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By the time we reach 50, we’ve had a plethora of life experiences.

For some, it’s been a “normal” path. Birth, school, college (or trade school) then straight into the work force. Perhaps you got married, had kids, went through a divorce or got a new job. In between it all, you had friends and experiences, both good and bad that helped influence who you are.

Perhaps one of the most influential aspects of our modern culture is music. Over the years studies have shown how music can uplift the soul and at the same time open the doorway to sadness and despair.

Music affects moods, shopping habits and energizes sport teams. But what about the correlation between popular music and substance abuse?

According to Addiction Magazine, “teens use music as part of their identity formation…. teens use music to resolve or better understand their own inner conflicts and emotional turmoil, and as an outlet for angst.” Other researchers point to the combination of lyrics and music as a “powerful motivator because it connects mental and emotional spheres.”

If music is the “motivator,” shouldn’t we pay attention to what our kids are listening to? What if the lyrics are laced with the glorification of alcohol or the euphoria of drug addiction?

A little common sense goes a long way in preventing substance abuse. Take the time to discern the values, philosophies and world views of the artist and their music. Ask yourself if these are the type of values and world views you want your kids to emulate.

Maybe you’d rather discard them and teach your kids to be critical thinkers instead. Like the old computer analogy so adequately puts it, “Garbage in = Garbage Out.”