How do I nurture artistic success in my child?
First, you must commit yourself whole-heartedly to the raising of a godly child. You must make it your aim to equip your child with the stability of the two-legged stance: 1) to know her God, 2) to develop a toolbox of highly skilled artistic voices to tell what she knows. Thus a messenger of God is born.
The enemy isn’t threatened by a new generation that knows God and is steeped in Biblical truth but cannot effectively tell what they know. And he happily occupies the musical text of a new generation that can speak, sing, or play a musical instrument with jaw-dropping pizzazz, as long as their message is contrary to the truth of God.
How do I begin?
Upon your baby’s birth, you must breast-feed for an extended period of time, to build the strongest possible bonds of love and good health and to maximize the natural timeline of speech and language development. The first three years are crucial.
You must teach your child to pray as soon as he can speak. Prayer is the greatest word-processing curriculum available to mankind. It activates the Father’s destiny in a child’s life while waging warfare against the powers of darkness in the heavenly realm.
You must also seize the formative educational years and practice Deuteronomy 6:5-8.
—You must talk about the Father constantly, teaching the Scriptures and the story of Salvation.
—You must impart to your child a keen understanding of her own personal legacy as designed by her heavenly Father. You must let her know that He has written the book of her life and has prepared good works in advance for her to do.
—Tell your child that God will never leave her or forsake her, and that her life will be abundant and joyful if she will obey God’s will. Repeatedly point out to your child that her perfect destiny originates with God, that God’s ways are light and life. Become a conduit for the Lord, equipping your child for that destiny, praying, listening, watching, providing all the necessary resources.
—When your child receives the salvation of Jesus, her experience will become a first-person, eye-witness account of who God is and what He has done in her life. Then her testimony cannot be shaken because she has experienced it personally. It will be your child’s strength when doubters attack or persecution arises. Remember: “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.“
That’s a big assignment.
Yes. But it grows wings as you proceed. As you draw closer to the Heavenly Father, you and your child will also draw closer to each other. Your relationship will flourish: a life-long bond.
Okay, so we’re bonding, praying, studying, talking about the things of God. Then what?
Then you must sing with your child!
That’s right. You and your child must sing new songs, composed from the Father’s transformation unfolding in your lives. ‘This is my Story. This is my Song.’ That’s what one of our finest saints wrote, and it’s true: story and song become one. Furthermore, the songs children learn to sing in the first twelve years of life are tucked away in the deepest stores of memory, even protected from such ravages as stroke or Alzheimer’s disease.
You must begin music lessons.
Me? Do you mean me, take music lessons?
You and your child, together. All children should take music lessons, regardless of their talent or anticipated line of work. And because they are children, you’ll need to be involved to guide them. Remember, the cultivating of musical skill is not about becoming a “star,” or a professional musician, it’s about being a fluent messenger of God. Furthermore, music maximizes the brain, preparing it for every other educational endeavor.
But I can’t play an instrument or sing.
You can learn enough to guide your child. They are the player, you are the coach.
When should we start?
If you are praying and singing, you have already begun. Add to those scriptural mandates formal lessons on a chosen instrument during the “window of opportunity” – 3-12 years old. This will build and network your child’s brain, increasing her capacity to learn in every area. It will maximize communication skills, verbally, vocally, and instrumentally. Now your child’s artistic toolbox is beginning to fill up. She will have four powerful voices with which to glorify God: speaking (preaching, teaching, debate, rhetoric), singing (forget being a star — the scriptures admonish us to sing everywhere, even in bed), playing, and composing.
Good idea. What do I do first to get the lessons going?
Choose an instrument.
Okay. And then?
Find a good teacher, one who understands the divine responsibility of her task and how the parent fits into the picture. Then you must… Practice.
Uh-oh. Hold it right there. Nobody likes to practice. You mean I have to spend years of adulthood practicing music?
That’s exactly what I mean. Practice sessions are a wonderful opportunity to communicate love and caring. It’s important, so focus. Being able to focus your mind is a fundamental requirement of discipleship and the study of music is an extraordinary discipline. Additionally, the mental exercise will keep you sharp as a tack with a limber brain and nimble fingers, the youthful envy of your aging friends.
All right. What else?
Create a coalition. One of the reasons students don’t want to practice is because they are lonely. Music bonds people, much like breastfeeding bonds mother and child. It is meant to be shared. You must bring together a coalition of supporters and fellow musicians to undergird and encourage the process. It’s a noble job.
What about later years?
Counselor: As your child’s skill grows, find opportunities for her to share her music. With performing experience, she will become a confident communicator. Because she “plays skillfully,” her performances will be beautiful and winsome. Other children who see it will ask to begin lessons so they can play like that. Parents will ask how to do what you have done. Furthermore, their hearts will be drawn to the beauty of the relationship you and your child share.
They will thirst for what you have. It is the essence of evangelism. As you point them to God, the Heavenly Kingdom is advanced and His praise is made glorious.
And that’s the whole point.
Yes, that’s the whole point. But there’s one more thing . . .
Mankind is not equipped to shoulder the kavod, the “weight” of glory.
What do you mean?
As your child becomes skilled and polished, she must remember to abide in the Father as the source of life or her art will become self-centered, making her unhappy and unbalanced. Remember the two-legged stance? A popular artist might play before millions of screaming fans. She may begin to suppose herself worthy of such exaltation. But she is not. Only the Father is worthy because He is our Creator. (Rev. 4:11) No one on Earth is a creator, really. Mankind is only a sub-creator. We paint a sunset. The Father creates a sunset. We sew a doll. The Father creates a baby. We compose a song. The Father created music. Our goal is to let our light shine so that mankind will see our good works and glorify the Father. In that process, we become a partaker of His glory, and therein find contentment and the fullness of joy.