By Catherine Miller
I started a book study on the Psalms recently with a few friends and family members online. The book is Open and Unafraid: The Psalms as a Guide to Life by W. David O. Taylor. Over the last two weeks we talked about sadness and anger, and how the Psalms show us how to healthily process our grief and frustration and bring it to God.
Last night we reflected on the times our children exhibited stress, anger, frustration, and anxiety. How do we handle those times as a parent? How do we show our children how to manage these emotions?
This song popped up in my YouTube feed a few weeks ago and I asked the lyricist if I could record his song for our church and share it. He said yes! It is very simple to play on guitar. In the recording, I use capo 5. You can hear our eight month old practicing his sounds in the background, and our four year old brings out his new favorite toy.
What I have learned the last few months is that when I make music and art with my children, it helps them with their anxiety. Our four year old has moments when he retreats into the garage to paint. He puffs out his chest and exclaims, “I am an artist!” He grabs my hand and leads me to the easel. “Let’s paint, Mommy!” he commands. Sometimes I feel like he insists on painting because he needs to put his feelings onto the paper in bold colors.
Whether through painting or through making music, making art helps children (and their parents!) express what they’re feeling internally. In our study of the Psalms, we’ve found that the Psalms of anger and lament help us have language to express those feelings, and my children need the same thing.
Enjoy this sweet lullaby by W. David O. Taylor and Paul Zach.
A Bedtime Song for Anxious Children
My good Shepherd, shepherd me
Hear my prayer and my plea
May I sleep in peace tonight
In your warm and shielding light
Help me not to feel alone
Be my refuge and my home
Please protect my heart from fear
And to trust that you are near
Guard me from all things that harm
And enfold me in your arms
Thank you, Lord, for your sweet care
And for hearing this my prayer