Those special moments, where love is felt through every pore, is enough to melt even the hardest heart – my guest, Daryl Francis shares such a story. Thanks, Daryl!
A few days ago, Alicia Wood wrote an article in The Age, one of our major papers here in Victoria, titled, Sing me a song, mum, in the key of love.
Having worked in early childhood education for decades with a keen interest in music and now, being a grandparent, the title really caught my attention.
Alicia reports on the findings of a study done at the University of Western Sydney’s Baby Lab research centre where Alison Liew Creighton, a PhD student has been investigating how singing affects a mother and her child. One of the findings of the study is that “Babies do not care what their mothers sing or how bad their voices are – as long as they do it with feeling.” One of the mums involved in the study said that it didn’t matter whether she was singing a well known song, or a recipe! It was the feeling and engagement with the child that was important. Seems an unhappy child will respond positively to a peaceful song.
Mums are benefited by this form of engagement with the child as well. It brings peace and healing to both mother and child. Alison Creighton reports: ”It really struck me that singing not only contributes to a child’s happiness but also to the mother’s well-being.”
Songs enable us to convey the sense of being loved to another, and being able to express love – even when we mightn’t feel like it initially (like at 4 am when your toddler simply won’t go to sleep for the 12th night in a row!)- just taking the first step and “singing a song, in the key of love” appears to let the love loose and it does the healing work.
The thing is, it’s love itself that neutralizes the discord. We just have to give ourselves permission to be loving right where the tantrums are and the yelling and screaming of parent and child are.
My experience has been that this approach works well with teenagers, young and not so young adults as well. The “song” might not be a lullaby or a recipe, but we can let others in our lives know that they are loved. It is a wonderfully effective healing agent.
It’s not applied psychology, rocket science or medical intervention. It’s just plain love being reflected in love.
Many years ago I had a 13 year old boy in my home class – we were together most of the day. This young man was rude (an understatement to be sure!), used words I hadn’t even come across to my face, and others, was prone to throwing furniture around the classroom on his challenging days. Having to duck full sized chairs on occasion was not the greatest way to spend one’s day. I – and other staff members – had tried every trick in the book – behaviour modification schemes, punishments, rewards, disciplinary procedures – you name it, we tried it. We were ready to suggest medical intervention.
I learned that this young man had been up to activities after school which, if he persisted with them, would land him in a juvenile detention centre in very short order.
After a trying afternoon, I asked him to stay back a few minutes so I could talk to him. I was so exhausted by the battles with him that I just couldn’t “tell him off” any more. He sat there sullenly, expecting another lecture. We said nothing for few minutes. Then I told him that I was aware of his after school activities and quietly said that I didn’t want to see him get into strife with the children’s court – and that I really did care about him, even though we always seemed to be at war.
Nothing was said for a few minutes more – and then he started sobbing. Seems that no-one had ever told him they cared about what happened to him before. Then his lack of home life poured out. We were both in tears.
Needless to say behaviour at school improved enormously after this. The following year, I was teaching classroom music across the whole school, and this young man used to come by on his study afternoons off high school to help out in the my class music lessons. He just loved working with the “little kids”.
Sing me a song, mum, in the key of love.
It’s not rocket science! Daryl Francis.