Monday, January 20, 2014

We Teach...

Last week I got an excited call from a DCF supervisor.  Such and such foundation had donated tickets to a concert at the casino and would R like to go to this "once in a lifetime" opportunity?

Who is doing the concert?
No, JVeeee.
No, JC.
No Jay Zee.
Oh, Jay Zee?
Oh....never heard of him.

I could tell by the way Shaun was snickering in the background that I probably should have heard of him.  He said he pictured the guy falling off his chair when I said "never heard of him".

I hung up the phone with a promise to get back to him by day's end.  By this time, Shaun had already pulled up Google and was going through some of the lyrics of Jay-Z.  With each line I read, my blood starting boiling just a little hotter.

Its fitting, I think, to post the response I sent here today, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King.

Dear Mr. Supervisor,

When you called about the concert at Mohegan Sun to see Jay Z, I was not familiar with who he is.  So, I did a little research and looked up some of the lyrics to his songs.  Here's just a small sampling of what I found:

(Insert line after line of things I could never write here on my blog...look it up when there are not kids reading over your shoulder)

These are NOT the morals and values we are working so hard to teach Ray, both in the things we say and, more importantly (because kids are always watching) , in the way we live out our daily lives.

We teach respect of people of any race or background, respect for women and how to treat a lady.  We teach respect and appreciation for law enforcement.  We teach that money does not equal power nor does it equal success.  We teach that drugs are harmful in every way possible.  We teach not to curse.

We teach R to work hard and that a good education is important.  We teach him that a real man will wait for love and then later stay with his family.  We teach him to have compassion on the poor and orphans and widows.  We teach him the importance of manners and common courtesies, the power of the tongue for good or evil, to be faithful in the little things, to live by your commitments and not by your feelings, to offer grace and forgiveness.

The random sampling of Jay Z songs I looked up have lyrics that are in direct contradiction of what we are teaching R in our home.

We have taken R to two concerts in the last two months, TobyMac and Chris Tomlin.  
Here are some lyrics from their songs:

Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted;
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope,
You speak love, you speak...
You speak Life

Raise your thoughts a little higher,
Use your words to inspire,
Joy will fall like rain,
When you speak life with the things you say.

I set my eyes to the west, walkin' away from it all
Reachin' for what lies ahead, I got my eye on it
I see my sweat hit the ground
I put my foot in the block
This is the race of my life
And I can't wait for this shot

So its two separate ways
Or am I too late to say “I wanna fight for what we got
Cause I believe in family”

We lose our way,
We get back up again
It's never too late to get back up again,
One day you will shine again,
You may be knocked down,
But not out forever

If you're looking to slide, come slide with us
And if you're looking for a ride, it's a big old bus
We got black folk, white folk and Middle East
Mexican, Filipino - Jesus Freaks
Got a Haitian Princess, an Aussie Mate
East Coast, Midwest to left side of the states

I want to live like there's no tomorrow
I want to dance like no one's around
I want to sing like nobody's listening
Before I lay my body down
I want to give like I have plenty
I want to love like I'm not afraid
I want to be the man I was meant to be
I want to be the way I was made

The battle rages on
As storm and tempest roar
We cannot win this fight
Inside our rebel hearts
We're laying down our weapons now

I don't believe a song is "just a song" or a movie is "just a movie" or a book is "just a book.  I believe we are what we think and what we think comes from what we put into our hearts and our minds.  As parents, we are the gatekeepers of our children's hearts and need to be diligent about what is let in.

Quite honestly, it is appalling to me that someone would pay to go listen to the messages that Jay Z is sharing...themes that degrade women, glorify promiscuous sex, condone drug use and carrying a weapon and show disrespect to those in authority and those of other races.

It also saddens me that a foundation would consider it "money well spent" to provide Jay Z concert tickets to any child, and particularly to at-risk kids.

These are the things we want R to get excited about: .  (Insert news article about how R is one of nine kids from his high school who are taking a class at a state university, earning both college and high school credit). Or that last week at a track meet his achieved 8 ft. in the Pole Vaulting event, a personal record for him.

We respectfully decline the Jay Z concert ticket.

Tomorrow night, instead I will bring R to a boys program he attends weekly.  This group routinely goes on hikes, camp outs, does service projects for elderly and others in need, goes canoeing, etc.


Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ~MLK


lily said...

Way to go sister! You preached it!!! In a gentle, yet firm way. Good job using that phone call to share God's truth! XO

sara said...

This made me smile this morning. You go girl!!!

did you get a response?

Meg A. said...

Jaw...on...the...floor!!!!!! They wanted him to go to a Jay-Z concert?!? I can't even wrap my head around this. And these are the people making decisions pertaining to the welfare of children! Speechless. LOVED your email and can't wait to see their reply! Great job!

The Bug said...

Well said!! I'd like to know what response you got back too...

Amy Joy said...

GO! VERY well-said. Thanks for taking a stand!

LuAnn said...


Ashley Beth said...

Excellent, excellent. I can't think of a more appropriate response than what you put forth. R is so blessed to have your family in his life, no matter how long. I know God will not waste this time you've got together.

Interestingly, an acquaintance of mine recently wrote a blog post claiming that she believes we can worship God while jamming out to Jay Z and that God doesn't care about the style of music we worship Him with. That's obviously simply not true and I'm sure the Snake enjoys an opportunity to deceive in many, many ways through music that is not glorifying to God in any way.

Excellent discernment in choosing not to go to that concert.