Our Story Begins:
Taking the Advice of Your Kids
How often do you listen to what your kids tell you to do?
I don’t mean “we need to buy this movie” or “we should go to Disneyland” or any of the other myriad of things kids wish would happen.
Before I explain why, let me tell you what led to this exposition. A few weeks ago I posted about how I had to start practicing what I preached. It wasn’t easy to have my own words thrown back at me by a 19-year-old girl. It’s far too hard to argue with your own advice.
I also came to another realization in the weeks since then.
These little people, the children in my household, are keen observers of my life. We think that as parents we can hide our feelings or fright or grief from them. The reality is, though, they’re far more attuned to what we’re going through than we are at times. When my day is rough my kids will ask “how was work?” and then listen intently.
“You look pretty tired,” is usually their response.
So I took my own advice to heart after talking with my daughter . . . and I started to finish writing and recording raw demos of songs I’ve written. I just need to finish two more songs and I’m pretty much there.
I haven’t been full-bore, volume at eleven, fingers raw playing in a studio in more than a decade. It’s pretty scary. Scarier still is the idea that I constantly re-think and re-think my lyrics and material. Add to that finding a bass player and drummer and rehearse before going in and I start to feel overwhelmed.
A funny thing happened, though. The television turned off in the living room. The video games were put away. I would stand, eyes closed, headphones on, the amplifier screaming for mercy. I’d finish, open my eyes, and three kids would be on the floor in the room watching.
“You need something?” I’d ask.
“Nope. We just wanted to hear what you were working on tonight,” they’d say, smiling.
One night one of my sons hollered down after a particularly brutal take: “Is that your song Dad, or is it someone else’s?”
“Cooool! I like that one, sounds like a song on the radio!”
They ask every night if I am going to record. They ask to hear the multiple tracks with a “click” track keeping time, even though they know there’s no bass and no drums.
“Did that song just change from 3/4 to 4/4 time?!” my daughter asks incredulously?!
Best of all compliments I heard them singing the song I just completed last night all morning on the way to school.
As I was dropping them off to school my son asked me “when you go into the studio, could we come one day and watch?”
What can you say? No?! Of course I agreed.
“I still have to get a Kickstarter campaign and hopefully get the money to record and mix and master,” I told him.
“But you’ll do that, right?”
“Yes, I’m almost there.”
My point is this: my energy level, enthusiasm, and nervousness to get this moving is infectious, it seems. My sons know I crave music, more than just listen to it. It’s part of our lives. So without realizing they were doing it . . . I was pushing myself knowing their expectation was that I was going to follow through. I was thriving and concentrating and loving every minute of it.
My kids were far more aware of what good this was doing for me than even I was.
That was the lesson . . . sometimes we get as much from our kids as our kids get from us.
What about you? Do you hear the advice and lessons of your kids?