My cousin, Lisa, emailed me asking for a poem. This is what she said,
“You are such an inspiring mom to me. I am looking for a little inspiration one more time! This year, I am trying to choose a poem that my whole family can memorize and use to inspire them to continue to reach onward and upward! I have several that are too long for my littles. Last year we chose the trite but VERY effective poem “Stick To The Task.”
Stick to Your Task
Stick to your task ’til it sticks to you, beginners are many, but enders are few.
Honor, power, place and praise will always come to the one who stays.
Stick to your task ’til it sticks to you, grin at it, sweat at it, smile at it too.
For out of the grin and the sweat and the smile,
will come life’s victories after awhile.
“Seriously, the power having this little poem memorized gave my kids all year was surprising and awesome. Our oldest son actually used it as the title and unifying theme of his 8th grade writing portfolio. And it seemed to weave it’s message into everyone’s lives. So far this year I have several possibilities but none seem perfect for all ages. Do you have any ideas of poems that we could memorize or use to start off 2011?”
So I pulled out a couple of my poetry books and found some great possibilities. Now Lisa has inspired me to do the same thing with our children this year! I’m excited to share these with you!
Better to strive and climb, and never reach the goal,
Than to drift along with time, an aimless, worthless soul.
Aye, better climb and fall, or sow, though the yield be small,
Than to throw away day after day, and never strive at all.
Let Me Be
Let me be a little kinder, let me be a little blinder,
to the faults of those about me; Let me praise a little more,
Let me be when I am weary, just a little bit more cheery,
Let me serve a little better, those that I am striving for.
Let me be a little braver when temptation bids me waver;
Let me strive a little harder to be all that I should be.
Let me be a little meeker with the brother that is weaker,
Let me think more of my neighbor and a little less of me.
That Really Matters
My mother says she doesn’t care about the color of my hair,
Or if my eyes are blue or brown, or if my nose turns up or down.
She says she doesn’t care for things like that.
It really doesn’t matter.
My mother says she doesn’t care, if I’m dark or if I’m fair,
Or if I’m thin or if I’m fat. She says she doesn’t care for things like that.
It really doesn’t matter.
But if I cheat or tell a lie, or do mean things to make folks cry,
Or if I’m rude or impolite and do not try to do what’s right,
Then that really does matter.
It isn’t looks that makes one great. It’s character that seals your fate.
It’s what you are within your heart, you see, that makes or mars your destiny.
And that really does matter.
What Is A Family?
A family is a blessing, it means so many things,
Words could never really tell the joy a family brings…
A family is mutual love, the love of a dad and mother,
Showing children how to love and care for one another…
A family is heartfelt pride, the feeling deep and strong,
That makes us glad to play a part and know that we belong…
A family is always home, a place where we can share
Our joys and sorrows, hopes and dreams for happiness lives there…
A family is a bond of faith that even time can’t sever,
A gift to last throughout our lives-A family is forever.
No Sense In Pretense
You tell what you are by the friends you seek,
By the manner in which you speak.
By the way you employ your leisure time,
By the use you make of dollar and dime.
You tell what you are by the things you wear,
By the spirit in which your burdens bear,
By the sense of humor that you display
By the music that your stereo plays.
You tell what you are by the way you walk,
By the things of which you delight to talk,
By the manner in which you bear defeat,
By so simple a thing as how you eat.
By the books you choose from the well-filled shelf;
In these ways and more, you tell on yourself.
So there’s really no particle of sense
In any effort at pretense.
A little kingdom I possess where thoughts and feelings dwell,
And very hard I find the task of governing it well;
For passion tempts and troubles me, a wayward will misleads,
And selfishness its shadow casts on all my words and deeds.
How can I learn to rule myself, to be the child I should,
Honest and brave, nor ever tire of trying to be good?
How can I keep a sunny soul to shine along life’s way?
How can I tune my little heart to sweetly sing all day?
Dear Father, help me with the love that casteth out my fear;
Teach me to lean on thee, and feel that thou art very near,
That no temptation is unseen, no childish grief too small,
Since thou, with patience infinite, doth soothe and comfort all.
I do not ask for any crown, but that which all may win,
Nor seek to conquer any world except the one within.
Be thou my guide until I find, led by a tender hand,
Thy happy kingdom in myself, and dare to take command.
-Louisa May Alcott
I emailed these poems back to Lisa, and here’s what she replied,
“Hooray hooray!! I LOVE these and cannot wait to introduce them!! Not sure yet which one but I really love them all. And they are exactly what I’m looking for.
“I once heard from a mom who chose a poem each month of the year that her kids memorized and recited. I think she had like 10 kids or something like that and she said that the oldest to the youngest would all participate. Before the older ones left home, they had cycled each poem several times, but the poems were richer each time around.
“I was planning on that last year but our little poem “stick to the task” kept being relevant and inspiring for each child in different ways so we “stuck” with it. It really helped us with our move and all the hard transitions that brought our way. I definitely borrowed the idea and love hearing about things other families are doing.”
Thanks for your inquiry, Lisa!
Here are some memorization techniques we have found to be effective in our family.
- Repeat after parent. Have the whole family repeat the lines together until it can be done without prompting.
- Chanting. This method focuses on using the rhythm of the poem to help with memorization. Just be sure to emphasize later, that this is not how the poem is actually recited.
- Word strips. I write out the poem on a large piece of paper. We repeat it a few times and then start covering lines with smaller strips of paper taped on. We keep repeating the poem until all the lines are covered.
I’m motivated and inspired to include memorization of worthy poetry into our family devotionals again this year.
Just a couple minutes a day can provide fun memories, increased self-confidence in our children and lessons that can last a lifetime.