Tom with kids in Kuwait

Tom with kids in Kuwait
Tom with kids in Kuwait

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What are we teaching our kids?

What are we teaching our kids?

Humpty Dumpty falls to his death and even before the advent of Obamacare, there is no helping him.

Jack and Jill go up a hill, yet disaster awaits them.  Tumbles and a broken skull and who knows how many unreported injuries—that’s the storyline of this classic.

The other Jack, aka Jack Be Nimble, fairs well in this short rhyme except he suffers a burned toe in the end.  Again, our nursery rhymes are filled with death or injury, though I think a little Silvadene would do the trick here.  I’ve had some bad burns.  This is good stuff.

Little Miss Muffet isn’t injured but flees the scene of her story in fear of a spider.  I guess if you can’t mix in some death and broken bones, fear will suffice.

Three mice who were already handicapped by blindness end up losing their tails.  Their main appendage is not only severed but cut off with a carving knife.  Was that the same knife used to carve the Thanksgiving turkey or ham?  Be careful where you go eat if you are ever invited over for a nursery rhyme meal.

I don’t know what to think of the rhyme about the piper’s kid.  He stole a pig, ate it, and got beaten for it.  The tale ends with Tom crying.  I guess this teaches justice, but today somebody would have called child services when the kid was beaten for stealing a pig. 

OK, the pig might have been slang for a pastry so it’s not like he ate a whole hog.  There is more to this story in some cases.  Tom becomes a musician, plays so well that pigs and cows even dance, but in the end,  milk is spilled and equipment was broken.

Maybe the only sensible rhyme is about the little piggies.  One goes shopping, one stays home (I don’t know if that includes on Black Friday or not), one has roast beef, and yet another goes without.

And yes, one has a bladder control problem.  What?  Wee, wee, wee all the way home. Must we make this an issue to sing about?

I am not sure what we are teaching our kids as they memorize these rhymes.  Only in my grandfather days have I begun to review the words more closely, and there is one rhyme that struck a nerve with me.

It comes from the Farmer in the Dell, a seemingly harmless rhyme, that is until you examine the social impacts of the words.

We should ask, no, we must ask:  Why must the cheese stand alone?

Why must the cheese stand alone?  Why must it be ostracized?  It’s no wonder that the default setting on most online conversations these days is vitriol when we even demean the cheese.

I am amazed that we have survived as a society this long passing these nursery rhymes along to each successive generation.

That’s just nursery rhymes.  What about this lullaby?

Rock-a-Bye Baby

Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall
And down will come baby, cradle and all

How did this one get past Child Protective Services?  Who puts their cradle in the tree?  Why do we still sing this song?

Is it just for the rhyme?  Then give me some Green Eggs and Ham, I do not like them Sam-I-Am.

Is it for the simple yet catchy tune?  What are we inadvertently teaching our children?


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