The A to Z Challenge theme reveal was technically yesterday, but I’m still recuperating from two weeks out of town (stay tuned for my next post), so here I am a day late already and the challenge hasn’t yet begun. Not good! Fortunately, over the years I’ve become wiser about participating in the challenge and all my posts for this year are just about finalized already. Is that cheating? Maybe. Or maybe it’s about making sure I have 26 thoughtful, well-written posts that I’m proud of.
This is my fourth consecutive year participating in the challenge. I have a lot of other writing projects going on, but I enjoy this challenge because it gets me thinking about new topics and writing in ways that I wouldn’t otherwise. This year, I’m looking at Mother Goose. Many norms from my childhood are now considered grossly unacceptable and in some cases have even been criminalized. I’m talking about spanking, leaving kids in a running car while mom pops into a store, letting elementary-aged children walk home from school alone, reading Mark Twain, playing cops and robbers with finger guns, Christmas, hugging, vaccinations, the concept of winners and losers. Some of these practices and customs may deserve to be relegated to the past, while others are making a much needed comeback.
In light of these movements, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the nursery rhymes so many of us knew by heart. Our Little Golden Books only contained the most watered down ones, but even some of these seem to promote sexism, bullying, violence, racism and idiocy. But while many of the messages they promote are terrible, others are quite practical and should be taken to heart in this world of the overly offended and sensitive. As with any story, poem, or chant from childhood, when viewed through the eyes of an adult, the messages, and their applicability, become much more clear. So I hope you’ll join me for a trip down memory lane in April, share your thoughts, and decide for yourself whether the Mother Goose we knew is appropriate for young ears.
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