RESPECT – I want my life to show that you’re important to me!
There’s a new project a brewing that involves writing a song each month that corresponds to the core virtue as outlined in the curriculum we’re using for KidJam at SSCC – our church. Kidjam is the program for 1st through 5th graders.
I have loved this songwriting project – it is extremely stretching. Not only are we having to write on an elementary school level but in order to be able to write a simple lyric I have to understand all that I can about the virtue. Some other criteria for the songs are :
1) Easily singable for a 1st through 5th grader
2) Understandable for a 1st through 5th grader
3) Upbeat and able to be acted out
4) Keyed in a range that kids can easily sing
5) CATCHY CATCHY CATCHY… melodies that grow on your like mold… can’t shake’em whether you like it or not.
These are standards I have put in place as guidelines for writing the virtue song each month. I also pulled some knowledge from my good ‘ole teaching degree and five years of teaching kindergarten.
I am also learning to write and rewrite according to critiques. For example our first draft of RESPECT 2010 was sent to the reviewers and the verses were vetoed – they thought the Bible story we were illustrating was over an elementary level of understanding. So we rewrote it and made it even better!
One of our main missions with all our ministry endeavors is to empower and equip others in their worship… with that in mind it was a true gift to be able to bring in several 6th graders for a “gang vocal” session. I was overjoyed to see how exciting the experience was for them.
The Kid Jam folks did choose to use our song this month to illustrate respect. The first week Shannon and I taught it with live instruments – it went pretty well. However I realized it would probably catch on better with some simple choreography. The KidJam songs are usually done with a team of people dancing and singing and encouraging the children to join in. Since the normal choreographer was out of town and unable to work out the song I was asked to present the song and come up with the choreography – frightening but incredibly fulfilling at the same time constructing motions for a song I WROTE! I ended up getting together with another girl and coming up with simple moves for the song. I led it Sunday over the track with the headset mic… we had a team of four girls and I have to say it was incredible watching those kids get into the song. They were singing and emulating our motions. I quickly learned to tone down my aerobic movement so I could still sing!
This month’s song about passed the test with my two and four year old. Granted they heard some serious repetition while this song was being mixed but they genuinely seem to understand the character trait. We seem to talk about showing respect almost daily. They will quickly sing “R.E.S.P.E.C.T. I want my life to show that your important to me!” when we are dealing with disrespect. Kenimer has explained to me that if he interrupts when Tucker is talking then Tucker thinks he is not important to Kenimer – it is absolutely precious to hear him verbalize this stuff. Needless to say I have spent hours learning and reading about all avenues of respect. I am amazed at how greatly I have been enriched. There have also been times when I have responded to Shannon rudely and the lyric runs through my head “I want my life to show that your important to me“.
At the moment I am deep in study about next month’s virtue – Initiative. I am learning all about how to instill an enterprising spirit in our little ones… and then I spend a few moments examining my own heart and asking the Lord to give me courage to take initiative.
Stay tuned for more virtue songs- take a listen to Respect