Thursday, April 17, 2008

I only partly agree with this song...

In case you don't know, this is Hannah Montana (otherwise known as Miley Cyrus). [The photo is from this Flickr link.] My kids love her music and tv show and they enjoy dancing and singing to Wii game they have of her concert tour, as well as her cd's.
I have to admit, I think she's cute and her show is funny and entertaining. I don't mean to tear her down or judge her in any way...but I have been thinking about the truth to some of her songs and wondering what other people think about the words- if you really stop to dissect them a little bit.
One of the songs my kids listen to quite a bit is "Life's what you make it" {follow this link to read all the lyrics}. It's a fun, upbeat song that basically says, "Life's what you make it, so let's make it rock...". Most of what it says seems believeable and true and good- life's a choice and attitude is what makes the difference in how things are in your world.
I have to agree that attitude DOES make a big difference in how life can seem on any given day, and it DOES play a big role in many instances. I've been a big believer and even sort of adopted a similar life motto which is sort of 2-parts:
one being that "you can't always control your circumstances, but you CAN always choose how to respond to them" and the other is "sometimes you have to create your own joy". I'm not trying to get all nit-picky here, but I just especially wonder about this section of the song which says:
"Things are looking up anytime you want,
All you gotta do is realize that it's under your control,
so let the good times rock and roll...".
Like I said...maybe I am just opening a big can of worms here and who knows what sort of comments some of you may feel compelled to leave in response, but those words just don't sit well with me. I have lived through enough situations that 'aren't under my control' and I've sat in pits of darkness where I've wondered if 'good times' even existed anymore.
Maybe some of you are in them right now.
I think of people who are told, "You have cancer and there's nothing more we can do for you" or others who have spouses come home one day and say, "I don't want to be married to you anymore...I've found someone else"; some people struggle with weight or depression or infertility or addictions that consume them for years. Still others live through years of physical/emotional and mental abuse, or rape by family members of friends. What about those life situations? Or how about the Smith family who recently, for no seemingly obvious reason, had a beautiful baby girl be born and die on the same day- it was "out of their control".

I realize that Hannah Montana is just singing and having fun, but I also know that words can really speak to our hearts and souls and especially through repetition, they can shape our beliefs- even at an early age. I find that I don't want my kids to have to 'struggle' in life with major issues, simply because they have come to believe something is 'true' when in fact, it's that they have misinterpreted things or been mislead.
Truth is sometimes hard to find in this world in which we live. And I certainly am not claiming to know it all or even have all the right answers. That is why more and more in my own life I feel I have to really look and listen intently to messages that come at me- even if it's something as small as a song on a Hannah Montana cd.
I have no doubt that some things in life really can be controlled by a change in attitude or by taking a step back and looking at a situation as it is and thus making the most of that. But in other circumstances- those that are big and deeply affect people, often through things beyond their control {as in the things I previously mentioned, or even natural disasters...}- and for me, the only way to get beyond the hurt and devastation is NOT through myself, but by something bigger than me. Which as many of you know by now, is my faith and belief in God and His authority over everything- seen and unseen.
Maybe this is a bit deep and complex, but it's been on my heart and I just want to make certain that if someone is going through a life trial, that they know it's not necessarily about them. But more importantly that there is a God who cares so much and has infinite power and strength and love and healing to make this situation 'right' again. Maybe it will take time- years even- and maybe it won't even happen this side of eternity. I just know that God can be trusted to make things new and to bring about change in lives and hearts- even when it seems impossible to us. I truly believe that it's in surrendering to our circumstances and in admitting that a situation is too overwhelming for us on our own, that we ultimately find the Strength to face it in our lives.
And that is my sermon and breakdown of the theology of a Hannah Montana song today. I know. A little bit crazy...but that's the way I roll sometimes.


Tracy said...

Interesting post. It made me think and it brought me back to something a teacher said to me in high school. Life is not about what happens to you but about how you choose to react to it. So, if you've received the worst news of your life - the loss of a child, for instance. You can choose to be bitter or you can rejoice in the time you had. We can't control what happens to us, we can only control what we do as a result. So, yes, I think the words in the song are true.

Juli said...

I agree with Tracy. It all comes back to how you interpret the saying "in control". Yes much of life is out of our control but how we react to it is in our control. The example you used of the Smith Family. I have been following their story and the situation was very much out of their control but the way they chose to react to it and embrace the time they had with Audrey, both before and after her birth was just so amazing. They chose to rejoice in the time they were given and love that little girl all they could. I see the same in your story. The loss of a child is not in your control but you chose to share your story, thoughts and feeling with so many through this blog. You reacted in a positive way to a very negative situation. In doing so both families have touched so many lives. So while I see what you are saying about the lyrics I do think it is all in the way you interpret the phrase "in control"

Please keep blogging and throwing these thoughts out there. Some bring a smile or a giggle and some really make you step back and think. Any way it always brightens my day.



Anonymous said...

Have you read or seen "The Secret"? It runs on a similar theme of your blog post today...I can't decide if I enjoy the book or find it to be a marketing ploy.
Just curious on your thoughts of it...!

Anonymous said...

Have you heard of Randy Pausch, who gave "The Last Lecture"? It's amazing. If you search for it the video is online (youtube probably) and he also just released a book. He reminds me a lot of you. Check him out!

LauraJ said...

what a lovely post and ponderings. i don't comment often but do read all the time.

Chatty said...

Hi Jody, am new to your blog and found you by way of Angie's.

I find myself agreeing with the Ladies above. I think the "control" is not actual control over the situation, the "control" is the way you find yourself reacting to the situation, and your process for dealing with it. If you take it in that context, then I think Miley's got herself a good point there.

Sara said...

I do think there's also a lesson in teaching your kids to enjoy entertainment and helping them separate it from gospel. I know the truth of my God and my faith, but still love Billy Joel's song that says "Catholic girls start much too late." I'm Catholic and don't agree with the line but love the song. Sometimes the greatest lessons for kids (and adults) is enjoying something without letting it define you. I like to consider things that are just a "little" off the mark as a good way to teach something rather than always shielding them from it. Just a thought :)

About Me. said...

We are extremely protective of the music our children listen to and when we read the lyrics to this song we asked our daughter who is 9 to interpret some of them. Regarding the one you have issues with, Vinny said that sometimes things happen to you, like me having MS and how we deal with it and live with it is under our control. So, that makes more sense to me. What do you think?
PS: you are not being nit picky.

metrochic said...

I also agree with Tracy. I think what is "under your control" is how you react to everything that is thrown at you in this life. I love HM and her music and message - and I am SO thankful that my little girl has music like this to reinforce what I'm already teaching her. She is strong. She is good. She CAN do anything. She can be amazing. Even when life isn't.

ALL of that being said, I have never experienced something as "out of my control" as you have - so my view is probably very much influenced by that. Thanks for sharing your POV, Jody! :)

Karey said...

I agree with you. My kids are grown but as parents it is our responsibility to inspect everything they see and listen to and tell them why with the scripture we may not agree with someone on tv or anywhere else for that matter. Sounds like we may have the same spirit gift-why we may see the way we do.
1985-2003 were yrs of struggle of which my husband & I didn't have much control of. God brought us through to another life since and looking back our life is so different than before. We couldn't see his purpose unless it was to make us strong children for Him. Keep on bloging-enjoy your read each day.
Karey in OK

beth t. said...

I see where you are coming from. As you have shown us, it is true that a positive attitude is all-important, but sometimes life is just so bleak and hard that without God a positive attitude is impossible. Its funny, like a previous commenter I thought for some reason of "The Secret", a book/movie that Oprah likes that is a recent cultural phenomenon that I am kind of wary about as a Christian - I need to learn more before I can really opine on it but what little i know so far sort of scares me as being a message that everything in life is in your control and you can just wish your life great. Anyway, I digress.

My favorite song lyrics ever are to a song called Brian by Phil Sandifer - "Alone in the darkness, in a world that had suddenly turned cold, Brian fell to his knees with a prayer, knowing that alone life was just too much to bear, whispered King, come to me, let me learn to live your ways, brighten my darkness, turn my night into your Day." ... "Should you decide you want to walk with the King, give him your burdens, and he'll give you everything." thanks for blogging, Jody!

Siany said...

I can completely understand everything you are saying, and agree entirely with all the other comments on this post but if you compare this song to many others out there, I think it is an extremely positive message that is being sent out, especially for young children.

Gretchyn said...

This post made me think of a book that came out the year the man I loved was dying of cancer. The book was "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff -- And It's All Small Stuff." We found out he was sick in May that year, and he was gone by mid-August of a cancer that he had a 1 in a billion chance of having. And every time I went to Costco or the mall, there was that darn book! I so wanted to write the author and say, "So you think THIS is small stuff? Are you kidding me?" But, I will say, that in that horrible situation, we were surrounded by so much love and support of family and friends, it was truly INCREDIBLE. And it was through this that I found my way back to God. I knew unequivocably that while this was definitely not "small stuff," the positive energy and love surrounding us through that time and beyond was our gift from Him -- one that allowed us to cope and to continue to move forward with a life that was not as we would have imagined but which still held good things in store.

Tanya said...

I understand completely where you are coming from. Things to remember: YOU will make much more of an impact on your children than Miley Cyrus ever will. She is a fun trend and they will remember her fondly but YOU get to be the one to teach them about the bigger picture of life and all that you said in your blog. They will remember YOU and what YOU said much more than the words to her songs. (I'm almost positive that they wouldn't be able to tell you the concept of the song anyway. They might know the words but they have no idea what she's saying.)

We're not in control - the Lord is. Teach them what He's taught you.

Jamie said...

Whoa, another person who ACTUALY LISTENS to lyrics! I love it!

I firmly believe the only thing we CAN control in this life is our attitude, and I think that might be what she was getting at. Despite all of the grim circumstances you mentioned, we can still rise above, with God's help, and with a good attitude. It isn't always easy and it can almost seem unrealistic at times, but it can be done.

humblepie said...

Totally get where you're coming from. Bad things happen to good, faithful, positive attitude people and the idea that you should be happy about grief and loss and pain is squirrelly. Perhaps the point is that you can be angry and work through it (with a measure of self-control) but don't let it make you bitter? I dunno.

A little soapboxing here ... Working toward a goal is great, however, just wishing and visualizing even praying about something, doesn't mean it will really happen, like the "law of attraction" would like us to believe. God's will be done, and our reaction to it is our only means of "control."

Anonymous said...

Hey Jody,
I gotta say, in the context of the full song, those few lines make a lot of sense. It seems to be talking more about attitude or how you choose to respond to what life gets handed to you, and you have control of your response. It says, "life is what you make of it (true) and you have control" which is also true. You have control over what you make of life (which I would say that you are the true poster child for this.) :) Not a bad song at all, and so great to see a positive influence in the music industry for kids. :)

(please dont tell Wolfgang I was analyzing a Hannah Montana song. haha!)
Hugs to you, Chip and the kids!
Auntie Melissa

Holly T. said...

I totally get what you are saying...I choose mostly Praise and Worship music for my own ears...that is what I enjoy and love to interact with. So that is what I listen to.
I have issues with a lot of other spin class I have to listen to other music and have found that it has become my prayer time. Seriously. Plus I change the focus of some of the music and sing it in my head as praise and worship to my God. (Weird soul I know!)
I do enjoy some other types of music with my kids but I think it is good to talk about ideas, etc that they are contantly being thrown at them. I know I have listened to lots of music...and can't remember half the lyrics so not totally sure how much sticks with you.

Anonymous said...

Jody, I love reading your blog. You are a wonderful wife and mother and I have been learning quite a bit from you. You know there are many many things we can't control; life is about trials. We chose to come to this earth to be tested and tried and prove that we can endure whatever comes our way remaining faithful to our Lord. We also have free agency, another reason for coming to earth. Because of free agency some make wrong choices that hurt others deeply. I liken our lives to a rock that has to be fired over and over again to produce that diamond. We are the offspring of God and are created in his image after his likeness;therefore, we have so much potential in life. If we did not have trials in life to refine us like that rock, we would not grow and learn and become as He is.
Sometimes these trials stink!! Yes, I have had my fair share, but so have all the other human beings on earth. It is what we make of our circumstances for sure. Life is short. Someday we will be free of pain and sorrow and live the eternities with our families. Won't that be something to look forward to! So while we are here on this earth, which is compared to a blink of the eye, I guess we just better live the best we know how and try to alleviate the load for others. Thanks again for your blog. You have a beautiful family and do much good to help others.

Anonymous said...

First of all, hi, I'm Tammy from VA, and I love your blog. I come here for a dose encouragement and am never disappointed.

I agree with you comments on this song. Her message almost has a flippant "don't worry, be happy" ring to it, which doesn't always work in real life.

Also, it's wise to be on the alert for what can subtly enter our thinking. There's a positive message in her song, but we need to be discerning as well.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

jacki janse van rensburg said...

hi jody,
regardless of what you, or i, or others read into the song, it is ALWAYS good to question, and to use themes like this to have a discussion, whether it be with your blog readers, or your kids, or whoever. a little thinking about what we do/say/watch/listen to almost automatically can only be good.

Sandy said...

Hi Jody! Haven't visited with you in a while. I also have a dtr. crazy about Hannah M.

I think you were partly right, but that we adults take the words further than the kids ever would. We think deeper, and read into them.

My husband always reminds me of when we were kids - and how we loved the music but really didn't focus that much on the words (til we got older).

That said, this was a great post!
It's been months since I've been here! :) Sandy

shawnna said...

My kids also enjoy rockin' out to Hannah Montana -- and I always took this line to mean -- YOUR ATTITUDE IS UNDER YOUR CONTROL -- like you can't always control what happens to you but you can control your attitude -- turn it around for the positive