if I had a hammer

Pete Seeger is dead at 94.

My radio was playing “If I had a hammer” this morning when the alarm went off.  What great music to rise to! And I was reminded of a chat with a young person just two weeks ago about that very song.  Justin is a 5th grader at our church and he and I collaborated to present an intergenerational book read on a Wednesday evening.  The book we used was Don’t Laugh At Me inspired by the Steve Seskin  song by the same title. don't laugh at me

I looked at many books when I was preparing to be a part of this project. What clinched it for me  was the fact that Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary was inspired to create Operation Respect, a social awareness program for schools and other communities because of this song.  I ordered the lesson guide and shared it with Justin and we did a few of the activities with an intergenerational group of about 30 people.

One of the suggestions in the guide is to sing If I had a Hammer.  When mentioned this to Justin he said, “I don’t know that song, I’ll have to learn it.” His moms sure know the song; they were belting it out that night.  What a joyous sound we all made thanks to some fine guitar playing by our pastor.

So here’s to Pete Seeger and another generation of kids who need to learn to sing his songs.

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4 thoughts on “if I had a hammer

  1. Your title for your post intrigued me. I had never heard the song so had to listen to it on YouTube before responding! Your idea of intergenerational book read is fantastic! It made me think of something that I could do at school.

  2. “If I Had a Hammer” – A bit of history: It was first sung by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays in 1949 at a testimonial dinner for leaders of the U.S. Communist Party who were on trial for advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government.

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