Family Matters: What kind of noises should fill our lives?

Published on Wednesday, 18 October 2017 10:32 - Written by JENNIFER FLANDERS

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For as long as I can remember, my husband has talked about getting a drum set, but resisted the urge, because drums take up so much space.

That decision suited me just fine, as the thought of having 12 kids in the same house as a set of drums didn’t appeal to me in the least! I imagined them beating the tom tom day and night, never giving me a moment’s peace. Even thinking about the racket they’d make with those snares and cymbals sets my head to pounding.

But a couple of years ago (and quite unexpectedly), my husband brought home a compact alternative to a drum set. It was a small wooden box called a cajon - and, honestly, it didn’t bother me nearly as much as I’d anticipated.

For one thing, the kids never beat it in anger, as if they were on the warpath. Rather, they’d take turns happily tapping out rhythms and thus teaching their mother that even drums can be used to make a joyful noise. (I hope readers will excuse my prior prejudice against this instrument.)

The attitude of the person doing the drumming makes all the difference. I don’t know why that didn’t dawn on me before. A couple of my sons are whistlers. They whistle almost constantly. That might get on their siblings’ nerves after awhile, but it never gets on mine. Do you know why?

Because when I hear them whistling, I know they’re happy. It’s a joyful noise, and it reassures me that their heart is in the right place.

Not all noises affect me that way. Some noises indicate tempers have flared, feelings are hurt, or maybe even injuries have been sustained. I don’t like those noises at all.

But the happy noise of children laughing, music playing, good times rolling? Yes. Keep those coming, please!

I think God must feel the same way, for we are commanded in the book of Psalms: “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” – Psalm 98:4, KJV

Note that not any old noise will do. God is not asking us to bellyache or moan or groan or complain or argue. He wants to hear from us, yes, but much prefers to hear happy singing, joyous shouting, and loud, hearty voices resounding with praise.

In the end, our family’s cajon found its way to a new home. My husband is the one who sent it packing. I’m not sure whether he was tired of listening to it or tired of tripping over it or convinced our church needed it more than we did, but it got donated regardless.

And that’s okay by me. Our house is plenty loud without it. But as long as the noise I’m hearing is a joyful noise, it sounds like music to my ears.


Jennifer Flanders loves beautiful music, happy children, and peaceful homes. To read more from this writer, visit