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Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall

And, You Guessed It… Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall!

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty back together again.

Humpty Dumpty is an English nursery rhyme that traces its origin back to the late 1700s. In 1870, a newer version that has become a classic among children’s rhymes over the years was introduced. Now, some 150+ years later, this rhyme can still be recited by most young – as well as young at heart – folks today. But, what – if anything – does that rhyme really mean?

Although Humpty Dumpty is never actually referred to as an egg in the rhyme, the image that most folks conjure up of this fictional character is an animated egg. An egg? Really?!?  Over the years, several theories have emerged as to the “hidden” meaning of this popular nursery rhyme. Some of these are as follows:

  1. It denotes the fleeting power of nature.
  2. It means basically the same thing as “sitting on a fence” – which means the same thing as being indecisive on making a choice about something, and how things can fall apart in the end if the wrong decision is made.
  3. It demonstrates that a shell of any kind is but a “fragile” covering that is an attempt to “protect” us from harm… or, from spilling out.
  4. It points out the risks that come from a position of authority, or sitting “above” other folks.
  5. It indicates that folks with pride – who fancy themselves as being “higher” than other folks – actually have further to fall when reality sets in. And, when they do, often the results are not pretty.

In all likelihood, the nursery rhyme was probably just that: a nursery rhyme. And, there is likely no riddle to the rhyme. But, it did get me to thinking about a theory in terms of children since, after all, that’s the audience to whom the rhyme is directed.

What if that is what happens when we set our children on a pedestal, so to speak, by not teaching them the importance of considering others’ feelings… and, by giving them the false impression that their needs are the only important ones? By not discipling our children, are we as parents guilty of giving them the illusion that they are much more important than others… and, that they are on top of their game, no matter what? And, then when reality sets in – as it is certain to do sooner or later – our children are not able to handle it… and, so they fall? And, sometimes, they fall to such depths that not the most skilled doctors, not the most knowledgeable counselors, and not even the most love that we can bestow upon them is enough to correct the problem?  What are we to do then… or, is it too late? Has the damage already become so deep that it is irreparable?

This is just one more reason that discipline for children is so important. And, it needs to start at an early age. If we set our children up to believe that they are above all reproach, then most assuredly, we are likely setting them up for failure. This failure can manifest itself in a variety of ways, from depression to bullying, and everything in between.  In some extreme cases, it can even result in suicide.

Parents, it is important to discipline your children… but, be sure to do it with an “eggs”-tra measure of love!