What is your favorite kid song? Kids songs are amazing things because they avoid the irreversible damages of Alzheimer's.
She could sing every kids song on the recording she had listened to 60 years ago.
When doctors explain differences between short and long term memory, what becomes clear is that our abilities as children were special. Our brains were wired differently, and our perception was instinctive. We were powerful learning machines.
She not only remembered the lyrics to every kids song, but the melody was precisely imprinted as well, and she knew it all by heart - all the minor details, every dynamic and stylistic change. But she could not remember what she had for lunch.
There's something truly amazing about long term memory - being able to recall distinct events from one's youth with clarity. As we age, we lose many of these old recollections, but some remain with a vividness that is astonishing. And for many individuals, this long term memory is imprinted in ways that make it more durable than the short term memory of daily events in the present.
And after each kids song ended, her memory was so good that she could announce the next one, singing each in the order it appeared on the recording through all 16 songs. Yet she was unable to recognize her own daughter.
This poor woman's story has a powerful message that those of us who write for children must acknowledge. It is clear that kids' minds are special. That kids are empowered in ways that adults are not. Young children far surpass their parents in the ability to learn new languages, melodies, and other audio stimuli.
If we recognize these unique abilities of young minds, as creators of music and songs for kids, we take on some special responsibilities. We must make an effort to never underestimate the intelligence of the child. It is our duty, when creating kids songs to implant smart ideas, and to encourage discovery outside the box. Those littlle ears are taking it in and learning it cold. Perhaps 60 years or more later, they will still remember what we piped in when they were young.
So yes, it's kids songs. And these kids songs are more important than you realize. Rattling around in our brains are all those unique memories associated with melodies, implanted at a time when we were better able to handle cognitive stimuli. And when over time, we forget everything else, we'll probably still be singing some kids songs. We want them to be worth remembering.