Wednesday, August 30, 2006

the end of summer

It's almost that time. Tonight I went to Shakespeare in the park. It was cozy under the blanket, and just a little chilly walking back to the car. Unmistakably, summer is coming to an end. In my house, that means back to school (for three of us this year as I will be taking on some college courses as instructor this season). Even without that transition, I would know it is time for a change.

Another change came into my awareness as my son and I were driving home tonight. Something made me recall the song "Little Bunny Foo Foo". . . and after we laughed about it, my son said, "what little kids don't realize is that really just tells you to listen to your parents. It's very manipulative." Hmmm. Good catch. Or at least a good indication of where the "us/them" metre is running with him as he thinks about his final year of high school.

Stories work that way - even silly ones reinforce patterns, and the patterns they reinforce depend on the common ground that exists between the story (which might have existed for hundreds of years), the teller, and the listener. Little Bunny Foo Foo is about funny sounds and repetition - about action shared between an adult and a toddler, about the dangers of violence. It's also about listening to your parents if you want to grow into your true self. All of these meanings are simultaneously present in one simple, funny, little song.

Tomorrow, someone will tell you a story about change. You'll be sure that you know exactly what it means - you'll know who you are in the story. Take a deep breath. Just for fun, be someone else in that story. Find out what other meanings are held present, waiting to be noticed.

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