Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Good Intentions Miss the Mark

I visited a local television station's website one morning to see the weather forecast and noticed a link to a community page.  I was curious what I would find there, so I clicked.

The first link on the page was for a Holiday Song Book.  I remember these!  When I was growing up, our youth group from church used these sheets when we went caroling.  It was a fun activity and I remember how happy the shut-ins were that we stopped to see and sing for them. Truth be told, they were happy to have any visitors but I suspect a group of young people singing was a special joy for them.

I was surprised to see that the television station still produced them.  [At least, if I remember correctly, they also produced them back when I was young.  It's been quite a few years since I was a young person myself  so I don't quite remember, to be honest. It was one of the local TV or radio stations.  That I know for sure.]  I clicked on the link to look at one.

As you can see, if you click on the link yourself, the sheet contains some small advertisements for local supermarkets who help to finance them and quite a few listings of song lyrics!

I was surprised to see that there were Kwanzaa songs and Hanukkah songs listed as well but as I examined them more closely I realized the songs for those holidays seemed to be made up lyrics set to familiar tunes.  I tried to sing them to myself and noticed that the lyrics weren't a very good fit to the songs in some cases, either.  What's more... I had to wonder if the people who celebrate either of these winter holidays would even consider singing any of those songs if they had an occasion to do so!  I really have to doubt that they would.  Both Kwanzaa and Hanukkah have their own traditions and I think, if they wanted to sing, they would use songs that were written for their particular holidays -not new lyrics set to older tunes.

The truth is that, even though the station was trying to be inclusive by listing songs for Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, they really were trying too hard.  Worse, it seems almost insulting to folks who follow those traditions to include these songs on the song sheet at all as it seems like whoever made up the lyrics didn't spend a lot of time on them.

Don't get me wrong.  I am all for being inclusive during this time of year.  I prefer for folks to wish each other a Happy Holiday rather than Merry Christmas unless they are sure that the folks they are greeting are Christian.  It just feels right  to do so.

This particular attempt to be inclusive has fallen flat, I'm afraid.  While I'm sure they meant well, I don't think they accomplished what they tried to do.

Image of Echo II - a balloon satellite - courtesy of NASA  More about balloon satellites can be found here.

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