Raising a Rocker July 12, 2008Posted by Matt in music, Rachel.
Tags: kids, Kiss, music, rock
Friday night Diana was out of town, so, after finishing my work day, I picked the girls up and took them for an evening meal at the restaurant of their choice, Pizza Hut. Now, this was the first time I’d eaten at a Pizza Hut in some time, so I was a bit taken aback by the pools of grease on each deep dish slice, but, anyway, it went well and we were soon heading back to the house.
On the trip home, I was in the mood for some mellow tunes, so I surfed my Ipod over to some Josh Ritter an settled back in the driver’s seat for the jaunt across town. My five year old daughter, Rachel, was not in the same music mood as I was.
Rachel: Daddy, what’s this stuff?
Me: It’s Josh Ritter, honey. Isn’t this nice and soothing.
Rachel: But, Daddy, I want to rock!
With a quick smile at her, I began scanning through my 5,000 song Ipod collection, until I came upon an album that I had not listened to in some time, but which had been a staple over the summer following my senior year of high school – the Dazed and Confused soundtrack. A quick look through the songs on that album gave me one of the easiest and perhaps most obvious choices – Kiss’s “Rock and Roll All Night.”
Soon Peter Criss’s opening drum beat boomed through the car speakers, followed by Ace Frehely’s most well-known guitar lick and the girls were dancing (as well as they could while strapped in car booter seats) right along with it.
Rachel: Yeah! That’s what I’m talkin’ about, baby!
Sometimes kids say the darndest things.
Ten For Tuesday – Rachel and Bekah’s Mix Tape May 13, 2008Posted by Matt in music, Rachel, Rebekah, top ten.
Tags: Avett Brothers, Bob Marley, Bon Jovi, Duran Duran, Europe, Johnny Cash, Journey, music, Nickelback, Queen, top ten, White Stripes
Music is a big deal in our family, but Diana and I tend to be on different ends of the spectrum when it relates to what we enjoy listening to. To put it in perspective, when we got married ten years ago, we each contributed a few hundred CDs to our combined collection with almost no duplicates.
So, when we had children they were exposed to an incredibly wide variety of musical genres and artists, from which they have chosen certain songs that they especially enjoy. I must admit that they tend to take more pleasure in Diana’s music than mine, but there is still a good mix of both.
For today’s top ten list, I thought we could construct a mix tape for our girls consisting of some of the songs that they enjoy from each of our collections. These songs are all “adult,” meaning that I’m not including any nursery rhymes or those vocalized by singing vegetables.
10. Duran Duran – (Reach Up for the) Sunrise – This tune comes from their 2004 album, Astronaut, which Diana had around the time Rachel was born. It has a catchy chorus and even when Rachel was a baby she showed some affinity for it, raising her hands in the air when the band sang, “Reach up for the sunrise…”
9. The Avett Brothers – Die Die Die – The Avett Brothers have an interesting sound, one that I’ve heard classified as “nu-grass” due to their use of a banjo. I guess it should be a bit disturbing to me, though, to hear Bekah sing “Die, Die, Die” over and over…
8. Journey – Separate Ways – Journey is Diana’s favorite band, but she tells me the girls don’t ask for this much anymore. I know, though, that Rachel loves to sing along with the chorus of this song (though she doesn’t know the words and usually makes it up as she goes).
7. White Stripes – I’m Slowly Turning Into You – I’m not sure what exactly attracts them to this song, but Rachel really loves it and asks for it almost every time she gets in my car. It’s another whose chorus she likes to sing along to.
6. Europe – Carrie – It might make me want to throw myself off the I-40 bridge, but the girls both really enjoy Europe when they are with Diana. After seeing the album cover, Rachel used to always refer to them as the “crazy hair band.”
5. Queen – We Will Rock You – Unlike most of Diana’s music, I like Queen just fine, but if I have to hear this song more than about once every few months, it’s too much. But our girls can’t be satisfied with only one play, oh no, they want to hear it over and over and over until the only “rock” you want is one to beat yourself unconscious with.
4. Bob Marley – Three Little Birds – Rachel loved this song when she was smaller and now it has turned into one of Bekah’s favorites. I’m not sure what the allure is for her – whether it is that the song mentions “little birds” or if it’s the great chorus, “Don’t worry / about a thing / ‘Cause every little thing / is gonna be alright.”
3. Nickelback – Rock Star – While she generally tries to shield the girls from the more vulgar Nickelback songs in her collection, this one has become a favorite of their’s. Rachel walks around singing the chorus to this song (without actually knowing the lyrics) on a regular basis.
2. Bon Jovi – You Give Love a Bad Name – The girls absolutely love Diana’s Bon Jovi music, especially this song with its very singable chorus. Rachel used to sing some really funny lines to this one before she learned what the actual lyrics were.
1. Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues – It seems strange that an old country song should be on this list with all of the contemporary pop and rock music, but they make me proud with their love of this one. There’s nothing quite like listening to a young girl sing about being in prison for murder…
What “adult” songs do your kids enjoy? If you don’t have children, what music would you play for them if you did?
Strange Things are Afoot… February 5, 2008Posted by Matt in beebe, Rachel.
Tags: tornado, weather
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Today is February 5, 2008, nearly at the halfway point through this season of the calendar we know of as winter. It is the time of year when windshields freeze with ice and, occasionally, a bit of snow falls, causing the general populace to panic at the onslaught of the coming ice age.
But, today something is a tad different. On this day at the beginning of the month of February, it is a balmy 75 degrees here in Memphis, Tennessee. Somewhere sun is perched in its hiding place among the clouds, not daring to peak but still heating the Mid South with a bizarre intensity. Strangely enough, we were braving frigid temperatures in the 20′s not very long ago. So, what do large temperature fluctuations and tumultuous atmospheric conditions mean to those of us living in the South?
So we cower in fear as the mighty hand of Zeus entraps us in his grip, and threatens the normalcy of our lives with his angry storms. Though we, as human beings, have learned to control much of our natural world, the awesome power of the sky still eludes our grasp.
I remember many times being ushered into our spider-infested storm cellar during particularly bad storms when I was growing up. When I was in college during the late 90′s an especially strong one devastated my hometown of Beebe, AR, leaving behind war-like devastation after just minutes.
I just received a call minutes ago from my daughter’s school, explaining to me that they would be letting out one hour early due to the bad weather (because I guess having them out of the jurisdiction of the school, rather than inside its walls of brick and mortar is preferable).
So, keep your eyes open for funnel clouds and stay safe everyone.
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow…. January 29, 2008Posted by Matt in family, kids, Rachel, Rebekah.
Tags: Bekah, haircut, Rachel, surprise
The actions of your children can elicit any number of responses, whether it be a gleeful smile, an infuriated glance, or head scratching bewilderment. Lately, two events have occurred in our family that have left us with feelings of the third type, where all you can do is smile and shake your head…
These are our girls, Rachel and Rebekah, as they looked around Christmastime.
Around three weeks ago, Rachel got off the bus at the end of her day with a little surprise….hair that was caked with chewing gum. Diana took one look at it and called the beauty salon. On that day, Rachel’s beautiful blond locks were lost.
Of course, as you can tell from the picture, she is still adorable with short hair. So, despite a bit of sadness from Diana, who had visions of little girls with long, flowing hair, we were happy with it.
This weekend, while Diana and I were out of town and my mom was staying with the girls, the next calamity struck the Wisdom household hair. When mom turned her back for just a few minutes, Rachel quickly whipped out the scissors from her art supplies.
Rachel: “Bekah, do you want to have your hair like mine?”
When mom next entered the room, Rebekah’s newly grown blonde tresses were lying in a pile on the floor. Mom called us, terribly upset at the girls’ misadventures, but I just had to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation. She took Bekah to the salon the next day to get it fixed as well as possible and the man who worked on her did a fine job, especially considering how short Rachel cut her hair in spots.
And here is how it looks from the back…
So, now we have two beautiful little girls with really short hair. Do any of you have similar hair stories?
Too Small… November 29, 2007Posted by Matt in family, kids, Rachel.
Tags: Rachel, size
Our 5 year old, Rachel, has always been small for her age – from birth on. I’m not exactly sure why she always hits the bottom of the growth chart – she’s a very healthy, vibrant little girl – but for some reason she is just very small in stature. Though she gets along and plays with other kids well, it is obvious that she is no less than a full head shorter than any of her little friends. At only 34 lbs, she is also much smaller than everone else in terms of build.
It’s never been something that bothered us, her pediatrician says that it’s nothing abnormal, and Rachel has never even seemed to notice until recently. Lately she’s confided in Diana that some kids at school make fun of her for being smaller than the others. This evening, while at a birthday party for two of her little friends, another child (who I don’t know) really hurt her feelings by telling her she was little.
I’m not sure what is the best way to handle this. We tell her that she is a very special young lady and God saw fit to make her a little smaller now, but that doesn’t help her when other kids are poking fun at her. She had been having some behavior problems at school for several weeks (which now have ceased) and I wonder if this was about her showing out as the smallest one in her class.
Do any of you have any suggestions on how to handle this? What do you tell a 5 year old girl that is a full head shorter and several pounds lighter than any other children her age? What else can you do to let her know that she is special, regardless of her size?
Church and Gender Discrimination November 28, 2007Posted by Matt in church, gender, Rachel.
Tags: church, god, questions, Rachel, spiritual gifts
A few days ago, Rachel – my inquisitive 5 year old daughter – asked me an innocent question that she had been pondering over for some time and I have struggled with in times past.
“Daddy,” she asked, “Why are only boys preachers?”
I agonize to myself at times over how to answer questions like this from my girls – mainly because my own personal views tend to not fall in line with the status quo in our church. I thought about it for a few moments, running through various scenarios in my mind, before I replied to her with my sincere belief in the knowledge that my answer would most likely be contradictory to what she will hear in the Church of Christ.
“Honey,” I said, “Some people think that God only wants that, but they are wrong. They are very wrong.”
Her question really made me think, though. What have we done to our young ladies? We teach about spiritual gifts and how God has endowed each of us with them, but then we stifle our women at every opportunity – telling them that they have no place in the spiritual edification of men.
This stems from our mode of Biblical intrepration which, in many churches, remains steeped in modernity – where everything (or at least everything that fits a certain agenda) is black or white or right or wrong, and it is time to move forward. We must not continue to only shuttle our women to teach children below the arbitrary age of accountability. We must not tell them that their spiritual gifts are only to be used if no men are within earshot. We must pull back the Pharisaical hand of oppression that we have put upon our ladies and let them know that they are important to God – that they do have a place and a purpose in His kingdom.
This is one of the main reasons why I refuse to have my daughters participate in our church’s Lads to Leaders program. I actually wrote to the head of the program in Alabama in order to inquire whether or not it was true that, if Rachel participated, I would not be allowed to watch her read a Bible verse out loud at the annual convention. I quickly received an answer dripping with condescension from the organization explaining to me in no uncertain terms that this was the case and it would never change. So, needless to say, my daughters will never be a part of this if I have anything to say about it.
I could ramble on and on about this and perhaps I will later, but for now I have to get back to work. I realize that this is mainly a rant with little substance, so maybe I will try to clarify a bit later.
Talking Theology with a Five Year Old September 17, 2007Posted by Matt in evil, Rachel, theology.
Tags: evil, human nature, Rachel, Satan
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Originally Posted 9/17/07
My daughters are very analytical children, always asking questions about everything from natural phenomena to the origins of the clothes on our backs, but this weekend one small query from her threw me for the proverbial loop.
“Daddy,” she asked with an inquisitive sort of look on her face, “Who is Satan?”
I was taken aback for a moment with the immensity of her three word query. How do you answer?
Do you take the premodern viewpoint that the devil is a celestial being constantly waging a dualistic war with God that he is doomed to eventually lose? Do you fill her with Dantean stories of eternal torture to frighten her into doing the right thing? Do you tell her of a shadowy figure, bathed in darkness and with an unquenchable yearning for death, destruction, and corrupted human souls?
In other words, do you tell them something that you believe to be in error?
My children are rather intelligent, if I do say so myself, but I don’t think she is quite ready to grasp the idea that I would espouse. I don’t think she could understand that the idea of the devil is a metaphor for a human nature that tends toward the worship of self. I think she would have trouble with the idea of the devil as an excuse for behavior that is not consistent with the way of Christ. I doubt that I could tell her about how the notion of an evil supreme being most likely came from the influence of the dualistic Zoroastrians on early Christians.
Do you tell a small child that we, all of humanity, are the devil?
Well, in order not to bruise her delicate psyche and turn her into a religious cynic like her father, I took an easy way out.
“Well, honey, some people think that Satan is a really bad thing that is against God and tries to make you do what you are not supposed to.”
This time my non-answer placated her inquiring mind without resorting to the invalidation of my own beliefs, but it won’t be long until I will be forced to give stronger explanations and at this point. Then, before you know it, the investigations will turn to ideas of sin and evil and the social constructions behind them and, once again, I will be flabbergasted and at a loss for a correct answer that will not tear down the belief structure that she has built.
Whew! Nobody every said that parenting was easy….
Day Care Dangers September 16, 2007Posted by Matt in music, Rachel, random, Rebekah.
Tags: Day care, music that sucks, Rachel
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Originally posted 9/16/07
No, this isn’t about the large red welt that has been on Bekah’s arm for much of the last week in the shape of one of her classmate’s oral cavity, this is a far more malevolent problem.
I try hard to be a good father and to raise my children up right, forsaking those things deemed to be wrong or unbecoming in their behavior, but, alas, sometimes no matter how much we impress upon them the importance and outright goodness of some things over others, they still fall prey to their peers or to the habits of adults who have them in their care. You all know I’m a huge fan of a wide variety of music and I try to influence my children with the same sense of musical diversity – with everything from Willie Nelson to the Dead to the White Stripes and several, several other groups played within the walls of our home. Rachel picked up the love of music from an early age, singing everything from Old McDonald to Disney princess songs to Folsom Prison Blues (You haven’t heard anything until you’ve heard a 3 year old sing the words, “I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die), but her transgression today will be a tough one to overcome.
This afternoon I was working in the garden and she was tagging along, asking me what various objects were and about the germination of plant seeds (in this case, collard greens),when she suddenly broke out into song. My daughter has a wonderful singing voice (not something she inherited from her father), but she regularly has a problem with knowing the correct lyrics to songs. So, she can sing a great melody, but many times she either makes up words along with the few interspersed lyrics that she might know or she’ll just vocalize the melody with several La’s and think nothing of it. Today was one of the latter and after she serenaded me with a few bars of nonintelligible lyrics, I came to realization that she was
<gasp> belting out “Before He Cheats,” by Carrie Underwood.
So, after five years of living together and countless times of sitting together listening to the best (at least in my mind) music in existence today, she’s singing that?? Are you kidding me?
Incredulously, I looked at her with eyes pleading for some acknowledgment that this wasn’t actually happening and asked, “Honey, where did you hear that?”
“At day care. We always listen to KIX 106″
At that moment a small part of me died as I realized that for several months my poor, sweet, innocent little girl had been subjected to so much poorly written garbage under the guise of country music. For a moment, I was afraid that all was lost. My 5 year venture into the realm of fatherhood had seemingly been a total and abject failure…..
But then she asked me to put on some Johnny Cash and then I realized that all was not lost.
Our Scare for the Day September 12, 2007Posted by Matt in family, Rachel.
Tags: Rachel, school
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Originally Posted 9/12/07
As those of you who know me and read this blog know, our daughter Rachel began her educational journey this year as a kindergarten student in our local public school system. So far she has been riding the bus to school from our house in the morning and departing from the public transportation vehicle at a neighbor’s house along with their children until one of us can get there to pick her up.
Well…today D had to work late, so the task fell to me to pick up the girls. I left work early today to attend to a doctor’s visit that ended up dragging on for nearly two full hours (mostly spent sitting and waiting), but by the normal time of 5:40 or so I was at the house to pick up my beloved older daughter.
When I arrived, it was obvious that something wasn’t right. The garage door was closed, there were no lights visible on the inside and there were no children outside playing. I scratched my head a bit then exited the car to try and find out exactly what was going on.
Almost as soon as I stepped on the grass, I saw a little head poke up above the railing of the front porch and heard my little girl crying “Daddy!” running down the steps and throwing herself into my arms in a fit of sobs.
It turns out that there was nobody home. Rachel got on the bus, but the neighbor children did not follow suit. She rode to their house and departed obediently just as she always does, but there was noone there to greet her. She was all alone.
She explained to me that she had been trying to sleep on the front porch swing(!), but that it was rather uncomfortable. My heart really broke, though, when she said these words,
“Daddy, my eyes hurt.”
“Why do your eyes hurt, honey? What’s wrong?”
“I was praying to God and looking at the sun and now they hurt.”
At any other time, I would post some sarcastic remark about my daughter apparently worshipping Apollo, but it really upset me to think of her all alone, wondering if anybody would ever show up to help her.
She did the right thing in the situation by staying at our neighbor’s house for the nearly 2 hours after the bus left, but we are completely dumbfounded about the fact that this happened at all. So far, the family down the street have not answered their phones this evening and, as of a few hours ago, they were not at home but, rest assured, she won’t be staying over there any longer.