Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Whistle While You Work

One thing that people living in the country where their native language is spoken can't possibly appreciate is the ease of understanding the song lyrics. To you it just comes with ease and zero effort. To me - it's a labour intensive experience and unless it's a karaoke night I am reluctant to sing out loud for over a decade now because of - Brian Johnson.

My biggest blooper with language and lyrics happened when my oldest son was 8 or 9 and got introduced to none-other than AC/DC by his "dad" - a wonderful man and a lifelong friend I rarely mention in my writing although he helped a great deal in raising my son. But I feel that the story of love and respect for the man who's on paper my "second ex-husband" deserves way more than just a blog post. No need to worry M, you can keep your anonymity a while longer, the memoir's not quite done yet!

Long story short, the kid got a boom box from his dad and a few CD's and the next thing I know the door to his room is starting to be more and more often shut. The music blaring behind it is angry; bass and drums are fierce seemingly shaking the very foundation of our East York home. I approach the door in order to intervene about the decibels when I hear my otherwise gentle boy's voice growl the most disturbing lyrics. Shocked, stunned and mortified, I run to the backyard where M is fixing their bikes so they can go for some equally savage ride and mistakenly I repeat what I heard, but first - of course - questioning his sanity as a co-parent to provide such disturbing musical content to my child.

AC/DC fan club 
   "Dirty deeds un-der sheets? DIRTY DEEDS UN-DER SHEETS!?"

What ensued was one of those moments that I only remember in slow-motion. M lifting his face towards me, dropping the greased bike chain on the driveway, whole face squinting into a grimace before his 6'5" frame rolled over to the grass patch where he laughed uncontrollably until the kid heard him, paused the music, got told how I understood "Dirty deeds done dirt cheap" , after which they both continued laughing and rolling on the ground - likely until supper time. Which I probably didn't even want to cook for them!

Understandably so, I stayed away from loud singing until this past winter, when my new set of kids (Oops 1 & Oops 2) fell very much in love with the Disney soundtrack. No, not Frozen, thank goodness but an old CD they inherited from their big brother, the AC/DC fan himself: Villain Songs! #boyswillbeboys

And since the best way to motivate the boys to get ready for school in a flash is to make it a competition (the kid that gets his snowsuit, boots, hat, gloves & backpack on first gets 2 songs on our drive to school while the runner up gets only one) I got to hear a lot of that villain music this past winter. Before  e v e r y  drop-off and after  e v e r y  pick-up!

When the lyrics finally managed to sink with my comprehension what stroke me as incredible were the lessons and social queues I totally missed when I used to hear these songs with Filip many years back! Disney Villains offer some seriously good teachings that can turn to be very useful for navigating both personal and professional relationships.

Here are some Disney song gems:

You can sleep safe and sound knowing I am around!
Have you ever been encouraged to trust, to trust so much so that once this convincing someone hears and "takes over" your worries you can actually 'sleep safe and sound' only to find out you've been conned? Well, if you saw the Disney cartoon version of the Jungle Book you have been taught a valuable lesson early on! Be careful who you trust and share your burden with - if you have to be convinced you are safe, it's likely a deception! Trust in me, Kaa is way more than just a pretty name!

Please be careful and say NO!

"I'm not asking much, just a token really, a trifle..."
Along the same lines is the lesson brought by Ursula the Witch. She nonchalantly tells the Little Mermaid it is actually her job to assist her.

"My dear, sweet child, that's what I do
It's what I live for
To help unfortunate merfolk like yourself
Poor souls with no one else to turn to."

The price will become visible only in the end, when it's too late - when the "favour" has already been completed. And when Ursula coldly says: "We haven't discussed the subject of payment" followed by "It won't cost much. Just your VOICE!" I actually had chills! Sometimes in life one is offered a deal at the expense of basic human rights, their voice included. Given my life's experience, I am dying to yell to Ariel each time "Don't do it!" as I listen to her singing naively thinking she made a wise choice by trusting a witch. This is when my sons go in unison, while strapped into their car seats in the back: 
   "Don't worry mama, she'll get her voice back!" 
Thank you boys. True. She WILL get her voice back. Of course she will. Silly me!

The lyrics state: "Whistle loud and long". Please DO!
Good news, it doesn't always take a villain to give sound advice. For all of us locked-up in a Monday to Friday routine sometimes referred to as a rat-race, the Snow White has an easy to follow advice: 
What is more surprising, these exact words are echoed by grown-ass councillors that are trained to career-coach!
"Frozen", just not by fear!
It might sound simple but it is actually quite profound. Whistling can make the time pass quicker. In case the work is dull & done only for the sake of a paycheque, it will remind you there is much more to life than just work. It is also contagious - the more you whistle the more people will join in making for a jolly company that weathers the daily obstacles together. We are never alone in our problems. Taking things lightly is a great strategy!

Ask any little girl and they'll tell you, no they won't tell you, they will sing you one of the most important life lessons we all - me first - need to get better at: Let it go!
The 2013 animated blockbuster "Frozen" offers the best ear-worm ever created and I am sure to be humming it until I fully and totally get it. Life-coaching taught me to never to allow things to be rushed, but rather acknowledged and processed - usually with a group of trustworthy peeps - in order for everything to be understood and closed. It's only then one can fully and completely "Let it go!"

I'll end my Disney-inspired silver screen adventure with an unusual learning. Can an ultimate villain offer a useful advice that actually rings truer than true? Absolutely!

When Daniel wins our little pre-school winter-dressing contest, being a jazzy kind of kid that plays a
Couldn't have said it better myself!
piano, he always chooses: "Cruella de Vil". When Joshua wins - him being a hearty little rascal - it's "Are you in or out" from Aladdin and the Prince of Thieves. When it's my turn, perhaps because of my fondness for choir music - I always pick Lion King's - "Be Prepared". And amazingly enough it is the worst of them all that precisely pinpoints how I feel these days as I enjoy my life, my family and my work while mapping our amazingly fun summer:
"Just listen to teacher:
I know it sounds sordid but you'll be rewarded
When at last I am given my dues!
And injustice deliciously squared.
Be prepared!"

Injustices can be deliciously squared indeed. It just takes a tiny little bit of patience and preparation: know who to trust, whistle while the work is getting done, then simply claim one's voice back. Then it becomes super easy to let it all go!

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