My Little Drummer Boy

This year my husband and I have boldly decided to give our son the most taboo of Christmas presents: a drum set.  Are we crazy? Perhaps.  We blame love.
After we deliberated about said drum set, our reasons for giving in selflessly to the desire of our young son’s heart outweighed our own personal preferences.
Drums are present in just about every culture because they enable people to express themselves physically and emotionally.  In America, the heart of any successful music group is the drummer, tucked away in the back, like the Wizard behind the curtain punctuating every phrase with booms, taps, and tings.
But good drummers are hard to find, because most parents are quick to shove “forgiving” and “quiet” instruments into their children’s hands rather than drums.  Drums are loud, especially in a small house with thin walls like ours.  But drums are important, and we’ve pushed our children away from them for too long.  I almost did.
Collin first discovered the drums on Thanksgiving at my cousin’s house.  He calmly approached the set, picked up the sticks and instinctively knew what to do.  He was having so much fun, giggling, banging, and crashing, that I knew what was coming next.
“Mommy, can I get drums?” Collin asked.
Oh no, I told myself.  How do I get out of this one? So, I went back to the old Christmas copout – “Why don’t you ask Santa?” 
Since then, we’ve attended Beatlemania Again and Archbishop Curley’s Christmas Concert .  Both shows were fantastic all around, but Collin zoned in on Ringo and the Friars’ percussion section, nodding his head, bouncing, and tapping his foot to the beat.  His plea, “I want drums,” grew stronger and louder.
I spoke to a music teacher, a church choir director, a friend who drums in a local band, and a high school student to determine if drums would be good for Collin.  I was met with a resounding “yes,” and advised by all parties to consider the First Act brand because it’s inexpensive, durable, and authentic.
Finally, Santa said yes, but only if Collin’s mom and dad would pick it up for him.  “I can’t believe we’re really doing this,” I told my husband as we loaded the miniature drum set into our Toys ‘R Us cart.
“He’s our little drummer boy,” he said. 
And he is.  Collin doesn’t know how to make beats and keep rhythm yet, but that’s what lessons are for.  Fortunately, we have a few drummer friends who have offered to teach him and the patience to allow him to learn out loud.  (There are also headphones).    
He may only be 3, and I have no expectations for him to be the next Ringo Starr, but an introduction to drums is an important way for Collin to begin to understand the rhythm of the world, its rises and falls, its sudden intrusions, and the things that never change.  
I made the decision to never silence a happy child awhile ago.  To do so is ignoring a gift from God.  I’m just glad for every moment I have with my children, no matter how much ruckus that might entail. Psalms 100 and 150 tell us to make a joyful noise unto the Lord and praise him with the loudest of instruments.  And that’s just what Collin will do.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.