Q: Do you have something against happy birthdays?

Frames limit & shape what fits inside.

(The question above was posed to Pamela Sackett by a Franklin High School student during the special program described below. This excerpt  is from ELA’s “Full Spectrum Birthday Song” study guide.)*

I visited a high school class, as a guest artist, after the students had listened to The Full Spectrum Birthday Song in honor of a classmate and as a catalyst for learning. The teacher invited me to discuss the song and answer questions. One of the boys in the class wanted to know if I had something against people being happy on their birthdays. Initially, I was surprised by his question and then I quickly realized that the song invites an unfamiliar change in orientation to birthdays from “happy” (a traditional approach) to “full-spectrum” (a new and different approach). ‘Happy’ gets most, if not all, the “good press” so it holds a pretty exclusive place. I let the boy and the class know that, in creating this song, I intended to:

• leave no feeling by the wayside;
• make a festive show of mutual inclusivity for all feelings;
• inspire our human culture to consider “happy” to be one part of a full spectrum of feelings.

Feelings are like letters in the alphabet—are there any you could do without? Like letters, every feeling has its special place and when you add them together, their meaning multiplies. Though it is difficult sometimes to recognize and express some of our feelings, all feelings have a story to tell. It is up to us to discover it. With kind guidance, patience and courage, feelings can be quite enlightening indeed.

*Additional facets on this perspective can be found in the next blog entry: “What is feeling favoritism and feeling equity?”