The Playlist


This weekend I was in the car with my son and his spouse, and they were listening to one of their new favorite bands.  When they got to a song I liked, I asked my son to add it to my playlist.  His spouse had never heard of this playlist and as we explained it, I began to realize how significant this playlist was to both of us.

My son is 23 and we started the playlist called "songs my mom heard in the car and liked" when he was in middle school.  I have always let him decide on the music we listen to in the car.  It is a great way to learn about new music (says the person stuck in the 80s), as well as show interest and connect with your pre-teen and teen.  He has been adding songs for over a decade now.  There are songs from concerts I took him to before he could drive.  There are songs from Broadway musicals we saw together and songs that were popular when he worked at a summer camp.  There are songs I heard on visits when he was in college and just wanted to ride around and listen to music (a great way to help your college student to spend some time away from the dorm and decompress).  There are songs from the pandemic and from his first year of grad school.  This playlist is a story of his life.

My specialty area is parenting and in previous blog posts I have encouraged parents to connect with their kids/teens/college students by asking them to teach you something.  I have also recommended showing interest in the music, books, video games, and activities that your child likes.  It surprises me how often adults only assume the role of teacher and miss out on all their children have to teach them.  This is great advice but until this past weekend I didn't see these suggestions as a way to create lasting memories over time.  Listening to my son talk about the playlist and reminisce about how each song represented an important stage in life, I realized what a gift this playlist is to both of us.

If you have a child that is old enough to be interested in music, I encourage you to ask them to start a playlist for you.  Someday, maybe you will also have the pleasure of riding around with your adult child enjoying this musical history that you created together.


About Author

Lisa Allred

Work Life Program Manager

Lisa Allred comes to SAS with a long history of working with families throughout the lifespan. After receiving her undergraduate degree at Wake Forest Universtity and her Masters in Social Work from UNC-CH, her career began as a child therapist focusing on parenting, anxiety and trauma. She then moved into college counseling where she emphasized student wellness and balance.

1 Comment

  1. Kevin DeBruhl on

    Playlists are the new mixtapes from the 80's, am I right?

    My now adult son and I started a reverse of this tradition. Since he's now into vinyl, it's my "responsibility" to seed his library with the best music from my time since, as he put it, "you made me listen to it and like it when I was growing up". It's been so much fun picking out albums from the 70's and 80's and seeing his response.

    I like your ideas, Lisa! Great memories that way

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