“Ring Around the Rosie…”

Ryan Webb is a recent graduate from the University of Southern California. He received a bachelor’s degree in Print Journalism and Political Science. He is a fourth generation English-German-American and grew up in the small town of Somis, a farming community near the larger city of Camarillo, California. He is twenty-three years old. During his childhood he attended the Calvary Chapel in Camarillo, a place where he spent much of his time involved in activities with the children’s and youth ministries.

Ryan claims to have first learned how to play this game at church when he was about three years old. He said that he learned it from the other children in his Sunday school class. He says that the underlying text of the game is supposed to be about the Plague in Europe, but he does not know why children are fascinated with this game. He believes that children are simply ignorant of the lyrics and messages contained within the songs they sing and the games they play. In addition to playing the game personally, Ryan recalls times when he shared the game with younger children, such as those he babysat for, as he grew older.

According to Ryan, the game starts as the players stand in a circle and join hands. Then the players step forward while still connected to the circle, then the circle revolves around in a circular fashion as the children sing, “Ring around the rosie, pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down.” At the point when this song is finished, everyone in the group falls down to the ground as though they have died.

It seems apparent that while Ryan may be correct in that the children are ignorant of the lyrics of some games, by the mere fact that the children are playing dead it appears that they understand the deeper meaning of this sing-song game. They are ultimately aware that when everyone falls down it is to represent the death of those, which are sung about in the song. This may prove evidence to the way in which children learn deep concepts about life, such as the inevitable presence of death in the world, through the format of a game or song.