The airwaves were all aflutter this morning over a local school district's decision to stop a middle school choir from performing a parody of The Twelve Days of Christmas. According to the news reports, some of the parents were uncomfortable about some of the lyrics, namely the parts about shooting the partridge and ringing the necks of the turtle doves.
Plenty of listeners chimed in, insinuating that these parents (and the school district) were uptight killjoys who are taking the matter way too seriously. Perhaps.
I happen to like parodies. I write them myself. My daughters have oftentimes awaken to the refrain of my very own Monday Mornin' Blues. Ask my coworkers sometime about The Spirituality in the Workplace Committee Blues. I laugh with gusto at the twisted lyrics of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. And I want Forest Lawn played at my funeral.
But... there is a big difference between singing off-color lyrics in the company of family and friends and presenting a musical composition to an audience in a community forum.
The holidays can be exhausting, distressing, downright depressing. A little levity can certainly go a long way toward relieving stress.
But... I'm not entirely sure listening to a bunch of 8th graders sing about killing defenseless animals with their bare hands is congruent with the whole "peace on earth" message of the season.
I think it is absolutely a-okay to joke about and laugh at and make light of, well, just about everything - parenting, relationships, the government, even religion.
But... I also think it is better sometimes to err on the side of caution, take the higher road, think before we speak, show a little class. After all, isn't that the sort of lesson we want our children to learn?