2 cents on lyrics. It’s been really reassuring to hear their take on things too, and to know that they aren’t just soaking things in, they’re thinking too.
No matter what a bad rap the teen years get, I'm really enjoying all the new things I can experience with my bigger kids. I'm feeling pretty lucky that there are positive people like Michael Franti making music to enjoy with them, and especially that they generally think I'm cool enough to come along with them (having their friends think so helps too.)
I'm really not at all surprised, but taking teenagers to a concert was whole heck of a lotta fun. If you have access yourself to kids and live music, I'd highly recommend it. I'm pretty sure this night will be one we all remember and we talked about the stories, the music, and the positive theme long after it was over.
(Disclaimer: While my dancing urges lasted for days, the lack of embarrassment was limited to the time during the live music venue. Apparently, and according to my Girl Child, it's OK to dance at a concert, but not while walking down the street.)
I'd love to hear about your musical adventures with kids and teens in the comments below, and if you liked this post, please 'like' it over on Facebook and share with your friends.