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Editorial

Even children’s songs ask questions about how much is enough

When will enough be enough?  When will a lot be too much?” chime the words of a children’s CD that comes with the book, “Baxter Barret Brown’s Bass Fiddle” by Tim McKenzie.

Associating with young children exposes us to multiple repetitions of their favorite songs and stories.  About 35 years ago, my family wore out a Muppets cassette that included the song, “We’re on our way.”  I don’t remember trying very hard to replace it.  However, it has become a part of family lore.

The installation of tape decks and CD players in cars has increased the likelihood exponentially.  On a recent trip, my young grandchildren acquired a copy of “Baxter Barret Brown’s Bass Fiddle.”

The CD includes a reading of the story with bass fiddle page turning cues and a number of separate songs.  Every time we climbed into the car, a small assertive voice from way in the back requested channel 5.

Like many people, Baxter Barret Brown has trouble deciding when enough is enough:  “I just want it all, and maybe a little bit more.”

Baxter loves playing his bass fiddle, so he wants it with him at all times.  He mounts parts of his bicycle, including “a big Ah-oo-Gah horn” on it, so that he has Baxter Barret Brown’s bass fiddle bicycle.

As he rides about he finds more to add, and the name of this wonderful conveyance becomes increasingly complex:

“I don’t want to have everything that I see.  Just one of each should be plenty for me,” he sings.

When he has added everything he thinks he needs, he is so happy he thinks some music is in order.  However, his beloved bass fiddle is no longer playable, so he goes back to basics.  Maybe. 

The conversations about the story with an almost four-year-old are reminiscent of the girl in Peanuts who had read Goldilocks and could discuss it intelligently.

It’s a funny little story and children enjoy the improbabilities, but it also makes sense on a symbolic level:

“When will we have enough stuff? When will we learn that we never can have too much love?” the song asks.

These are questions we adults and people of faith need to ponder as we respond to today’s economic struggles or world conflicts growing out of greed.

Perhaps we need nagging, repetitive songs with messages we need to consider so that we embed them as the basis of healthy relationships and economics in our lives.

Who would expect that, as reported during May, people who are poor give a higher percentage of their income than those who are wealthy!

For those struggling financially, awareness of what it’s like to live at the edges of “enough” may give a clearer concept of what is enough for their own survival and what others need for survival.

Nancy Minard - Editorial Team