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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Rare Sure Thing

The single factor that has most dissuaded me from ever seriously considering living in a 55 and over community is the restriction some of them have about young children. There are few non-musical sounds I enjoy more than the screaming laughter of children.

As three young boys bounded into the local coffee shop a few days ago with the adult accompanying them saying "shush", my internal conversation went something like this -
* Is there such a thing as being too exuberant?
* What price do we pay by tamping our enthusiasm out of consideration for others? Is there an age limit regarding that tamping?
* What does it mean to be "polite" in a public space?

I wonder how many times I "shushed" my daughter when she was around the same age as those boys in the coffee shop. I wonder if back then some neutral adult observer watching me had an internal conversation anything like mine. I wonder what your conversations (internal or otherwise) about childhood laughter, exuberance and enthusiasm - and what happens to those things as we learn consideration and politeness - sound like. Why not share them here with me as I continue my wondering? I'm sure about few things but I am sure anyone reading this was a child at one time.  


  1. 'Exuberance is beauty.'
    --William Blake

  2. Where to begin??? I will keep it short, though this is a topic that is very important to me on so many levels.

    In a culture where there are so many negative sounds that need to be silenced, I've not only neglected to stop the exuberant happiness of my children, but have openly caused and encouraged it! One of my favorite times to cause their laughter is standing in line while the adults around them, who know better how to be 'socially acceptable', choose to roll their eyes or make comments regarding the length of time the line is taking to move. Nothing brings attention and focus back to what is truly important like children being happy in circumstances that adults cannot seem to handle.

    I say, let them laugh! And if you don't mind, I will join right in with them, laughing, breaking into song, even dancing with the baby in the aisle at Wegmans as life's journey happily moves along.


  3. Anonymous; Thanks for the Blake quote - very apt.

    d: Love your comment. I especially like how you are actively encouraging that wonderful sound in your own children, notwithstanding the "shushing" adults that seem to be everywhere. And you are so spot-on re the observation about the ubiquity of "negative" sounds surrounding us vs. the joy that the healing sound of childhood laughter can bring to the world. I wish I'd thought about that contrast as I was writing the post - would have made it richer.

  4. I felt the need to share with you that, because of this post, all day I was humming a song by one of my favorite Folk artists, John Gorka. The song, "Good Noise",is one that I like to sing to my children, especially when they need to silence their misery and replace it with happiness. While I am certain his work is simplistic from the 'musician' point of view, Gorka's optimistic outlook on life comes through. Maybe you'll enjoy it, maybe not. But I challenge you to listen to this particular tune and not feel the desire to spread some good noise!

    Thanks for your reply to my comment. d.