Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Imperially Marching to Elmo's Song

With a 7-year old and a 2-year old at home, we go back and forth between the graces of Elmo and the terror of Darth Vader. Watching my two sons be riveted by each, though, the thing that surprises me most is how they're finding joy in the other's favorite.

Last week, before bath time, Tyler and Ben were both in the living room and we were all dancing our hearts out. Initially, we marched and pivoted and jumped and turned and 360-ed in the air as we listened to the Imperial March of Darth Vader's destruction.

Then, we segued into a giddily gleeful romp to Elmo's Song, roaring the words aloud as we cascaded across the carpet.

Each song brings with it a certain amount of engaged interest, and as we danced our way upstairs for bath time, the two songs seemed to synthesize so that we sang a gobbled, garbled mash-up of Elmo and Darth Vader each marching and playing the piano and somewhere amidst the whole big mess laughter erupted.

Though I would never remind him of this outright, my 7-year old son will still sit and be enraptured by Elmo's song. And my 2-year old son can already say "DARTH VADER SCARY!" with big eyes ready to pop out of his head and bo-ing to the wall on the other side of the room.

Their delight in the music of the other reminds me that fun isn't always about what seems 'cool,' or even about what makes sense (as our mash-up taught me). Delight is about finding surprising ways to interact with all that we experience in our lives. Delight is about dancing goofy moves to scary music, and accomplishing some serous tasks--bath!--to the accompaniment of some goofy music.

As a teacher and as an adult, I think I have a lot to learn from imperially marching to Elmo's song. There is joy and delight to be found in rather serious places, and there is a great sense of purpose to goofiness. And maybe our efforts to try to consistently separate the two should be re-examined.