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The Three Songs That Made Me, Me

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In a world permeated with the desire to be different, there is one melody that has united many people across our country at one point in their lives. The text that accompanies this tune has been penned three separate times, as “Ba Ba Black Sheep” in 1744, as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in 1806, and finally, as “The Alphabet Song” in 1834. Although they are simply nursery rhymes, these songs have taught me a great deal about what it means to be human.
As a child, I had my own rendition of “Twinkle Twinkle,” which my parents recorded. I had an “r distortion” as a child so it sounds like I have a Boston accent, but it’s the thought that counts. At first glance, the song appears to be a juvenile jingle about a child’s curiosity, but upon further inspection, it becomes apparent that there’s much more to it. The song expresses a childish innocence that naturally diminishes as we get older. When was the last time you looked up on a clear night and really took it in? The feeling of wonder that accompanies gazing up at the night sky has never been lost on me. I love the serene beauty of nature, and I frequently take walks after the sun has set to take in the dark, diamond studded blanket that embraces us. Most people look down, I look up.
The second song that I learned from is “Ba Ba Black Sheep.” Just four short years ago, two nurseries in England decided to change the words of the song to “Ba Ba Rainbow Sheep,” because they felt “black” was offensive. As a Social Work major at my university, any instance of apparent racism is a concern; this however, is an instance of political correctness gone too far. This song has taught me to be aware of offensive language to a certain extent, but not to take accusations too far if they’re not called for.
Finally, there’s the “Alphabet Song.” Almost everyone in our country learns their ABC’s as a child and the “Alphabet Song” is the easiest way to do so. I’ve always thought it’s incredible that humans are able to express our feelings to other people by making a few simple marks with a pen, and the ABC song was essential in providing me with the tools to communicate with others.
The simple melody that serves as a backdrop for these three songs has taught me what it is to be an individual. They taught me to retain a childish innocence, to be aware of intolerance in our society, and the importance of effective communication. If three completely different texts can be molded to the same tune while retaining their meaning, then surely the text of our humanity can be set to the tune of love.





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