Part One: Children Matter
Picture a messy house, the rambunctious pitter patter of feet, dirty little faces, laughter, tears, and lots of hugs. It's the life of a mother with her little ones. Sometimes it is hard to see beyond the present. But as a homeschooling mom transitioning into Classical education many years ago, the following quote was transformative in the way I viewed my children: "Pray that you will see your children as God sees them- they are "royalty" worth dying for....they are not being raised to be average- they are being raised to lead as servant-kings!" (taken from the Classical Conversations Foundations Guide, 5th Edition).
It is true that our children are royalty and that they deserve the best. They are royalty because they are the sons and daughters of the One True King. They deserve the best because Scripture tells us in Psalm 127 that "Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward." The great Zoltan Kodály stated, "Let us take our children seriously! Everything else follows from this... only the best is good enough for a child." If our children are royalty, why would we not want the best for them when it comes to music instruction, knowing that music is a discipline that can affect the very heart and soul of a human being?
I had the privilege of learning under the seasoned and nationally esteemed Kodály music educator, Lamar Robertson, last summer at the Chenaniah Summer Music Institute in Moscow, Idaho. What is refreshing about his approach is that it really comes down to one thing: love the child. His approach is nurturing, loving, and joyful. The child is gaining musicianship in the Kodály approach, more so than in any other methodology for children. But more importantly, that child is a viewed as a human being made in the image of God! Love the child. Teach the child. Encourage the child!
Unfortunately we live in a society that doesn't value the child as a person. Women are encouraged to abort their children because they are seen as an inconvenience, children are neglected by their parents, and education has been replaced with test scores. However, when children are cherished, there is joy. When a teacher encourages and nurtures the child, the student thrives. Do we not want our children to reach their full potential to do what God has called them to do? Do we not want to give our children the best?
One of my greatest joys as a homeschool mom (who also happens to teach my child's music class), is to hear the sweet voices of my daughters singing the simple folk songs they have learned and playing the wholesome games with their friends. And the laughter and squeals of joy from my students is a priceless gem. Watching the children bud into musicians is so rewarding, as the concepts are internalized. We need to surround our children with simple beauties. Our children are worth ensuring that the music instruction they receive is of a high quality, and that it is taught from a worldview that leads them to the Truth.