Music formula is sound. Worship songs praise God. Romantic songs swoon couples everywhere. Breakup songs draw out feelings of brokenness, anger, and grief. But, what about music about family relationships (meaning songs about brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and so on)?
Family songs that immediately come to mind include John Mayer’s “Daughters” and Cat Stevens’s “Father and Son.” The latter, a dialogue between a father and his son, epitomizes family relationships. The lyrics illustrate the relationship between the two and how they both long for effective communication.
Music about family has its impact. When I got married, Sanctus Real’s “Lead Me,” a song that spells out the importance of family through a father’s perspective, opened my eyes to how to be a husband to my new wife. As a single guy, I had my own impressions on what married life would be like, but the song helped give me what I call the right perspective.
And, since we have Mother’s Day upon us, I thought it would be appropriate to list a few songs that sing about family.
The Color “The Kind of Man”
To me, “The Kind of Man” is “Lead Me, Part 2.” This song, performed by the Canadian band The Color, challenges men to step forward and be a humble spiritual leader of their home. I’m completely convicted by the song’s godly lyrics. When married, it’s so easy for me to make my wife a lower priority. When dating, a couple holds each other in the highest regard, so let’s look at marriage that way. Guys, always follow this term: date a wife, not a girlfriend.
"Lord make me a man who loves his kids and loves his wife/Lord make me a man who always stands for what is right/Who’s strong enough to fight a war by falling to his knees/‘Cause that’s the kind of man/That’s the kind of man I want to be"
Jonny Diaz “Watch You Be A Mother”
Ephesians 5 is a great how-to-treat-each-other guide for husbands and wives (I used Ephesians 5 in my wedding vows). The SelfExpression775 blog talks about the Ephesians 5 man: one who walks in love, selflessly and sacrificially; a wise one who walks in purity, who loves his wife, and makes her holy.
Contemporary artist Jonny Diaz exemplifies these traits in his single, “Watch You Be A Mother,” a song that points out the finer qualities of his wife, as a partner, and as a mother.
"You do it all, you always have/Ten years in and two young kids/You wear so many hats/I see you patient, I see you kind/But I see you in a new light/How you love those kids of mine"
Elevation Worship (feat. Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes) “The Blessing”
Elevation Worship’s “The Blessing” reminds me of my mother. Every day, she faithfully does her devotionals with Christian authors and speakers David Jeremiah and Joyce Meyers, among others. Also, when she watches Sunday morning service online, she’s on her feet worshiping her creator, Jesus Christ.
“The Blessing” is a musical Hallmark card. In a nutshell, the lyrics give many blessings to you and your family. May the Lord hold you and keep you in your times of struggles. Now, this is a song I’ll dedicate to my mother. Maybe you should, too.
"May His favor be upon you/And a thousand generations/And your family and your children/And their children, and their children"
For KING & COUNTRY (feat. Kirk Franklin and Tori Kelly) “Together”
The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated families in so many ways. Families haven’t seen each other for months because of quarantines and lockdowns (I haven’t seen my family for half a year). Others have tragically lost loved ones to this nasty virus. Some families are even divided on matters of masks, social distancing, and vaccines.
And, since the pandemic began, artists and bands have dropped pandemic-related songs to unify people. Brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone—also known as For KING & COUNTRY—dropped the appropriately named “Together.”
In a seven-minute video about the song, published on the Tennessean, Luke said, “I find it amazing that a song that we couldn’t finish [before the pandemic] is really dealing with the core issues in [regards] to what, I think, a lot of people are struggling with right now. They feel isolated, they feel like they’re lonely.”
In the “Together” music video, many fans submitted notes about how the pandemic has affected them—happy and sad.
- "I reunited with my family who loves me.”
- "My dad died from COVID-19”
- "We couldn't get married due to the lockdown, but we'll have a massive celebration once we're through this."
"And if we fall, we will fall together/ Together/And when we rise, we will rise together/Together”
Riley Clemmons “Healing”
I’m the eldest of three children (I have a sister and a brother). So, when my siblings are making bad life choices, I like to step in and give them some “words of wisdom.” But, if you have any younger siblings, you’ll know that they don’t—if ever—listen. And, it’s hard for me to see my siblings struggle. I want to do everything I can to help them. But, I know I can’t. All I can do is to look on helplessly. This is how pop artist Riley Clemmons felt when writing her hit, “Healing.”
In an interview with NRT’s lead contributor Kevin Davis, she shared, “At the time, my sister was lost and stuck in a hopeless place. She was in a challenging season. I wrote the song as a letter of what I wished, hoped, and prayed for her to have. The intention was to write a song for my sister from my perspective.”
"Gave myself some grace/And my soul began to feel the change/I let love flood my heart/Like the Sun upon a tear-stained face/I'm slowly learning to be grateful/Found some purpose in all the hurt/Now I'm rediscovering what I'm worth/Just takes one step to turn the tables/But I had to take it first"
Matthew West “The Beautiful Things We Miss”
Have you ever heard Harry Chapin’s “Cats In The Cradle”? This song is about a father who misses out on time with his son because of his busy life. In the same vein, Matthew West’s “The Beautiful Things We Miss” tackles the same message, but takes a different approach. This song is a prayer, asking God not to miss out on precious time with family. It’s a little convicting to me, because I—like many others—spend endless hours (not hyperbole, it’s real) on my phone, instead of spending time with family. Let this song be a sobering reminder that you don’t want to miss the “beautiful things.”
"I don't wanna look back someday and find/Everything that really mattered/Was right in front of me this whole time/Open up my eyes, Lord/Keep me in the moment just like this/Before the beautiful things we love/Become the beautiful things we miss"
Newsboys “That Home (A Tribute to Moms)”
This song is a tearjerker. Newsboys released this song as a Mother’s Day tribute in 2014. About the song, vocalist Michael Tait says, “'That Home' is a song about moms everywhere. My mom passed away in September of 2013. The lyrics talk about how in that home she would cook us our favorite meal, how her love for us had no end, and how important it was to her to see her kids be saved and know Christ. That's the kind of mom that my mom was."
"And on that day I got the news/That Momma's stay here was almost through/I stayed all night by her side/Held her hand, looked in her eyes/And said, Momma/When you're home/I know you'll be safe/Strong enough to see/The faith that you believed/And in that home/Life will have no end/I know I'll see you again"
Without a doubt, there are many songs about family. Some notable mentions include Disciple’s “After the World,” Matthew West’s “Family Tree,” Unspoken’s “You’ve Always Been,” Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Cinderella,” for KING & COUNTRY’s “Pioneers,” and Bob Carlisle’s “Butterfly Kisses.”
Paul Phillips is a Canadian journalist with over 15 years of experience writing and editing digital and print content. He specializes in health, fitness, nutrition, and travel. He loves music, movies, and, of course, living for Jesus.
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