“Take a Walk with Words” today — teach a little poem to your kids…
People ask me all the time, “How are you so close to your adult kids? How does this happen?”
I’ve given this thought, of course, because I am close to my 4 adult kids. I think there are lots of reasons, the biggest one being that their Dad and I have always been on the the same page in child rearing, most especially in the areas of Time, Humor, Learning.
We talked a lot with our kids. We shared a lot with our kids. We laughed a lot with our kids. We read a lot with our kids.
Now, we are repeating all of this with our 12 grandkids, ages 4 months – 15 years.
AND I had the great opportunity to teach English and Reading for 30 years, giving me lots of exposure to words, ideas, concepts, literature to share with my kids at just about every age and stage.
I am a great proponent of sharing little poems with kids — short poems, pretty poems, thoughtful poems, funny poems, enlightening poems… emphasis on SHORT.
Take a Walk with Words. Simply l-i-s-t-e-n and you’ll hear a universe of beauty with hardly any sound at all.
Find a moment today. One moment. Everyone shhhhhhhh and listen.
Can you hear it? Can you? 18th century Japanese poet and painter Yosa Buson gives us an extraordinary moment that we may have otherwise overlooked:
On the temple bell
Settles–and is sleeping–
Read the poem aloud to your child, or have your child read the poem to you.
The first read will most likely be a real read with solid syllables and tone… resonant, much like a temple bell itself. But you’ll quickly discover that another read will focus more on the softness of the words Settles and sleeping. You may even find yourselves whispering.
You will feel yourself getting into this extraordinary moment, like magic.
The great surprise and contrast is the butterfly! What sound does the butterfly make as it settles on the bell? What sound does the temple bell make? What exactly is the sound of silence?
How about printing this post and having your children draw the butterfly settling or sleeping. Or find a bell… the tiniest or the biggest bell. (I keep little bells hanging from the knobs of our dining room hutch, just the right height for grandkids!) Touch it lightly, like a butterfly might…
Here, poet Buson offers us our own enhanced sensibilities of magnificent silence in this moment. A image in the slowest of motion. An extraordinary ordinary!
All that in one moment.
Talk to your children about the hundreds, thousands, millions of beautiful moments that come and go in haste. We must be careful to recognize them. A baby settling in with a blanket. A brewing cup of tea. A snowflake on a mitten. A leaf falling from a tree. A leaping frog. The moment you hold someone’s hand. Just before the bell rings for recess.
Poetry is always ready to communicate these magnificent moments with kids. Be ready, too. It’s all about the WORDS. The tiny details. The sounds, even if it’s silence.
The sharing. The reading. The talking. The smiling. The moments captured.
Take a walk with words today. Bring your kids along! Read a poem. Look for the beauty in the ordinary.
It’s a gift!