Sunday, May 7, 2017

Why I change words in songs sometimes.....


I grew up with a mother who was an exceptional teacher. She taught children who lived in poverty in title one schools. I have so many memories of the different children and families throughout the years.

Now, there were parents who worked 3 jobs at different casinos and as cleaning maids on Sundays. Who beamed when my mom would tell them how smart and wonderful their children were. Who would send gobs of food to class parties even though they themselves couldn't be there. Who would make sure their children read at night and finished their math.

There were also parents who were in prison for gang related crimes, with aunts raising not only their own but their brother's. There were kids in the foster system who had no parents or even any sort of love shown their way at "home". School was where they could breath, where they found their peace.

In primary I've taught children with divorced parents, children who are being raised by grandparents, children in single parent homes.... and often I've seen leaders who aren't aware. Leaders who don't acknowledge their reality because it's uncomfortable or different from their own experience.

The gospel says families are forever. Husbands and wives, children will be sealed for eternity! Joy!!

And that's the truth!!!

But here on earth, that isn't the common reality.

I am a child of God
And He has sent me here
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear

We sing these songs and I echo Elder Andersen sentiments, "We will continue to teach the Lord’s pattern for families, but now with millions of members and the diversity we have in the children of the Church, we need to be even more thoughtful and sensitive. Our Church culture and vernacular are at times quite unique. The Primary children are not going to stop singing “Families Can Be Together Forever,”6 but when they sing, “I’m so glad when daddy comes home”7 or “with father and mother leading the way,”8 not all children will be singing about their own family."

And he makes the point that while we might not have our "picture perfect" family right now, we can strive for that one day. (HERE is the full talk, an excellent read!!!)

But what in the meantime?

We were in the car with an uncle of ours who was visiting from out of town. Oh how we adore him!! We sing primary songs on the way to school and my son chose "I am a Child of God". I know our uncle didn't mind us singing that song, but I noticed him get a little sad on the part "parents kind and dear". It was a good teaching moment for my children and I said,  you know, those are beautiful words but not everyone has those types of parents.

My little 5 year old suggested, why don't we just sing family kind and dear then?

And I thought that was kinda brilliant. Our uncle smiled and I shared a look with him.

I'm NOT saying change the words at church or let's start a petition to change the words in the songbook!!!

All I'm saying is that Heavenly Father has given us family, whether it be grandparents or uncles, close friends at church, good teachers.... there is kindness in the world! There is family in the world who are dear!

So if I can change a word in a song that still fits, to make another person feel less bad, then I'll do it.

I really love these words from Elder Andersen, "While a child’s earthly situation may not be ideal, a child’s spiritual DNA is perfect because one’s true identity is as a son or daughter of God."

1 comment :

Allisun Kelly said...

YES! We have had similar experiences in our Primary. Children staying in foster homes, or with grandparents, etc. They feel the loss of their parents terribly. I feel that Primary can be a place where we can show love to these little ones and it may be very important that we do so. I hope we can always be sensitive to the children in our stewardship. This is so important! Well said, Sofia!