Our friend Chris Ballew is our guest editor this week. He sent this family-focused piece while on a trip to Japan, just in time for Father’s day! In it, he discusses the transcendent power of music shared between parents and children. He also shared this fantastic playlist to let our readers hear some of the sounds behind his inspiration.
The reason I make music for families is to bring parents and children together to share a genuine love for the same song. This effort is important because within this shared experience is the seed of transcendence. I know that my own experience as a father has been greatly enhanced by sharing new music that I find with my kids and having them turn me onto new bands themselves. When it comes to my songwriting, finding the balance to allow this type of music appreciation between parent and child is both inspiring and challenging.
Children are born clear: They see the truth that the world exists without names or boundaries; they see that the world is pure energy. This vast awareness need not be completely wiped out as the world becomes slowly defined by experience, experimentation, and information. The opportunity to connect via things like art and music can often be overshadowed by the subtle and not-so-subtle conditioning that we as a culture pass on to our children. We tell them that achievement and material acquisition is our goal as humans — that these things are the conduit to happiness. But, ultimately, it’s the times that my kids and I have shared music together that have been some of the most transcendent moments of my life as a parent.
Instead of forgetting about the enlightened mode we are born into, we can keep that option open as a place to retreat to as we grow and achieve great things. Making music for families is my extremely small contribution toward keeping that flame flickering, and as I send my own 18 year old out into the world, I remind him to allow himself to get lost in music, to feel alive in the purity and in the brief freedom from self-awareness that it can bring you.
If I can create a moment of delight that can loosen minds like this, I have accomplished my goal. My version of this gift is to help the whole family experience these moments and create lasting memories through silly, wistful, simple songs. My kids and I still laugh about songs we listened to when they were much younger. Forming a bond over music appreciation at a young age can lead to a lifelong connection between children and parents.
Now, forget everything I just said: Go put on “Butterfly Driving A Truck” and dance with your kids!
*Chris Ballew (aka Caspar Babypants) and his family live in Seattle. Chris continues to perform with the Presidents of the United States of America, and his ninth album as Caspar Babypants, Night Night!, was released in March 2015. Our fave Caspar Babypants songs are in this playlist *