Friday, March 9, 2012

What Are You Good At?

Soup after School
Photo by Amy LV

Students - A few months ago, I had a conversation with a smart young girl. I asked her what she was good at, and she said, "I don't play soccer or dance like lots of the kids in my class do." She then told me about how she goes home after school and plays and colors and reads. This got me thinking about how sometimes people (me included) focus a lot on accomplishments and signing up for things and taking classes. I enjoy taking classes, but there is a lot of value in working for your family, a lot of value in spending time well on our own and with our elders.

Today's poem came from a conversation that taught me something. This young girl made me reflect on my own life, on how I can instill the value of work and family time in me and in our children. Our conversation also made me think about volunteering, how I would like to spend time teaching free classes for children and adults who cannot afford them but would still like to attend.

You will notice that this poem is in free verse - it does not rhyme. As I wrote, I still read the lines aloud many times to hear if the rhythms sounded good, but there is not a clear or set meter or rhyme throughout. Sometimes free verse seems to fit a serious topic well. (Did you notice that there is a wee bit of rhyme at the end - ballet and today?)

One of my favorite poem books about families is OH, BROTHER! by Nikki Grimes.

And another favorite poem book celebrating families is FATHERS, MOTHERS, SISTERS, BROTHERS by Mary Ann Hoberman.

Stay tuned for March Madness with Ed DeCaria at Think Kid Think.  Along with 63 others, I will participate in the March Madness Poetry Tournament!  He has a great plan, and we're just waiting for Sunday when the kickoff begins.  I encourage you to stop by and vote on the poems!

Myra is hosting today's Poetry Friday family get together over at Gathering Books. There you will find a table set with words, a home filled with friends. Enjoy!

'Like' The Poem Farm Facebook Page for regular updates of all things poetry!
(Please click on POST A COMMENT below to share a thought.)


  1. Hi, Amy. You (and your young friend) make an important point about what we value, as a society. It's an accomplishment to stay connected with home and family -- just as it is to do well at sports and music.

  2. Hi Amy, this is a beautiful poem that I'll share with a short story group I'm teaching. We're reading stories about immigrants & I'm working hard to have the kids step into others' shoes for a while. Thanks for your always versatile themes.

  3. Refreshing and wise! Thanks, Amy.

  4. Hi Amy,

    I love this post, the poem of course, but I especially liked reading your reflections. Isn't it amazing what we can learn from the wise wee ones. This month I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers March Challenge. In spite of the challenge of putting one more thing on my plate, I am so thankful that I did, for I feel better already. I am slowing down and appreciating the smaller moments of life much more. Your words always influence my students and I in the positive way. We visit the Poem Farm often and connect to you and your writing just as often! :) ~Theresa

  5. beautiful and unexpected

    thanks for sharing

  6. Amy,
    I really enjoyed your poem. I like the image of the girl pouring soup in two bowls and the simplicity of your expression. Thanks for sharing it and the two books. I'll be sure to look for them.

  7. Very important to recognize and honor all kinds of "good at." I was a stay at home and read kind of kid. Society makes that hard to embrace and celebrate!

  8. Thank you very much for your kind comments! It means a lot that you enjoyed this poem...the girl is still in my head...