My friend Arlene Johnson and I were having our weekly dinner at The Metro and were visiting with the manager, Trevar Peterson. We are fans of his children, Henry and Oliver, and we always want an update.
Trevar told us Henry was turning 6 on Thursday. Immediately, Arlene remembered a poem by A.A. Milne about being 6 that she'd read to her children. She recited it for us:
When I was One, I had just begun. When I was Two, I was hardly new. When I was Three, I was hardly me. When I was Four, I was not much more. When I was Five, I was just alive. But now I am Six. I'm as clever as clever; so I think I will be Six now for ever and ever.
Arlene suggested a copy of Milne's poem about being “Six” should be one of Henry's birthday gifts.
Poetry can be great fun for all ages and for children in particular. Children love rhymes, and that is why most of us can still recite the nursery rhymes we learned as tots. The fun and nonsensical poetry of Dr. Seuss and Mother Goose or poems about The Goops, which taught manners and good behavior in a way that made us laugh.
The Goops they lick their fingers, and the Goops they lick their knives; they spill their broth on the tablecloth, oh, they lead disgusting lives!
When you are playing with the girls, you must not pull their pretty curls; if you are gentle when you play, you will be glad of it some day!
Today, older kids love Ronald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes. He takes well-known fairy tales such as “Little Red Riding Hood” and rewrites them in a way that all of us find hilarious.
Introduce the children in your life to poetry. Start with nursery rhymes. Choose ones specifically for children, and make sure they are humorous.
Robert Frost defines poetry as “serious play.” Arlene's grandmother gifted her with poetry, and it became a lifelong passion.
And to Henry Robert Peterson, we wish him a happy 6th year!
Charlotte Lankard is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.