This is a touchy topic, or it can be. I decided to tackle this two ways. First, we focused on the fact that what one person considers beautiful, another might not. In other words, what’s beautiful to you may not be beautiful to me. Second, we illustrated that good-looking people may not automatically be nice and people who may look a little different are not automatically bad, that you need to look beneath the surface of folks to determine who they really are.
I began by showing pictures of things that most people would think pretty or even beautiful: a rainbow, roses, a sunset, fall leaves, etc. Then I showed photos of things that I find beautiful, but that others might not, such as a tree with snow on bare branches, a hippo we saw at the zoo, an old stone bridge, mushrooms around a tree, and more. I then read a poem about beauty being an individual judgment. I emphasized that even faces may strike some as being beautiful, while not so much to others. The conclusion I was nudging them toward was that everyone is beautiful to someone and in their own way.
The second part was a tad more difficult, especially so because I was presenting the idea to little ones. I decided to use Disney villains as examples of characters who may be conventionally pretty/handsome but not very nice people. I showed pictures of Prince Hans from Frozen, the evil queen from Snow White and Gaston from Beauty and the Beast. All three are attractive individuals, but lousy people. Then I showed pictures of Wallace from Wallace and Gromit, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Mike Wizowski from Monster’s Inc. These three are a bit funny looking and quirky but very nice, even heroic. I read my poem called ‘Mirror Image’ which sums up my thoughts on this subject:
Have you noticed in some books/The hero isn’t how he looks?
He may be handsome, bright and tall/But he may not be nice at all.
Mirror mirror on the wall/Doesn’t really tell you all
As with the hero, there’s more to see/Tucked up tight inside of me.
Knowing what you’re looking for/Will let you see a whole lot more.
I may not look the hero part/But I’m a hero in my heart.
Don’t believe that you can tell/About someone you don’t know well.
And don’t always assume the worst/Until you get to know them first.
The outside doesn’t let you know/Who someone is, so let it go,
And then your judgement won’t just be/Based on only what you see.
As I mentioned in earlier blog posts, I take every opportunity to emphasize that there are all types of people, and that you must look beneath the surface of people to really see them. You may miss out on getting to know quality people if you don’t look deeper. And that would be very sad. ❤️
I’m a huge believer in two things: the wisdom and potential of our children and the importance of poetry and imagination in their lives and development. My teaching background is at the high school level, but my methods in the classroom ran high in interaction and whimsy, at least as much whimsy as preparation for state testing allowed. I have four young grandchildren, and I nannied a little boy for over four years from infancy, so I like to think I know children pretty well. And I used poetry to teach and inspire no matter what ages I was called to teach. Poetry takes very big ideas and boils them down to nuggets of wisdom more easily understood. And then there’s the rhyme, such a valuable asset to pre-reading and a great hook to pull the little ones into the poetry itself. The rhythm, cadence, and yes, the rhyme, all have value for kids. Even if the full meaning of the words eludes them a little, there is value in what they do process.
I have written and published two books of essays and poetry for teachers, but my greater joy came in writing poetry for children. I began a book of children’s poetry the day my first grandchild Samantha was born and fourteen years later I continue to add to it. I entitled it A Duck in the Sky, which comes from a discussion we had with Sam when she was just a toddler. We were talking about the meaning of life and Sam assured us that the meaning of life was, in fact, a duck in the sky. Fair enough, and a very good title. I never published my children’s book, although that will happen. But in the meantime came Covid and quarantine. I wanted to contribute something, to help entertain young children stuck at home, even if for only a few minutes at a time. So GG Sprinkles was born, someone who reads poetry and entertains with props, demonstrations, etc. Our videos began on a GG Sprinkles Facebook page, and shortly after that became a GG Sprinkles YouTube channel.
So we now have quite a few videos available and I continue to write poetry. I have learned a great deal about a lot of topics: fairies, zebras, angels, octopuses, birds, superheroes, blanket forts, dragons, space, buried treasure, planets, burping, puppets, trains, unicorns, kites, magic wands, and so much more. It has been a pure joy to do this for the kids. And, of course, I’m learning so much along the way. We intend to keep the videos coming as long as the poetry comes and the kids and parents are interested. We’d be delighted to have you come along with us as we explore new topics poetically and just have some fun. GG Sprinkles welcomes you to any of the videos you’d like to watch and further thoughts here on my blog. Enjoy!
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