The Soundtrack of Home: What Do Our Loved Ones Hear?


I like to play music at my house, usually something that either motivates me or calms me. I’ve learned that what I hear in my day-to-day affects my mood, and therefore, my productivity level. I also have my go-to “angry music” that can help me push when I go for a run, or when I need to vent my frustrations — like the day I got a speeding ticket. That type of music usually stresses me out any other time, so naturally, I only know of one band that I can rely on having appropriate words in case little ears overhear. But typically, I’m listening to uplifting, energetic music, or soothing tunes to give myself a chill pill.

This gets me thinking about the soundtrack to our daily home life. The life-giving words and care from my spouse are a driving force for me.

A timely reminder of this occurred in learning about a friend of mine who has been enduring verbal abuse from her spouse for years now. Her child has been protected from such, but a daily dose of put-downs from husband to wife has caused dangerous emotional cuts for my friend.

Overall, you could argue I’m sheltered. I have my “stuff” that I’ve needed to work through. But if having a childhood and marriage free from abuse makes me sheltered, then yeah, I’m grateful to say I’ve been in a bubble.

So when I imagine myself in my friend’s shoes, the very thought of it breaks me. I’m actually downright appalled. How can one function with this? How can you be your best self with these cuts reverberating through your mind ever since they rolled off your loved one’s tongue? Even if it hasn’t been a perfect relationship on both ends. Nobody is perfect. But this consistent tearing down, without seeking therapy, mediation, forgiveness, and healing for your relationship…How long can the receiver of these words endure it? For my friend, everything bubbled up to the surface one day and it led her straight to self-harm.

I came across a study out of Florida State University a while ago. The study speaks of 3 internal beliefs that are likely to lead to suicide…

  1. A person feels like a burden to those around them.
  2. A person feels a lack of belonging.
  3. A person lacks the fear of death and/or the fear of self-harm.

It is typical for an individual to feel one or two of the above statements at one time or another. In that case, this thinking can lead to depressive symptoms. It’s the combination of all three strands of thought that is the most detrimental.
{Are you thinking of someone you know who has opened up to you about these thoughts? Check in with them. Let them know you care about them. Are those thoughts something you struggle with? Reach out to someone you trust. Talk to your doctor about getting some help. Don’t fight it alone.}

When I think of my friend’s home life these last several years, and how we almost lost her, I’m overcome by disbelief and I think, “No…no, no, no…

Home is supposed to be a safe place.

What is the soundtrack to your life right now? What soundtrack are we singing for our children’s lives? What are we speaking into them? Life or cuts? Healing or scars?

Part of my husband and my reason to adopt was we felt we could provide a safe home to a child — for healing and exploring their own identity as they grow. Though of course, we fail at times, our hope is to model to our kids how we’re supposed to treat one another. We are striving to create and maintain an atmosphere of love and life for each of us in our home. But sometimes I do get a little distracted and need a little tune-up…

(This is meant to be more thought-provoking, NOT guilt-inducing! We are all doing the best we can!)

What does my child hear from me in the day-to-day?

Does he hear every day that I don’t have time to play with him?

Does he hear that I don’t care to invest even five minutes into his interests?

Does he hear the frustration in my voice when he makes an extra mess while trying to be a big boy and do things all by himself?

Does he hear me telling him “no” a lot of times (out of tiredness) to even trivial things that won’t hurt to say “okay” to?

Does he hear more about how he’s too little to do a lot of things, or does he hear that I have a job HE can do right beside me?

When he asks me to snuggle at bedtime and sing his “baby song” I wrote for him as we waited to adopt him, what response does he usually hear?

My deepest concern is for a sense of belonging as my kids grow, and a sense of safety in order to grow. I want my children to know they each matter and fit so perfectly in our family. I want them to feel confident in themselves and empowered to do new things. And I pray that they learn how to be kind and uplifting to others. I want my children to be able to recognize when others are loving versus abusive when they’re older and entering their own relationships. I want my kids to have a healthy sense of “self” in their place in our family and in the world.

This is what HOME is supposed to be. A place of rest, healing, connection, and safety as we weather the outside world together. How can we be more intentional to create this soundtrack for our loved ones?