Singing With Children – 7 Virtues To Teach Through Song
by Jodie Mesler
I’ve narrowed down 7 meaningful virtues that you can teach your children through song and music.
At the end of this article, I’ve shared some free songs from my new children’s album so that you can follow along with the tune with your children.
It is my hope to inspire you to teach your children seven wonderful virtues that will have lifetime benefits. Simply by singing the songs and teaching them to your child, you will actually be instilling great moral character.
Appreciation for the New Day
“Today is a new day, and the birds are singing.
Singing so sweetly, it’s gonna be a good day.
It’s gonna be a good day, ’cause I am listening,
To their song so kind, everything’s gonna be fine.
Let them know you’re listening to their sweet song,
Surely you’re listening to their sweet song.”
If I have learned anything that has really helped me celebrate this wonderful life, it would be to start my day off in the feeling of appreciation. The first music I hear in the morning is the birds singing along with the sweet fragrance of a fresh new morning.
My kids are delighted on the days when I gently wake them with song. A great habit to give your children, sing to them as they wake and establish the feeling of appreciation. After singing a song, I begin naming things that I appreciate, “ it’s such a beautiful day today, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, we are going to have a great day, what beautiful flowers are in bloom today, I love spring…” Once they wake up and after breakfast, I ask them to name things that they appreciate.
2.The Wonder and Magic of Nature
“Stop what you’re doing and look outside,
There are fireflies in the summer sky.
Magic fills the air and they’re dancing everywhere,
Soon I will have one in my hand.
My heart starts glowing and my passion burns bright,
Telling me my secrets as a whisper in the night,
Soon I will have one in my hand,
My own living lantern, a star in my hand.”
Singing about the wonder and magic of nature came out of my reverence for nature as we explored many days outdoor together in our backyard, our local parks, and on our vacations. If we as parents are reverent and full of wonder, our children will absorb this reverence and awe.
Fireflies or lightning bugs, as we call them in the south, are the most magical of all the bugs. Summer evenings here in Georgia at dusk, we begin to see the lightning bugs flying around the bushes and trees. They fly at a low level and pause in mid-air as they blink their lantern, as if they are inviting us to catch them!
We are fortunate because not everybody has lightning bugs where they live. We found that out from our relatives from England as they came for a visit. When their children first saw them, they were extremely excited! They ran and ran after them and easily caught them. Consequently, every night at the moment at dusk, they couldn’t wait to catch them once more. How magical!
This summer, take some time each night at dusk as a part of your daily routine to catch them. If you are a little afraid of bugs, you can begin to relieve your fear by starting with this harmless bug, because it is so gentle and wonderful, and never bites. It is a very exciting activity for children.
Let’s Find a Ladybug
“Let’s find a ladybug, a ladybug today,
‘Cause when we find one our wish will now come true.”
My daughter sings along with this song, she was about 6-years-old. Try to sing it together with your child and share the different singing parts as you hunt for ladybugs. Finding a ladybug is easy for us, they seem to be in a lot of places. We find them near flowers and on bushes, and especially in gardens. Sometimes they are slowing flying in the air.
I think ladybugs want us to catch them, too! Before you go hunting, you can have your child make a wish. It will be fun trying to find one, sing this song and then once she finds one, you can tell her that her wish will now come true. Children’s wishes are so sweet. They have such a heart full of wonder. I have done this with my children, and it is amazing because we always seem to find one.
Understanding the Wisdom of Storytelling through Song
The Great Smoky Mountains
“We went hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains.
We took the trail marked Alum Cave Bluff.
We crossed the footbridge over the river,
The water we saw rushed loud and fast.
We climbed up the arch made out of stone.
The cool smooth stone was etched with steps.
The trail went higher and higher,
We came to a point, saw other mountains,
We stopped for a while to enjoy the view,
A squirrel come up and we shared our food.
At the top, at last, we saw the big bluff,
It was ninety feet high hanging over our heads,
We made it to the top and we felt so fine.
It was one of the best times of our lives.
That’s our story of the Great Smoky Mountains.
We’re gonna go again to the Great Smoky Mountains.”
About a week after we came back, I wrote this song and my kids all sang along as I imitated their singing on my pennywhistle. It tells our story and when we listen to it, we can go right back to that moment in time so clearly. I’m sure you have heard a song during a moment in time, and when you hear it years later, it takes you right back to that moment. I love how music does that.
We have so many songs that tell stories. I love teaching children folk songs because it gives us a story of how it was like to live years ago. We have so many great songs from years ago to help us learn about our heritage. I have used so many of them to teach my children about history.
Pick out some children’s folk songs that fit your family. You can tie so many songs into your homeschooling to really make their lessons come alive. I highly recommend the book, American Folk Songs for Children by Ruth Crawford Seeger. Her two kids, once grown made a CD of her work, Mike Seeger and Peggy Seeger. Pete Seeger, the famous folk singer, was her stepson.
Respect for Life
“When bees come out, life is sweet,
When bees come out, the sun must shine,
When bees come out, there’s harmony.
When bees come out, we build community, When bees come out.
We’re filled with joy, we’re filled with life,
We’re filled with love, we’re filled with light,
And together we unite.”
Many children that I see are scared of bees. They either run from bees or swat at bees. Children can be taught the beauty and importance of bees. I taught my kids to be at ease around bees and I tell them, they won’t sting you if you become aware of the them around you. Respect them and they will not harm you. Our favorite bee is the bumblebee. When my son was six, he actually caught a bumblebee and carried it around with him on his finger, I was amazed with his bravery, as he did not have any fear. The bee never stung him. Bumblebees are fuzzy and curious. They like to come up to us and look at us and then quickly fly away!
There are so many other great things about bees. One great thing you can teach your child about bees is respect for life. Without bees, we wouldn’t have food. Also, it is true, “when bees come out, we build community, and together we unite.” You only see bees when the sun is shining and it is warm. When the sun is shining, people come out of their houses and we come together again as a community. What a beautiful way to see the significance of bees.
Awe of the Universe
The Mighty Ocean
“The great big mighty ocean,
Powerful and strong,
Making ocean breezes,
Sing and dance their summer song.
Together sing the seagulls and his waves he crashes down.
Happy in the sunshine,
Happy in the water,
Happy in the sand,
Happy in the breezes.”
Instilling awe of the universe is at the heart of our teaching. We know that our beautiful earth that we live on is filled with awe. We are just a tiny intricate part of the entire universe. The ocean is a magnificent place to teach this because it is so grand and vast.
It is also a good time to recognize all 4 elements of nature integrated in one place: earth, air, fire, and water. How refreshing we all feel after basking in the sun, playing in the sand, swimming in the water, and feeling and breathing in the ocean winds.
Reptiles and Crocodiles
“Reptiles and crocodiles,
Way back then they didn’t smile.
Turtles, snakes, and lizards, too,
You’d see them so sad and blue.
The sun rose up and he did shine,
He shined down on them, said one time,
“Listen, you can live in the water and the land,
You got the whole world at your demand.
You are old and you are grand, You have the wisdom to understand.”
Now a days I see them smile,
Those reptiles and crocodiles,
A great big smile all the time,
Those reptiles and crocodiles.”
Reverence is also at the heart of our education. If you are on this similar Waldorf inspired journey, then you recognize that there is something greater than what is with us. My family is of the Christian faith, and we give reverence to God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Reptiles are fascinating creatures. They have been around so long and they can live on the water or the land. There is so much wonder to instill about them as well.
Understanding the Beauty of Waldorf
“We gather together to share with one another.
All around us, surrounds us, with love and harmony,
We give life we give love for all living things.
With reverence, with respect, with responsibility.
In the living, in the living extraordinary wondrous human being.
Recognizing and uniting the mind, body and spirit.
Our life is a joyful creation and our life is a joyful celebration.
In the living, in the living, in the living heart of the human being.”
Waldorf education has provided us with a great journey of nature walks, free play, lots of time in nature, playing with natural toys, living our life in a natural rhythm celebrating each season with reverence to nature and to God as we celebrated our holidays and festivals.
We spent most our time investing in the arts- painting, drawing, music, singing and literature that included morals, puppet shows, poems, movement and games. We found a great community to share our life with along our journey.
What a blessed and magical childhood and motherhood adventure. I hope that you will be inspired with my songs to have the most magical and meaningful adventure with your children, too!
Here are some songs from my new album for children, called Sweet Songs.
Jodie Mesler is the creator of Living Music From the Heart: Music Curriculum, which is a homeschooling kit for moms to teach her child music using the pennywhistle. She has been a conference speaker for Waldorf Essentials, The Waldorf Connection and The Parenting Passageway. This August, she will be a presenter for the 10th annual Taproot Teacher Training conference in Ohio with Jean Miller and Barbara Dewey. It is her passion to help inspire parents to bring families together to create music during special festivals, holidays and seasons.
Follow Jodie on her website, Home Music Making.
Visit the Discovering Waldorf Education series if you are looking for other fabulous Waldorf articles.
Blessings and magic,