Summer is here. That doesn’t mean I will be running in a bikini-clad body toward an ocean because with an arthritic hip that has no cartilage left, I will not be running anywhere. Summer means I can open my windows and remind the neighbors that I know all the words to “Hello, Dolly,” and everything Karen Carpenter ever recorded. Yeah, I am that neighbor. I sing loud AND off-key. Who cares?
The fact that I am not a good singer doesn’t matter. I just sing. I don’t need permission to sing.
In an interview with Tom Snyder about 30 years ago, Jeff Goldblum gave his rendition of the theme song to “Jurassic Park” with words that he wrote: “In Jurassic Park, scary after dark. I’m so scared I’ll be eaten.” He was not a good singer, either. He pointed out something that is so very true and so very sad at the same time.
According to Jeff, you go to a group of 5-year-olds and ask them, “Can you sing?” They will all say, “Yes! What do you want us to sing?” You can ask them if they play an instrument and they all say, “Yes! What do you want us to play?” You can ask them if they can draw and they all say, “Yes! What picture do you want?” You ask them if they can dance and they reply, “Yes! We love to dance!”
Fast forward just 10 very short years and asked those same questions to the same group of kids, and you hear answers like, “No, I can’t sing,” or “I only sing a little.” You will hear, “I play piano a little bit,” and, “I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler” and, “No, I can’t dance at all.”
What happens in that short ten years? Someone says, “Don’t quit your day job because you can’t sing,” “You piano playing sucks,” “What is THAT a picture of?” “Your dancing looks like a fawn on a frozen lake.”
Those enthusiastic 5-year-olds turn into bashful teenagers who are more interested in what others think than what they can actually do. Something is lost as we age and realize there are other people on planet earth besides ourselves. Everyone we meet gets totally judgey. And, those same people feel really bad when people judge them.
Kinda seems like we should all pay more attention to the Golden Rule. You know it. “Treat others how you want to be treated.” Sing out! Dance like crazy! Draw a picture! Learn to play the flute! You don’t need permission to dance, sing, or draw.