We’ve managed to raise a generation of stunted screaming kids. We taught them well with our Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Beatles screeches. One rarely hears the discrete giggle of nine year old girls or the solid laugh of teens together who aren’t looking at texts on their iPhones. The mad metal rock scream has replaced laughter and the Patty Cake nursery rhyme.
Oh, we were warned weren’t we? By our parents who barreled out into the yard and hollered “Don’t you ever scream like that again unless you mean it! That’s Crying Wolf, you know. Next time, no one will come when you really need help!”
So our children practice hate and fear for hours every day on American Idol, True Blood, Twilight and Mutant Kombat. The way we used to practice our chants:
Red rover, red rover, send ….
Here we go round the mulberry bush.
We Like Ike!
Heyyyyyy batttah, battttah! SWING!
Give Peace a chance.
Make love, not war.
No, we have taught them well. Playgrounds, parks, pools and discount stores are filled with children’s shrill petulant and bellicose behavior without the words they need to express the true nature of distress.
Just brats, I had figured, for about 20 years as old age filters into my pained ears.
Then, I began to wonder about a diet of violence and danger we’ve fed them. Constant fears of death from The Other Races, asteroid bombardment, global warming, Y2K, ice caps melting, Mayan Calendar Apocalypse 2012, national deficit, Vampires, shoe bombers, brain tumors from cell phones.
I wondered how to teach a new mantra to a generation to help them rise over our fears. Give them the words to replace the endless screams. I dream of hearing kids calling out to each other or to us:
Ollie, Ollie, oxen free.
Come out and play with me,
Climb up my apple tree,
Slide down my rainbow,
And we’ll be jolly friends,
Forever more, more
I wondered if they are screaming, weary of the omens force fed them by the hour from every media. Perhaps they are crying because they are repeatedly told the Wolf is at the door. They can see it but know they have screamed too loud and too often. Perhaps, no one will come.