Four Great Songs for Dispensing Parental Philosophy

weaponofchoice, Creative Commons
When you are a certified music junkie like I am, you tend to weave music in and out of life. It influences every area of your existence.

Does that mean music is part of my parental philosophy? Of course. It's one of my greatest tools. In fact, I find that music can do a lot better job of getting a point across than the Old Man lecturing, or pontificating, or rambling about the way things ought to be.

The trick is, you have to find the right songs...because like Charles Barkley, rock and roll musicians ain't meant to be role models. If you are going to use rock music, you have to make sure the artist/lyric/song fits your philosophy as a parent.

Stick around, and the ol' Parent Hood will enlighten you with some of the wisdom of rock and roll.

See also:
- Record Store Geek: Five Statements Guaranteed to Annoy Music Elitists
- Parent Hood: Rites of Manhood Ain't What They Used to Be

You're Taking Advice from Those Scruffy Characters?

Luckily for me, my lifetime of Record Store Geekdom has introduced me with a headful of music-philosophy to share with my kids... all five of the little rascals (ages 11 to 30.)

Here's how I do it.

I'll play the song, and then when the lyric comes up, I'll try to subtlety use the opportunity to explain what the songwriter was saying, and how it fits in to my views, or guesses, or clueless feelings about life.

There's an endless amount of songs I can use to make my points, but I'll start with four of my favorites (click the song title for a link to the song's lyrics):

4. Tom Waits. "New Coat of Paint" from Heart of Saturday Night

In the phenomenal intro track to Wait's Heart of Saturday Night, Tom encourages his girl to come out and have some fun. It's about having a good attitude, making the best of your surroundings, and putting a "new coat of paint on this lonesome old town."

The line I tend to focus on is this: "Fishin' for a good time starts with throwin' in your line."

I hope my kids will get off the fuckin' couch and go experience life. Put down the remote, or the joystick, take their faces out of their phones and experience the glorious moment all around them...whatever their surroundings might be.

I don't care whether they dig travel, arts, sports, science, whatever. I don't even care if they win or lose (of course, I enjoy it more when they win). As long as they get in the game and play.

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May I also suggest "Try a Little Tenderness"? 

Once saw John Lee Hooker at the Grande ballroom in Detroit on a saturday evening. He had his grandson with him and both were dressed in suits. He had a 2x4 and piece of plywood to make a small ramp into which he placed a microphone and tapped his foot on while he played. It served as his rhythm section and he didn't have to pay anyone.

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