What was Michael’s message? How was he like some of the kids in our classrooms?
He refused to grow up. He was a modern day Peter Pan in his Neverland, with his own lost boys. Lisa Marie, his Wendy, couldn’t lure him out of his refusal to participate in the world.
Look at his dancing. His body movements on stage signalled his refusal. Slouched shoulders, head down, perhaps from too much pressure too young – no chance to just be a kid? A furtive kick with the right foot with no real hope of landing a blow? The fedora and the mask to protect the identity of the real kid?
Just some thoughts about why people hide, even in front of millions of people. Whether Michael hid from life in his made up world or embraced it fully can be a decision left for the critics.
I see a little of Michael in a lot of my students. Do our students hide from us? Do we ask them to do too much when they are too young? Do they slouch and hide? Do they quickly kick back at us if they are able? Like Michael’s dad, do we ask them to do too much, and so weaken them?
Maybe this wonderful artist, this great example of the best of America, had to produce too much too early. Maybe he couldn’t just sit around and enjoy growing up. Maybe Michael wasn’t told enough stories.