"Racheal, you have to be more PC." But it’s historically accurate. Don’t we owe that to the kids? "No." Hmph.
Let me backtrack a moment: Remembrance Day is a big deal in our house. Every year I bring out Linda Granfield’s amazing books, and proudly pin, lose, re-pin, lose again and finally blu tack poppies to everyone’s jackets and coats. This year I was also going into Baby Boy’s grade 1 class to teach music and figured, along with singing the alphabet song backwards (it’s a great party trick at pub nights), some WWI songs would be fun. I’d already made the mistake of letting the bairn watch Captain America thinking it would somehow be a terrific learning tool, but as soon as Hugo Weaving came on the screen, I knew I’d made a critical parenting error. Though we did have a good talk about reverse engineering, so I’m not completely in the bad mom books and *think* Santa will refrain from lumps of coal, I was not prepared to make the same mistake again. Till The Boys Come Home (Keep The Home Fires Burning) is a beautiful song and an easy way to talk about anti-bullying and supporting your friends. The problem was Pack Up Your Troubles. I’ve been singing it with the bairn for years. I mean, they did use it for a laptop commercial. But the problem is, in the Dell ad, they didn’t sing the actual lyrics. Mom, what’s a kit bag? It’s a duffle bag. What’s a Lucifer? It’s a match. What’s a fag? It’s a… Uh-oh. If I tell the truth and say it’s a cigarette, I’ll have to get into the “cigarettes are super bad for you but people didn’t know that then" conversation. Again. So I could tell them, also truthfully, it’s a small twig or piece of bark used as kindling to start a fire. But then I’d have to get into a convo about fire safety and that’s next month’s scheduled lecture. Then there’s the reason I ended up in the office in the first place. Because it’s not PC to use that word. We all know how it’s used now and the connotations. I wish we could re-claim it. I mean gay was a happy word until some people decided it wasn’t, but I digress. In the end, I changed the line to “When you’ve a Lucifer to light your flame, smile boys, that's the style…” And as the song says " What's the use of worrying? It never was worthwhile, so pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile." Everyone sang along and the class was a huge success. Except for one kid who asked: What’s Tipperary anyway and who really cares about the Irish? Oh brother… In earnest, please take a moment on the 11th to remember the people we've lost and the sacrifices they made for us.