To the Editor: 'Farmer in the Dell' criticism called ludicrous
Written by Laura Pokorny   
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 08:51
I am writing in response the March 27th "letter to the editor" by Charles Maxey, regarding his belief that Toth Elementary School taught the wrong lesson to his daughter's kindergarten class by singing "The Farmer in the Dell;" and the students acting out the lyrics of the song.
I typically remain silent when reading absolutely inane letters to the editor, but this letter struck a nerve.   "The Farmer in the Dell" is a historical "singing game, nursery rhyme and children's song" which can be traced back to its first recording in Germany in 1826.  Its popularity, due in large part to its repetitive lyrics, enabled it to be brought to North America by immigrants, and then spread to many other nations.  Contrary to Mr. Maxey's statements, the actual meaning of the song is simple:  it refers to age-old production.  Historically, a farmer (male) needed a wife to produce children to help on the farm.  This wife then took a child in order to fulfill her duties as a mother and wife; the child took a nurse because one was needed to help in early life; and so forth. Like it or not, that is the hierarchical family structure our society has!  In no way or stretch of the imagination is this significant song something that demeans women, nor is it going to imprint in their minds that they should be dominated!  neither should anyone read into this simple child's song to surmise that it leaves women with a sense of "child-like power in their relationships with men," which ultimately leads them to become battered.  That's positively ludicrous.
How someone could construe a song that is so innocent into a song that threatens a woman's wellbeing is beyond me.   Rather, why doesn't Mr. Maxey write a letter taking a firm stand against things research shows does tend to harm a woman's self-worth and wellbeing?  Such as the existence of strip clubs, prostitution houses, and pornography?  
If our goal is to develop empowered young women, that goal can only be met if it is taught and patterned at home.  
In other words, schools aren't responsible for teaching self-worth - it's the parents' job, and they must lead by example!   When parents are strong and value self, then chances are the children (daughters) will as well.  
Then, and only then, will we have a society that embraces strong, and empowered young women.  
Laura Pokorny

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