Take a moment and think back to when you were a child.

  • What kind of music did you listen to?
  • Who were your favorite artists?
  • How did their music shape you into the person you are today?

If you're like me, music plays a vital role in your life on a daily bases. We subconsciously allow the lyrics and melodies to our favorite tunes to root themselves in the back of our minds and shape the way we view the world around us.

Now think about your children and the music they listen to on a daily basis. If they attend school, think about the music they listen to when you are not there to supervise what gets played. Today's mainstream artists subject children to topics that may or may not be quite appropriate for them at a tender age; an age in which the choices they make will impact the kind of person they grow up to become. Our children will choose someone to follow and the demand for wholesome, uplifting music has never been greater.

The music I create is focused on accomplishing two things:

  1. Retelling my story and sharing with other people principles and lessons I've learned along the way.
  2. Impacting young ears in a positive way and teaching them that's it's cool to grow up to be strong men and women who live purpose driven lives – all the while showing kindness to others and making choices that will bring fulfillment and peace to their future.

I'm really excited about this new song we have released here at Mars Music entitled, "I Believe in You". I invite you to check it out and share it with anyone and everyone you know with children. Let's work together to help shape this next generation into powerful young men and women whose hearts are open to doing what's right and whose choices will lead them into greater success than we have seen in our own lives.

– Mars

Mars from Mars Music - Just launched their new video "I Believe in You"

Mars from Mars Music - Just launched their new video "I Believe in You"

www.myspace.com/marsmusic33

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Homeless Child in need

Homeless Child in need

America is the greatest country in the world. I was born here, live here, and love it dearly. Our Statue of Liberty tells the world to ""Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"  Yet, there are people and children, right here in our country that are struggling… homeless… helpless… and in need. The economy over the last year has made things even worse, and even more desperate for some. And it is children who are homeless that need a voice, and need our help.

There is not a child in this world that asked to be born, yet there are 1.4 million of these blessings (visit homelesschildrenamerica.org) are walking the streets… sleeping in cardboard boxes and going without food. Hunger and poverty exists around the world. As Americans we have a big heart and try to help out wherever there is need. We have such a big heart sometimes we forget about some of our neighbors that may be suffering too. My heart breaks everytime I see or hear of a homeless family, and even though our family is struggling in this economy, I know there are people and children a lot worse off.

It is easy  (as a society) to look at an adult that is down on their luck, possibly losing everything here in America and say that it is their own fault for where they are at. It happens every day, the person on the side of the street that is holding up a sign asking for food or money that you drive by with your windows rolled up looking the other way pretending not to see them. What do you say to the child that has nothing? I am not talking about not having an XBOX, but the essentials… clean clothes, warm food, a roof over their head.

Each and every year 1 out of every 50 kids will become homeless here in our wonderful country of America. That is on an average year; now add into that the very tough economic times our country is going through. Consider the number of parents that have or are losing their jobs… their homes…  It can happen to any of us at any time. We can no longer just look at our own children and be thankful that it "isn't us," we need to do something now to help these kids.READ More on Homeless in America – Children in Need

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Mom writing a letter to her child

Mom writing a letter to her child

by Stephanie Partridge

It started out as a simple project, write letters to the people I love. It ended up becoming a cherished heirloom for my children. I had a writing project and, after writing the article explaining the process, I wrote a few letters to include as examples. It was supposed to be very cut and dry, get in and get out then move on to the next project. But I could not move on. The words kept swirling in my head, tugging at me heart. I have lived with this need to write. It isn't as if I have a choice, there is something deep inside me that drives me. I have to write.

But something was moving inside me this time, something different. I sat down, pen in hand (yes, I still use a pen and paper for recording many of my thoughts) and began to write. At first they were thoughts, impressions. Soon, however, they became letters. They became letters to my children.

When I started, it was a rather generic letter that I could send to all three of my children. But as I wrote, the letters became unique for each child. It was as if they had taken on a life of their own. I first wrote to my daughter, Micah, a sweet, loving girl. She would do anything for you, never complaining. She is always smiling and likes to make others smile as well. She loves animals and is in a special program at school for animal sciences. She wants to be a veterinarian.READ More on Letters to your Child: A Gift of Love from the Heart

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Letting Them Do It on Their Own
by Jennifer Shakeel

Important to teach children the joy of solving their own problems

Important to teach children the joy of solving their own problems

One of the biggest struggles we as parents have is not trying to figure out how to be the best mom or dad in the world, because we are all wonderful parents in our own rights… but it is to encourage our children to be self sufficient. When we see or hear our child is having a difficult time with something we immediately want to reach in and take care of it for them just so they are happy. What we don't realize is that in the long wrong, we really aren't helping them at all.

I know as a mom that every time one of my kids is having difficulty trying to figure something out, or just had a disagreement with one of their friends and they are sad… or mad… I want to be supermom and make all wonderful and easy in their life. However, I also know that as a mom the best thing I can do is help them figure the situation out on their own. Part of it is growing up in the school of hard knocks I guess. My father was real big on making us do things on our own. I will never forget the time I climbed a tree. I was so excited, he stood there while I was climbing to make sure I didn't fall… but when I said that I needed help getting down, he looked at me and said "You got up there on your own, now get down on your own."He turned and walked away going into my grandmother's kitchen. I swear I sat there and cried forever… then I got real mad… and eventually got out of the tree on my own.READ More on Parenting and Helping Our Kids be Self-Sufficient

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Anything Worth Having is Worth Waiting For

by Jennifer Shakeel

Boy learning the virtues of patience

Boy learning the virtues of patience

One of the greatest virtues that we as parents can teach our children is patience. I know that in our hectic lives where we are often surrounded by the chaos of work, being mom and dad, driving to practices and games as well as trying to be a husband or a wife to our spouse… patience if often far from our mind. We have all been irritated at the time it took to get through a drive thru for a sweet tea, but we as adults also understand the importance of being patient.

The best things in life are the things that we had to wait to get. For example, each one of my children and my husband, all four of them I had to wait for… and I now I don't know what I would do without them. You tend to not take for granted things that took patience to get. This is an appreciation that is missing from many youths of today. I hate to say… but the people that are at fault for this… the parents.

I understand the reason, for many if they just give in to what their child wants when they want it… it is one less headache they have to deal with. But as that child gets older, the demands are going to be greater… and honestly they are going to end up being very frustrated as adults when things don't go their way. While it is far easier to start when they are young to teach them patience… it is never too late to start.

This begs that question, how do we teach our children to be patient? Here are a number of tips that you can try, these are tips that I have used and they worked on two of three children. The third one is only 8 ½ months old, so she is still a work in progress.READ More on Parenting Tips of the Week: A Lesson in Patience

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Mom helping daughter apply makeup

Mom helping daughter apply makeup

 by Stephanie Partridge

I will never forget that day.  My bright, beautiful 13 year old daughter bounced into my room and sidled up to me, unable to conceal that gleam in her eye.  She could barely contain herself (she has always been a very happy, bubbly, smiley girl) as she whispered, "Mom, I want to start wearing makeup."

Screech!

My little girl was growing up.

Now granted, she had played dress up and "worn" makeup.  But this was different.  Now she wanted to wear makeup "for real."  In a flash, her young life sped through my mind.  I saw her, at this moment, playing with her dolls and the next wearing makeup.   This led to a slippery slope (in my mind) of high heels, prom dresses and (gasp!) boys.  It wasn't supposed to be like this!  She was supposed to be my little girl forever!  Of course, my imagination far exceeded the reality of the situation.

I stopped my racing, panicked mind, took a deep breath and smiled (a sickly smile, but a smile all the same).  "Why do you want to wear makeup?"  I asked, looking at her beautiful, peaches and cream complexion, wondering why in the world would she want to put makeup on that gorgeous face.

"I want to be beautiful like you."  She replied simply, as if I should have already known that.READ More on When your Daughter wants to wear Makeup: Lessening the Trauma (for yourself!)

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by Patricia Hughes

Happy Family of Four enjoying quality family time!

Happy Family of Four enjoying quality family time!

Years ago, I heard Bill Cosby say in a stand up comedy routine that parents don't care about fairness, they just want quiet. At the time, I had no children and it was just funny. Later, as a parent I saw it again and recognized it as a pearl of wisdom. All parents want a peaceful home.

I know all parents want peace because my children like to watch Nanny 911 and the lack of peace is a recurrent theme. This show taught me a valuable lesson, and not just that things aren't as bad in my home as they seem. Whatever the other issues in a family, a lack of peace is always at the core.

A few years ago, I was starting to struggle with sibling fighting, squabbling and yelling. The child not involved in the fight would end up turning up the TV or CD player in response to the noise.  On some days, the noise level was out of control. It was destroying the peace in our family and affecting all of us. We'd find ourselves yelling in response to their fighting and it had a negative effect the parents and children.

Around that time I came across a book that caught my eye in Borders. The book is Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids: Practical Ways to Create a Calm and Happy Home by Naomi Drew. That book helped me realize that a peaceful family begins with me. If I wanted to change the dynamic in the house, it was possible. In this book, Drew discusses what she calls three essentials for peaceful parenting that I have used with our kids with success.

The first is to make the home a place of kind words. In our family, the sibling fighting often starts when one of the kids says something mean or puts down another child. That child responds with another insult. The fight soon escalates. To break this cycle, there should be a rule that no person puts down any other member of the family and the rule needs to be enforced.READ More on Parenting: A Peaceful Family Begins With Me