Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9
"'Baby you're a firework!' Daddy, are you a firework?" was asked by my son Quentin yesterday. I had to laugh and then try to explain to him that the "firework" was metaphorical... I lost him at meta. We're not big Katy Perry fans. No, let me say that another way, we're not Katy Parry fans at all. Yet somehow Quentin knows the firework song. He doesn't know who sings it, but he does know a lot of the lyrics and knows that it's off Madagascar 3.
I also heard Maggie singing, "This girl is on fire!" We have never listened to Alicia Keys, but a few minutes ago I realized that she learned it from her mother and me. Then I realized the real reason Quentin knew the firework song: again, Allie and I sing it. When either of those songs get in your head it's hard to get them out.
It was at this point I realized how much our kids are listening. If Allie and I have an argument and the kids are around, we may have made up and figured things out but Quentin and Maggie have chosen sides and are still angry. Usually Quentin takes my side because us bros stick together.
I started to realize how much influence I have over my kids. Sure they make their own choices and commit their own sins, but at this age I'm their hero and they want to be like me. Sobering. Do I really want my kids to be like me? I want them to be better, but regardless of what I want they're going to turn out like I raise them. You get what you get, because you're doing what you're doing.
That is why it's so important that we pay attention to the things that we bring in our homes. We can't just watch whatever is on TV. Every Cartoon Network show isn't acceptable. Videogames can affect our kids in bad ways. The movies we see do matter. The music we listen to (And sing) makes a huge impact.
Think about it, if Quentin goes around all day singing the firework song he is essentially meditating on a Katy Perry song. Is that what I want? No. We want him singing songs about God. We want him talking about Jesus. We want him to be speaking scripture. And if we want that, we have to be intentional about the things we bring into our home.
Am I saying that you shouldn't watch Madagascar? No. I'm just saying be aware, and bring things into your home intentionally because your kids are watching... literally.
Buy some good Christian records off iTunes or turn on the Christian radio station. Get some good stuff in their heads. Sing songs based on Scripture. Those are the things they're going to be repeating and talking about as the lie down and when they wake up. Those are the things that will be posted on their Facebook walls and written in pen on their hands.