Yesterday, June 27, was Captain Kangaroo's birthday. He was born in 1927 and died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 76 in 2004.
When I was a little girl, I faithfully tuned in to WBIR, Channel 10, Knoxville, Tennessee every morning at 9:00 a.m. for my daily dose of the Captain and his crew at the Treasure House: Mr. Greenjeans, Tom Terrific. Dancing Bear, Mr. Moose, Grandfather Clock, and the very naughty Bunny Rabbit.
Yesterday, I was talking with my friend Mary Ann about the Captain. "Bunny Rabbit was my favorite," I said. Of course, I had a fixation on bunnies in general as a child, imagining a six foot rabbit frozen in the grain of the wooden door of my bedroom and keeping my mother's old powder puffs in a Loveman's box and calling them my pet bunnies (because bunnies have powder puff tails, remember?)
Mary Ann said that Bunny Rabbit had also been her favorite character. "Maybe it was the glasses,' she ventured. "Oh, it wasn't the glasses for me," I said. "Bunny Rabbit was naughty, tricky and disobedient, all traits to which I aspired."
That's true. I've always had a disobedient mind. When I was little, it felt like a curse at times because my parents were not unwilling to take the most draconian measures to enforce obedience. My life would have been easier if I had just fallen in line, but falling in line was never in my nature. Now that I'm older, I know that a questioning, disobedient mind is a gift and I would not want any other.
Just as I was when I was a little girl, I'm still stubborn and think for myself. And yes, I've made a lot of mistakes, but at least they've been my mistakes, not somebody else's.
I've been thinking about the word 'disobedient' a lot lately. It seems to me that there is increasing societal pressure to be unquestioningly obedient to all sorts of big and little authority figures with a corresponding escalation in the use of strong arm enforcement and disregard for civil rights.
Consulting the dictionary, I find that 'obedience' is "the act or practice of obeying; dutiful or submissive compliance.' Synonyms given are 'submission, subservience, and deference.' Further, in ecclesiastical contexts, obedience is defined as 'the rule or authority that exacts (such) conformity.'
I have known many people in my life but none whose whose hearts, minds or spirits have merited submission, subservience or deference. There certainly aren't any politicians I'd put in that category; they strike me as a fairly debased group in general.
I did not nor would I put my parents in that category either. I loved my parents but they had their own set of troubles and were at least as fallible as anyone else.
Wracking my brain, I cannot think of any preacher or religious figure, other than Jesus Christ himself, who is worthy of obedience. I notice in the Gospels that Jesus doesn't appear to be very concerned about nitpicking obedience either. His commandments were very few: love God, love each other, and stop judging.
I think of disobedience now as one of the virtues of a broad, questioning and independent mind. I don't want to be a sheeple. I still want to be like Bunny Rabbit.
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