Her voice lilted through house on a quiet rainy afternoon. I love to hear her sing, especially when she cranks up her kids’ praise-and-worship CDs and belts out the songs from her bedroom.
Today she sang a new song. But as I began to pick out the words to her tune, my smile faded.
“I like money, to buy things at the store. Money, money, money, I always want more.”
“Where did you learn that, honey?” I asked.
“At school. We’re learning about money,” she explained. When she sang the rest of the words, I heard her sing the value of coins – quarter, dime, nickel, penny.
My skin stopped crawling, for the moment.
Later that afternoon, I found the paper.
She explained, “I had to go to the writing center today. And you aren’t allowed to draw there, so I wrote the words to the song.”
I am happy to see her writing, delighted to watch her learn mathematical skills like the value of coins, and love to hear her sing.
But who thought it was a good idea to write a song about coin value that praises the lust for more and more money?
Those words are cemented in her brain now. All the pictures and stories we’ve shared to show the kids just how wealthy we are in the United States, how fortunate we are to have carpet and mattresses, windows and waterproof ceiling, refrigerator and indoor plumbing, and thus how thankful and generous we should be…. all that could be undone by the lyrics of a little song.
Am I being too dramatic? I don’t think so.
As my husband said, “Inclination is inborn, but dogma is learned.”
We’re born with an insatiable desire for more. We are naturally ungrateful, discontent, and selfish. It takes work, self-discipline, and God’s help to overcome this nature of ours, to see the needs of others and be willing to set aside the things we want to help someone else.
A catchy tune lauding the hording of money for oneself is not morally neutral. It teaches greed and fuels discontent.
I am trying to compose alternate lyrics for the song to share with her teacher. Perhaps we can teach generosity in song, instead.
“I like money, I like giving to the poor. We’ve been blessed with money so we can give more.”
How would you rewrite the song? Do you think I’m over-reacting?