Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay. My, oh my, what a wonderful day…
I can’t hear Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah and not think of my dad. When I was trying to think of an idea for Z this song popped in my head and I knew it was time to make a post.
I can perfectly picture my dad belting this song out. I see myself on the street I grew up, warm sunshine, lush green grass, shade from the maple and oak trees. When I was little my dad would carry me on his shoulders and sing. My dad sings a lot. His singing to me as a child is the reason I love sharing songs with my students today. This is how we pass on our folk songs and traditions. This is how we connect generation to generation.
I have a book called “The Fox Went Out On A Chilly Night” and it’s held together by duct tape from decades of use. I take it out to sing with my students and I tell them how my dad used to sing it to me when I was a child like they are now. Their eyes get big and they scoot in closer to listen and join me with the town-o, town-o, town-o parts. Now when I take out this book they exclaim, “This is the song your dad sings you!” It makes me smile every time.
When I sing to my students “One finger, One Thumb” I can hear my dad leading the youth group in our church. Making us all jump up and down, frantically waving our limbs trying to keep up with the words and his enthusiasm. My students always appreciate the songs I love, and I love so many songs because of my dad.
I sing when I’m happy. It’s something I’ve noticed about myself because it’s just a general reaction to happiness, not a planned event. What better song to sing to express happiness than Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah? A song that brings me back to my childhood and makes me appreciate the love of music my dad gave to me.
…Plenty of sunshine headin’ my way. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!
Tears stain faces,
Clinging like evening shadows.
Lips tremble, kissed by cold,
Moisture stolen, chapped, blistered.
Saline soaked cheeks
Drenched in humiliation.
A blush of remorse,
Red haze to tinge a guilty conscience.
Strangers crowd into a stuffy room
Clothed in dark, robes of night,
To pay respects to a deadly visitor.
The breath of death on a cool breeze.
Their faces stand clear,
Set in stone, gray and grave.
Eyes blank, but knowing.
What do they know?
Madness. It must be.
But no one shivers,
Shaking with loss.
No one mutters regret.
Non-existent for the moment.
Such an odd display,
People just nodding their heads,
Ignorant to disaster,
Or maybe it was planned.
Tears stain faces.
What wipes the slate clean?
“I need coffee like a junkie needs dope!”
She laughs and injects liquid gold
straight to her vein where it colors
from blue-green to murky brown.
“It wakes me up and makes me feel good.
Look,” she says, “look at my smile.”
And takes a knife to the corners,
widening her grin in jagged edges.
“This doesn’t happen on its own.”
She says, “This can’t just happen you know,
something has to make a smile.
It can’t just happen.”
Sweat is beading on her upper lip,
her forehead slick and moist,
hands are clammy, trembling.
She says, “LOOK at me.”
She says, “Look at ME!”
She was just learning how to sit with this soft sadness. It crept up like a warm blanket, hand-crafted crochet, and promised the comfort of familiarity, the absence of change. She was just learning how to set her face in such a way that her eyes would reflect whoever was looking at her. They would see themselves and be distracted from whatever question they intended to ask. They would look deep and then never manage more than a quick glance as they were reminded of secrets they wanted buried and regrets yet to be faced. They would claim how nice it was to see her and then rush home, not to be heard from again. She was just learning how to entertain her thoughts so she felt more distracted and less like drowning. She asked herself questions she’d never be able to answer. Questions that seemed minuscule in her own life, but for some were their lives. How does a battery work? What does it really mean when cats purr? Why don’t people use more public transportation? She let the questions tumble in her brain and picked one out at random. She guessed solutions and mused different scenarios in her head. She was just learning how to be her own best friend. She was just learning what it meant to be alone. She was just learning, and then, she just was.
after the hourglass has filled
with time-worn sand
turned dusty and coarse
after the air has settled
still and stagnate
after the weight
of disintegrated decay
that plagued the mind
after the realization
that change is inevitable
after the faces
streaked with saline
after the anger
hot and unbridled
comes one perfect moment.
Then, after comes….
I am the fly buzzing in your ear,
flitting this way and that,
just out of reach of your
frantically waving hands.
I am the parched, cracked sponge,
caked with gummy grime
and specks of ancient food.
I am the lip in the sidewalk
that thrusts from the earth,
uneven and begging
for your foot to make contact.
I am the nail in your tire,
letting your air escape
in a slow hissssss
until your tire sinks,
drooping against the pavement
as I proudly perch in my new home.
I am the haunting whisper in your head
that calmly reminds you,
“You aren’t good enough.
You can’t do this.
You are flawed beyond repair.”
I am nagging dread.
I am lingering doubt.
I am creeping fear.
I am persistent anxiety.
I am constant, unrelenting,
but you have a choice.
What will you do with me?
Whenever one of my music students makes a mistake and apologizes for it, I tell them don’t apologize for learning. Making mistakes teaches us what not to do so that we learn what we really should be doing. This doesn’t just apply to playing music, it carries throughout our lives.
Nobody likes the feeling of when they mess up, but if we could change our perspectives around mistakes I’m sure we’d do a better job managing regret.
I’m not saying I’ve mastered this concept, but I’m working on it.
One of my 5th grade classes is working on the song Try Everything by Shakira for their Spring Concert. It was featured in the movie Zootopia. I love the lyrics of this song because the message is saying it’s okay to fail as long as you keep trying. One of the lines is actually “I’ll keep on making those new mistakes, I’ll keep on making them everyday”. This is said as a positive!
I still am very hard on myself when I make mistakes, but I’m getting better at putting it back into perspective.
What is your perspective on making mistakes? How do you deal with them?
Kindness is definitely not a flaw. It’s just hard to think of words that start with K. Of course there have been times when I’ve been told I’m “too nice” like that’s a bad thing. Which begs the question: Is being too nice a bad thing?
When can kindness get you in trouble?
My theme should have been “I ask readers a bunch of questions about basic personality traits people typically don’t think twice about.”
One of the biggest times this dilemma has crossed my mind has been in teaching. Many times I am told I’m too nice as a teacher and this leads to classroom management being difficult. Objectively I can see this happening, but then I also see how my students react to me. I think it’s important for children to be able to trust adults and know they are cared for. That is probably my main goal over teaching music, although I think that is super important too. When I get “firm” or “strict” I know I am being “fair”, but I don’t like the way it makes me feel. I just can’t seem to always find a balance. I don’t want to change my personality of always being kind and helpful, but sometimes I’m forced to in the classroom so things run smoothly.
I think this is my biggest doubt of whether I am a good teacher.
I love my job, but I also think it is one of the hardest jobs someone can choose. I need to find the balance between being kind and not being too passive.
Until then, I will lead with kindness. I will always try to be understanding and compassionate. I will keep an open-mind to accept people from all different walks of life. I will risk the struggles and criticism that come with being “too nice” until I find that balance. If life has taught me anything, it’s that I’m much better at dealing with my own pain than handling knowing I’ve hurt somebody else.
Sometimes I try to be funny. I like to think I’m good at making people laugh, but who doesn’t??
My sense of humor can be dark, satirical, biting, and sometimes I’m just plain silly.
We started these top ten lists in high school. They weren’t meant to be funny or sarcastic, but of course I made it that way. So here’s an example of the jokes I make. May it make you laugh or at least chance a flicker of movement in your lips that somewhat resembles a smile.
Top Ten Reasons People Welcome Global Warming:
- “Pale” went out of style fifty years ago.
- Boots are no longer made for snow-wear.
- Bathing suits are cheaper than winter jackets.
- Heat is expensive.
- Frost bite is more serious than global flooding.
- We’ve already invented life vests.
- Titanic fans run a very convincing anti-glacier campaign.
- Skin cancer is curable.
- The human race is indestructible.
- If Earth is destroyed we could totally move to Mars or something.
I’ve done this before-
Watched a cold sunrise
In the darkest blue
That matched your eyes.
The grey dawn rose
With mist seeping through.
Stood tall with skin drenched in thought,
Stood small when I thought of you.
I’ve seen this before-
Decay in evening sky,
Sunlight dying with a soft glow,
The moon was your reply.
Night came creeping in
To replace a faded day.
It seemed light was useless,
But that was always your way.
I’ve felt this before-
Pressure breathing hot.
At first I thought I recognized,
But now I realize I forgot.
A stranger’s face blurred my sight,
Lifted my hands to match the stars.
You shined so bright I couldn’t see your heart.
No, I couldn’t find the light without some dark.
I’ve been here before-
In an unfamiliar place.
I thought I’d be with you,
But you’ve grown that stranger’s face.
I won’t cry anymore,
And I’ll take back my blame,
Because we’ve both changed so much
Still expecting to be the same.
I’ve done this before-
Watched a cold sunrise
In the darkest blue
That matched your eyes.