Why The Violence?*

The title of the book was For Laughing Out Loud: Poems To Tickle Your Funny Bone. (Jack Preluitsky, Ed., 1991, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.) The place was an elementary school library. The book jacket declared:  “...132 of the funniest poems ever assembled between book covers. If you believe in the old saying, ‘Laugh, and the world laughs with you,’ then give a copy of this big book to every little giggler you know.” I was curious, so I leafed through the pages. Finding a poem with the simple title, “Grandpapa,” I read:

“Grandpapa fell down a drain;
            Couldn’t scramble out again.
            Now he’s floating down the sewer
            There’s one grandpapa the fewer.”
                                                        - by Harry Graham

This is funny? What else might this editor consider to be funny? I read on and came to, “The Parent.”

            “Children aren’t happy with nothing to ignore,
            And that’s what parents are created for.”                 
- by Ogden Nash

And then there was, “Willie Built A Guillotine.”

“Willie built a guillotine,
            Tried it out on sister Jean.
            Said mother as she got the mop:
            ‘These messy games have got to stop!’”                              
- by William E. Engel

Not disturbing enough? Here’s another gem with the title, “Each Night Father Fills Me With Dread.”

“Each night father fills me with dread           
When he sits on the foot of my bed,
            I’d not mind that he speaks
            In gibbers and squeaks,
            But for seventeen years he’s been dead.”                                                     
- by a man appropriately named Edward Gorey 

As I put this book back in its place on the shelf, I wondered how much we really care about teaching our children the value of life and family. I also wondered if we should be surprised by the disrespect and violence in our society.  

The Message paraphrases Proverbs 22:6: “Point your kids in the right direction--when they’re old they won’t be lost.”

*Edited “thought for the day” written for MidAmerica Nazarene University class in 1999. - Vee

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  1. Okay, then. Spent a week in a classroom full of third-graders?
    Besides, you used to tell Little Audrey jokes, didn't you?
    --and Little Audrey just laughed and laughed!

    1. I don't remember Little Audrey. Was she in our elementary school library? Oh wait, I'm envisioning a little cart that was rolled around to the rooms and served as our library. Is this true or just a figment of my imagination?