There are many children’s songs that we just blithely sing away in our youth, which, upon closer, adult scrutiny turn up to be not really okay. It’s the holiday season or thereabouts and I recently, absently, found myself humming the popular children’s tune Frosty, the Snowman. As it turns out I am much older now than when this song was a holiday-time staple on my lips. I also know now, much more than I knew then (allegedly).
My recent humming of this popular children’s favorite left me with a sinking feeling in my gut. Maybe Frosty, the Snowman isn’t such a happy holiday song after all. It’s a song which promotes disobedience, unnecessary risk-taking, the fleeting nature of friendship, the crushing forces of lost love, and death. Not really holiday time themes, right?
One of my first qualms with Frosty, the Snowman upon closer examination is the whole premise. A snowman, we all learn rather quickly is an ephemeral item. Frosty will one day quite soon be no more. Of course we all die but is introducing such a transient character as Frosty the Snowman to children really such a good idea in the first place? Meet this snowman, be enraptured by his good humors, have fun with him, love him even. He’ll be gone before you know it.
The song Frosty, the Snowman also elicits children to disobey authority. Laugh at them even! That uniformed officer? Pay him no bother. Laugh about it now, you are young. No harm can befall you; you’re invincible, remember? You’re young! So go out, run into that busy intersection! When you escape unscathed, you will be vindicated. Unless, of course the juvenile justice system catches up with you. Or you may even suffer death if you cross paths with an SUV. But it’s okay; it’s the holidays!
Frosty, the Snowman also leaves. Fair weather friend. Or foul weather friend as it were. Just when you thought you and Frosty had made a real connection, he’s all “oh my bad! I’ll be back again. One day!” A young child’s first “don’t call me, I’ll call you.”
No “Frosty, the Snowman” is not a song which should be sung, but it will be. And while lo the erstwhile days of our youth may be behind us, the lessons learned from Frosty, the Snowman in our former years are undoubtedly lessons worth teaching our children before they learn them the hard way.