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An apology for a song selection

Dear Editor,

In today's ever-changing world of sports and entertainment, young people lose sight of what is good and decent in favor of what is cool and new. As an older person who should know better, I fell into the trap of what's cool and new and forgot to screen for what's good and decent.

In the entertainment industry today, hard core music is becoming increasingly accepted. With its increased acceptance comes an increased attempt to push the envelope of decency. At the Diamond Day baseball marathon this past Saturday, I tried to please the boys by playing songs that appealed to them and fired them up. Most of that went pretty well to the dismay of several parents. Whereas hard-core music like hip-hop and rap doesn't appeal to the masses, the teens love it. As a classical musician, I'm not a big proponent of hip hop and rap, but I realize that identifying with teens depends on my ability to speak the language (so-to-speak).

I allowed my trust to override my judgment and played a song that was not screened the night before, but was given to me that day and reported to be "clean." Unfortunately and to my embarrassment, it most definitely was not. Not that the person reporting to me was being dishonest, but teens are often desensitized to the vulgarity of music they listen to frequently. I blame not the music owner, but myself for being too casual and playing an inappropriate song without first screening it and thus disapproving its airing. Not only did this particular song embarrass me as a Christian for its playing, but I caused the baseball program and the school system some grief as well.

Athletics in Thomson has a classy reputation from the athlete on the field to the band, cheerleaders and parents that support the teams. We want to continue to be innovative and spectacular in our presentation of such events, but maintain the class and decency known for our county and school system. Please be supportive of our local teens and their taste in rhythmic and melodic styles of music, but be mindful of what your child listens to and the message it is speaking and the language with which it speaks the message.

I have no excuse for being lazy and not screening an inappropriate song. As an educator and youth worker, I would like more involved parent support in the listening habits of our good and decent teens.


Trent Henderson

Web posted on Thursday, March 23, 2006

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