I was riding in the car with my seven-year-old son on Saturday, and a great ZZ Top song came on (“Sharp Dressed Man”). I turned up the volume, and my son said, “Dad, could you turn that down?”
“Because the Spirit can’t be there when there’s loud music.”
Yikes! What is my son learning in Primary? Could it be that he is learning that all of my favorite music from the 1970s and early 1980s is “bad.” How dare those teachers impugn my music?
But the more I thought about it, the more grateful I became to these teachers (whoever they are). And here’s why: it is a good thing when your kids are exposed to different ideas that are in line with what the prophets teach.
Let’s be frank: a lot of the loud music I listened to (and still love) from my youth is simply inappropriate, especially if you listen to the lyrics. My favorite bands — Led Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd, AC/DC — sing some pretty raunchy songs. I have heard them so many times that I stop listening to the lyrics. But a lot of the songs have curse words or are clearly just extended sexual innuendoes (ahem, “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin).
So, I am glad my son is hearing this in Primary.
Now, let’s be clear: I am not saying that you personally if you like this music (like I do) should stop listening to it. I plan on still listening to all of my favorite music from the ’70s. I have a temple recommend, and I go regularly. I don’t think I am unworthy, and I don’t think you are unworthy, if you listen to this music. So, let’s please not get any overreactions about how intolerant I am, etc. One of the favorite past times of people on the Mormon blogs seems to be trolling around intolerantly castigating other people for being intolerant.
My only point is this: I am glad my son is getting exposed to another viewpoint. He certainly is going to be exposed throughout his life to plenty of loud, inappropriate music. It is inevitable. It is nice that there will be a little voice in his head saying: “don’t listen to this music — it is not really good for you.”
I predict that all of my kids will make their own decisions on what kind of music is appropriate. My teenagers listen to all kinds of music that is, frankly, absolutely disgusting. But is it that much worse than some of my favorite songs from the 1970s? Er, probably not.
So, I thank the person who exposed my son to another viewpoint. He will get plenty of people telling him the opposite view, i.e., “it is old-fashioned and ridiculous not to listen to the most modern, hip current music.” A bit of balance will help him make his own, informed decisions as he grows older.