Used to be it was just geezers sittin’ around in their rockers shakin’ their heads saying that timeworn phrase: “Isn’t it awful?”
Lately we’ve heard it out of the mouths of boomers, millennials and whatever you call the people in our nation’s catapult —and even in churches where God may say, “Ahem, so now what?”
Skip the “isn’t it awful” — everyone knows. Get on with possible solutions! What is it that’s awful? What can we all do to start working on improvement? Do you simply have faith that someone (else) will pull us out of “awful” government? A learned scientist? Aliens from a friendly planet? Divine intervention? Lassie?
Admirable, but we still can offer some positive action. It takes clear thinking, creativity, camaraderie. Positive outdoes negative.
And where do we get this?
First, a chorus of Bing Crosby’s “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive.” As the lyrics say, “eliminate the negative … don’t mess with Mr. In-between.” That’s the guy who sits there sighing “isn’t it awful” and does nothing. Sing away!
Music, it lightens your mood, your step, your “isn’t it wonderful-ness.” Studies show the great positive effects music provides. It settles your brain and organizes it into the most positive thinking patterns and responses. It can make you think more deeply, more productively and more creatively. This is why schools should accentuate music. Learning the structure of music is basic to thinking about just about everything.
Music is eternal, friendly, inclusive and fun. Kids often say being in a music group or on a team keeps them in school. Teachers who incorporate music into classes find it helps students learn the subject. Preachers know the importance of music — the great classics for their emotional depth, the simpler songs for their simplicity.
Our founding fathers knew that people coming together to solve issues, make decisions, benefitted from some singing — bringing people together, getting the brain going and smiling! A quick warm-up of “Yankee Doodle.”
The ancient Greeks had the idea. Their string theory connected the universe with the world as one harmonious entity. Perhaps that’s a path for peace. Park Hill’s One World Singers have that belief. Music is shared by all people, from the first who imitated a birdsong long ago.
How harmonious the world, or even the present scene here and now, might be! We needn’t burst into song at the bang of a gavel — though wouldn’t that be something. But you might find a group with whom to sing or play an instrument, or dance or go to a play, to read and write poetry. This connection with the harmony of the arts, the discipline of the mind, the connections with others, our similar DNA, our worldwide need to save the planet could carry over into the productive good work far beyond “isn’t-it-awful.”
Don’t you groan when folks do that, end with that helpless shrug and remark? I mean, really, isn’t it awful! Roll your eyes and launch into “Yankee Doodle.”
Diana Helper has written for the Wash Park Profile for 35 of the 63 years she and her husband have lived in Denver. She works on projects with the city, University of Denver, Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation, Open Space and Parks and Recreation.
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