The kids in my Pre-K class are fond of many silly little songs that are just fun to sing. They love to hop and twirl to “Freeze Dance,” act silly as they reenact “Tooty-Ta,” shriek “EW!” to “Do You Like Broccoli Ice Cream,” and sing about the fate of the meatball “On Top of Spaghetti.”
A favorite is “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” written by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. We sing a few variations. The premise of the original is that these children are searching for a bear, but they just can’t find him. Challenges surface that they can’t avoid because as the book/song defines: you can’t go over it; you can’t go under it; you can’t go around it…you’ve got to go through it. They proceed to go through tall, wavy grass, swampy mud and a swirling whirling snowstorm complete with sound effects, swishy, swishy, squelch, squelch and hooo wooo respectively, repeating the choruses over and over and reenacting climbing in the grass, swimming in the mud and braving a snowstorm until they reach the bear.
As I was walking the children into school one morning, one little girl was softly singing the song to herself. Now I had personally been going through a rough patch, and a new meaning to the words dawned on me…you can’t go over it; you can’t go under it; you can’t go around it; you’ve got to go through it. I mean, isn’t this a life lesson, after all? Problems surface…health problems, financial problems, marital problems, personal problems, where you just can’t see the light of day and you want to find a way over them or under them or around them to avoid them completely. But the fact is, you can’t skip the hurdles because that’s life. You’ve got to knuckle down and just go through them until you come out on the other side.
In the book the children find the bear at the end who ends up scaring the bejeebers out of them, and they wind up running back through the snowstorm, mud and grass to home base (along with the screaming and sound effects!). That’s probably what I would do if I were four-years-old and being silly. As an adult, I think I would face the bear and keep moving forward through my fears and challenges.
I guess they’re not all silly little songs.