Thursday, March 23, 2006

Just Sing

Last night I heard Philip singing as he cleaned his room. He was singing a song we recently learned in church called “Holiness”:

“Holiness, holiness is what I long for.
Holiness is what I need!”

It was really sweet coming from the mouth of my nine- year-old.

One of the blessings of spending the day with my children is that I get to hear a lot of their songs. I come from a singing family. I don’t mean a performing family, and frankly, most people outside of our family probably wouldn’t appreciate our singing all that much. When my brother Will brought his new wife home he noted, “Becca, that’s just part of being in our family- you never know when someone is going to burst forth in song!” It’s true… you never have any warning; the song just creeps up on you and before you realize it, you’re belting out “You’re a Grand Old Flag”, “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”, or “Lord, Reign in Me”. Because we are all suckers for a good tune, it’s easy to ensnare any unsuspecting family members around you and pretty soon, everyone in the vicinity is singing along too. (Of course, this doesn’t always work out. Occasionally we tend to be territorial about our tunes and an argument might ensue: “I was singing this song first!”)

I know not all families are like this. Although John and his brothers all have beautiful voices, John does not wander throughout the day singing, and I’ve never witnessed any member of his family singing while they wash dishes or work in the yard. There must be something genetic involved. My children and I sing throughout the day; we can’t seem to help it.

I remember my mother singing to me and my brothers when I was young. Sometimes it would be the latest Carpenters hit, “Just sing… sing a song!”; sometimes it might be an oldie such as “How Much is that Doggy in the Window?” or a nonsense song like “The animal king with the big nose ring fell in love with the fair young dame…”. She would sing “You are My Sunshine”, leaving out words for us to fill in. It went like this:

“You are my… SUNSHINE!
My only… SUNSHINE!
You make me… HAPPY!
When skies are… GRAY!”

I’m sure "You Are My Sunshine" is the first song we all learned as babies. Considering the number of nonsense songs in our family’s repertoire, it definitely could have been worse.

As I grew older, my dad got in on the fun. He played a little Bluegrass guitar and occasionally, he would teach a favorite like “Fox on the Run”:

"She walks through the corn leadin’ down to the river;
her hair shone like gold in the hot mornin’ sun.
She took all the love that a poor boy could give her
and left me to die like a fox on the run.
Like a fox, like a fox, like a fox… on the run!”

Perfect for a seven year old to sing, wouldn’t you agree? But we loved it.

Now my children carry on the tradition. I have to admit, the constant drone of humming and sotto voce singing during school and housework can be irritating; sometimes I have to demand, “QUI-ET!!” But we are singers, and it isn’t too long before there’s a new song in the air. I wouldn’t have it any other way.


summer said...

oh, i understand completely! bret gets the most embarassed when i sing at the mall. i juat can't help it. shoot, half the time, i don't even know i'm doing it! anna is that way. she sings all the time. from disney songs to church songs, she's always singing. while we drive, we almost always have the music blairing (the kids and i). now they are singing with me and shouting out, "turn that one up, mommma. its my favorite!" i love that. though, i will say that teaching your kids to make a joyful noise to the lord in the car can come back to haunt you when you drop them off at choir practice and they are still in "shout" hallelujah mode!!!!!

Ryan and Lesli said...

I understand as well. My mother sang silly songs like

"Good morning to you, good morning to you, you look like a monkey & you smell like one, too."

There were others, but that is the first that comes to mind. We also sang in the car. With all of our voices, we could typically come up with 4 part harmony. Ryan...well, he doesn't really get it, but that's ok.