Tag Archives: children folklore

Freeze Tag

Informant: The informant is my sibling. A Mexican American boy who is 14 years old and currently an 8th grader at a charter school in Los Angeles California. 

Context: The following excerpt is a conversation that happened when both of us were discussing some of our favorite school recess games. One of them froze tag and the following transcript describes how he remembered playing freeze tag in elementary school. In the excerpt I refer my sibling as J.


J: “When my class or group of friends played, I remember specifically that it was always a girl vs boys tag. It was really fun because it was always a competition to prove who was the best. The tagger is chosen at random, and they have to try to run around as quickly as possible to catch or freeze the runners. When someone was tagged what happened next, is that they are frozen there on the spot and they have to be unfreezed by their teammates. If you see your teammate being freezed, then you have to make the decision of either risking yourself.”

Analysis: Having played this version when I myself in the past brought a lot of nostalgia. My sibling and I have an age difference of 6 years old. Therefore, seeing how much this game has kept the same demonstrates just how much this game has become almost like given tradition. Freeze tag is something that every child should or at least all of them experience. Because there is a lot of running: the child who is the “it” is able to develop critical thinking skills to “touch” the runner. In addition, there is a lot of social skills that are developed as there has to be communication between the runners in order to save themselves from the “it.” When it come to the competition of both sexes, I think it just demonstrates how both are being able to explore their identities.

“Ich bin klein”

Main piece:

Ich bin klein

mein Herz ist rein

darf niemand drin wohnen

als Jesus allein.


Informant’s English translation:


I am small,

My heart is pure,

So no one will live in my heart but Jesus alone.


Context: The informant (DB) is a first generation immigrant from Germany; her mother is from Silesia, Germany, and her father is from what was previously known as East Prussia, so she is fluent in both German and English. She was raised Christian but does not consider herself very religious. DB grew up in Orlando, Florida, has two kids, and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Our conversation took place while eating quesadillas for lunch our home in Atlanta. The informant heard this nursery rhyme from her mother, who heard it from her mother, who heard it from her mother. She values it because it’s “such a simple yet sweet prayer that any child can understand.” DB remembers “Ich bin klein” as the one solitary moment she shared with her mother before bed; despite their busy life and large family, they were always able to regroup and return to each and God at the end of the day.   

Personal thoughts: Popular Christian prayers tend to involve long sentences or invoke complex biblical concepts, which can be especially confusing for children. Take the Lord’s Prayer, for instance – one line reads: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” An 8-year-old has no grasp on temptation or evilness. Although these kinds of prayers are touted to be family friendly, many times children will simply recite them word-for-word without actually being able to fully understand what they are saying. The beauty of the “Ich bin klein” prayer is that it begins by reinforcing the innocence and simplicity of child (“I am small / my heart is pure”), which are words a child can easily grasp, and ends with an affirmation that the child reciting the prayer loves Jesus (“So no one will live in my heart by Jesus alone”). Bam. Easy. No mumbo jumbo about debts and trespassing – just an affirmation of a child’s purity and love for Jesus.