Overheard in Starbucks:
Teenage Girl: “Yeah, my mom listens to U2. That’s how I know who they are.”
I chuckled to myself over my skinny vanilla latte, listening to this young lady converse with her friends with such authority—the kind of authority that only comes with being sixteen. This was shortly after the mini-scandal in which Apple “forced” a U2 song upon iPhone users everywhere, so I’m sure this is what the girl was referring to.
But it got me thinking about music, and parents and children, and what we pass on to our kids. And what our kids pass on to us.
I’ve written before about how some of the first music I remember listening to was music my parents loved and shared with me. My dad playing “If I Had a Hammer” on his guitar in the evenings, Mom putting on Peter, Paul and Mary’s “10 Years Together” album as we drove around town, running errands. Years later, I’d return the favor by introducing my dad to the Indigo Girls and Dar Williams.
Some music stays around for a long time. I remember having a hysterical fit in the middle of class when a 6th grader excitedly told me about the “amazing new band” she’d discovered. “They’re called Green Day, Miss!” I think my students thought there was something seriously wrong with me when I immediately doubled over laughing, before I managed to choke out the words, “Yeah…I’ve heard of them.”
Now I’m a mom, sharing music with my toddler. And the boy loves his music. Before he could walk, he was bouncing in his stroller to a beat. We’ve got him listening to all our favorites, and I think at this point he knows pretty much all the words to “Puff, the Magic Dragon.” But having a toddler has also brought new music into my life.
Our favorite new artist we’ve discovered since becoming parents is Frances England. Parents, if you haven’t heard her yet, check her out. She’s easy on the ear and although her songs are children’s songs, they have a humorous appeal for moms and dads, too. Exhibit A, “Mind of My Own”:
Cute and bouncy for kids, lyrics that make you smile for parents. It’s a win-win.
So, I hope the girl in Starbucks and her friends gave U2 a chance before they deleted them from iTunes. I like to imagine they got curious and even listened to one of Mom’s old albums. But that’s the optimist in me.
Who knows? Maybe someday those girls will be moms, and their kids will be sitting around saying things like, “Yeah, my mom likes One Direction. That’s how I know who they are.”