Core scripture: “Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!” (Psalm 105: 2)
Message: I ache for my students. Especially the worldly ones. Oh, how I ache for them! Probably the same way Jesus ached for the Pharisees. Their hearts were so hard, and though He pleaded with them to submit, Christ already knew. They were so stubborn! It reminds me of some of my students today. Sure, we’re living 2,000 years later, but when you observe our society, not much has changed. Young minds are still corrupted by a selfish, materialistic society. Peer pressure sucks kids into things they shouldn’t be doing like a powerful whirlpool of ungodliness. Like quicksand, they are stuck in the muck of living the fast life they see immortalized through media, and there is no way out.
Do you ache like I do? These sweet, innocent 7th graders of mine are right in the thick of it. I noticed it after we performed a skit in class the week of parent/teacher conferences. One of the most sweet, blameless girls in my early morning class took the floor. The class roared as she imitated a line from one of the new hit rap songs that everyone happened to be listening to. Me? I was oblivious. It wasn’t until the following week when we were laughing and recalling her glorious moment that I found out what she did. Curious yet cautious, I plugged in the song she referenced on my plan hour and began to play it on YouTube.
It only took about 20 seconds. I clicked off immediately. Scarred for life.
The images were so repulsive, so vulgar … the language, hideous, hateful … these poor young rappers, all gripping guns sideways, gang colors flying ablaze their clothing … I nearly wept. How? How could one of my most remarkable kids, a self-proclaimed Christian, be listening to trash like that? The following day I playfully teased that the video was quite horrendous in my mind, knowing the kids would probably begin to tease me back. They did, and with it they told me a few other songs to look up. After looking up one of them, I got the point. I couldn’t go any further. Heck, the history of those songs being on my computer at work is scary enough!
It is at these times the Christian teacher must take action. I did the following day with a character lesson near the end of my bell work. The thought for the day was rather convicting for some: the music you listen to becomes a part of you. That was a rough day for me. The more I mentioned the three songs that I knew the kids were listening to, the more head nods and smiles came about. That’s on my playlist! I don’t watch the video, but I just love the song! I heard it all. These 12 and 13-year-olds are so rebellious toward adult authority to begin with that I knew I had to take a different approach. I had to tell a story where they could relate. It wasn’t easy humbling myself, but I took a minute or two to say I wasn’t too far different from them back in the day.
It was my senior year of high school. Although I went to church on Sundays and called myself a good kid, my taste in music certainly did not reflect my faith. It was an area I kept to myself, and a couple of the CDs I used to get myself pumped up for football games were littered with cursing, hate, and anger. I told my students that I felt a slight guilt inside me as I knew the lyrics didn’t line up with my morals and beliefs. Yet I still listened to the garbage before games. After all, it was what everyone else did. I was just following the crowd. Much like some of my students were doing now. Some of them got the point. Others mocked me behind my back. It made my heart happy to see some of my FCA kids nodding in approval to the message. But I would say the lot of them are probably going to listen to what they want to no matter what.
Let’s park on that thought. The music you listen to becomes a part of you. What music do you listen to? Are you taking moments to use a Christian song to prove a point in your classroom? Is music a part of your room at all? It should be. There are so many powerful ways that you can use music throughout your day. Here are some of my favorites:
- Listen to Christian radio to and from work. It always finds a way to soothe the troubled soul.
- Have Christian music playing as your kids wander in to class during passing periods. Try to pick a song that is uplifting but does not give a direct reference to Jesus or the cross. You can never argue with the likes of Hawk Nelson’s “Words” or Toby Mac’s “Speak Life.” Needtobreathe is another wonderful option.
- Use a Christian song to discuss a theme in your class. We love listening to songs like For King and Country’s “Not Over Yet” when reading A Long Walk to Water. It reminds us of the main character’s trek through the desert, and he can’t give up!
- Listen to Christian music while you work out on your headphones.
- Listen to Christian music while you do chores around the house. Chores can actually be fun for me with my earbuds in, jamming to the Newsboys while doing spin moves with the vacuum. Seriously, try it sometime!
- Encourage a friend with a song. Songs have a tendency to make truth out of different aspects of life.
How will you let music affect your classroom? Will you take the time to play Christian music that uplifts the spirits of others? You never know who you are going to influence. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12: 2). Let your music reflect your faith.
Challenge: Ever heard of the K-Love 30-day challenge? Try it! Nothing but Christian radio in your car for a month. That’s right, no rock. No alternative. No country. Nothing but positive, encouraging Christian music. See what happens after 30 days. I never really challenged myself to do this. It just happened! Shortly after being saved in 2013 to be exact. Now, unless I am catching the climax of a Kansas Jayhawk basketball game, my radio is stuck there. Not a bad problem to have.
Song to bring it home: Pssh! How about any of the Christian songs listed above! Or check out the link for “Music Magic” on my blog and check out any of the numerous safe songs I recommend. Turn on your radio to the local Christian radio station. For me it is K-Love and 88.5, or if I am feeling slightly more edgy and alternative, 99.1. It is amazing how the power of these three stations provide me with the uplifting thoughts I need!
Prayer: Father, I pray for the lost to find Christian music. May they hear Your truths and be drawn to it. Amen.