Spring Snowstorms, Nursery Rhymes and the Modern Kid


robin_in_snow_2

It is amazing the amount of antidotes, stories, images and yes silly rhymes that are stored in my brain. The first thing that popped into my head when I saw a robin the other day, just before the snow storm, was a nursery rhyme  my mother would chant every March. It has been more than 40 years since I last heard my mother recite it  but the words have become part of me.

The North Wind Doth Blow 

The North wind doth blow and we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then, poor thing?
He’ll sit in a barn and keep himself warm
and hide his head under his wing, poor thing.

This English poem originated in the 16th century, so it would seem that I am not the only mother to have a childhood nursery rhyme engraved in her mind in order that I too will pass down this oral tradition.

The use of catchy rhyming poems to teach children and to preserve oral tradition is probably thousands of years old. I sometimes stopped in the middle reciting of a nursery rhyme, realizing with a jot that the real meaning of the poem was quite dire or gory

Dr. Seuss understood the value of rhyming words and nonsense phrases and there are many pages from his books that are also carved in my brain, mostly the more annoying poems. Green eggs and Ham haunts me to this day.

“I do not like green eggs and ham I do not like them Sam-I-Am.” 
“Try them, try them, and you may! Try them and you may, I say.”
The problem I see in schools these days is that parents put pressure on even preschool teachers to equip their kids to get ahead in the world. The lessons and brain development techniques start soon after birth. By age 3, kids are learning to operate a computer, taking swimming lessons, learning to skate and attending a  French Nursery School so  they will be bi-lingual and fit into immersion schools by grade I. School is serious business these days with no time for delightful nursery rhymes.  The result is kids with little or no imagination, creativity or time for the arts. Society is  raising a generation of driven, pedantic thinkers trained to succeed. How terrible.

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25 thoughts on “Spring Snowstorms, Nursery Rhymes and the Modern Kid

  1. I agree with so much of what you said here. These “new parents” wear me out, I can only imagine what some do to their kids. I read one time where a mother put chores on popsicle sticks and put them in a jar. The kids then had to draw the stick with the chore on it. If they complained then they had to draw another stick with an extra chore. My thought was, “What is wrong with TELLING THEM, get in there and clean your room and making them do it?” I guess like with the nursery rhymes, that is just too simple:>) Good post and God Bless, SR

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    1. I know- the methods are clinical and detached and produce kids who are clinical and detached, more comfortable texting than talking, playing video games than playing outside without a spare moment that is not scheduled No space for creativity or the spiritual because material success is the all end all

      On Sat, Mar 23, 2013 at 8:55 PM, motherofnine9

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  2. So true, so true. Kids need an education, but they also need imagination, they need to know how to work, to mind, to respect and how to communicate with others face to face. My daughter said one time, “We must keep them on schedule.” I was thinking, “What schedule?” She was sitting up at 12:00 midnight holding a crying child, because they did not want to go to bed. Do you ever think there is just no place in the world for us anymore:>) I am glad I am on the down hill slide of it now. I do not think I could live in what is coming. They would be putting me in jail:>) God Bless, SR

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      1. It applies to just about everything. Many of the best and most creative hockey players, for example, learned their craft on the pond, without the involvement of adults.

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  3. I fully agree with you Melanie. Children are being transformed into androids and robots these days. And what are rhymes but syllabic grouping of vowels and consonants in bytes of zeroes and ones? But hey, we are humans and we can do with some melody and imagination.

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  4. I also agree. I think that’s why God gave them grandparents. We remember those things and even though my daughter is a kindergarten teacher it is me that loves to teach them the things we were taught by our grandparents.

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      1. Never to early is right. My grandbabies know every song and nursery rhyme my grandma ever taught me. I just bought them metal jacks for Easter and can’t wait to show them how to play.I just hope my knee is better by Sunday. I am as excited about it as they are gonna be!

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      2. Never to early is right. My grandbabies know every song and nursery rhyme my grandma ever taught me. I just bought them metal jacks for Easter and can’t wait to show them how to play.I just hope my knee is better by Sunday. I am as excited about it as they are gonna be!

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  5. Most of the creative subjects are electives no longer part of the curriculum. Should you want your children to be artistic, this is an extra course for them to take thus more pressure. But then again, we as adults/parents we know that our children need this imagination therefore before going to school from infancy to 6 years we must entertain them with the nursery rhyms, crayons, hide and seek, or what ever gives them imagination.

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  6. I agree with you, Melanie. School has become very structured and serious. There is little allowance for play, the one sure thing that will help lead to a balanced, happy life.

    I have never heard The North Wind Doth Blow, but now I will put it to memory. My grandmother had a slew of sayings that she passed down…one being “If there’s enough blue in the sky to make a pair of overalls it will be sunny.” Today the sky is filled with overalls where I’m living. Enjoyed this post very much!

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  7. Hi Melanie, Look this is a bit off-topic for what is one of your usual lovely posts, but the poem made me literally think of the ‘Wind In The North’ (-ern hemisphere). I’m visiting my son in Chicago next week (where he tells me it’s snowing) and here I am swimming in warm water at Bondi Beach and basking in our autumn sun. There was one other person ‘out the back’ to catch a wave and he complained about the poor surf. I said “Yeah, well I gotta make the most of it.” Cheers, Neil,

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  8. A close friend of mine told me recently that he wanted to “strengthen his son’s competitive nature!”, his “will to win!”. This is a father of a 3 year old boy who is taking swimming lessons, so he already has dreams of Olympic gold for him.

    Kind of shocked me a little bit, as I also have a 3 year old son and the only thing I want him to do when he’s swimming is to have some fun, and learn how not to drown of course.

    Being a little bit paranoid, his reaction made me wonder if the competition minded parents are outnumbering the ‘fun minded’ parents ?

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