Great

After the US election, Ailsa at Where’s my backpack wrote Great, a poem. I read it out loud (no one was listening) and heard myself almost rapping… It’s a two-part verse, beginning in darkness, ending in light.

Encouraging bloggers to add some goodness to the dish on the other side of the scale, she has challenged us to do something GREAT:

Create something beautiful and share it with the world. Write something true from the depths of your humanity and share it with the world. Do something kind for someone in need. Embrace a different culture. Volunteer. Plant a tree. Tell someone how much they mean to you. Reach out to someone in your community you’ve never even noticed before. Try to understand someone else’s point of view. Learn something new. Teach your kids something new. Stand up to bullies. Protect those being victimized. Be brave. Be gentle. Be vulnerable. Nurture. Encourage. Forgive. Love. Shine.

The word Volunteer leapt out at me with its capital V. It’s what I do. I’ve done voluntary English tutoring for years, but previously only once a week. This year, it has been five days a week, a few hours each day. The rewards for the students are free language instruction and friendship, but for me the rewards are many and varied. They buy me flowers, plants, perfume from France, skin products from New Zealand, clothes from China (!), crockery and meals. But mostly, it’s coffee.

We meet in local cafés, where the owners have come to know me and my students. They even know what we’ll order, each student ordering the same thing every week.

This week I combined the great thing that is Ailsa’s poem with my volunteering: I used her poem in a lesson. I asked my student to read it out loud, tell me what poetic devices were used, and tell me what it all meant. Here she is expressing her feelings about the negative half, words about words that are ‘meant to shock, intimidate, demean and mock’, followed by the positive half, words about words that ‘serve to heal, unite, encourage and appeal’.

Now, I doubt that any great act on my part will counteract the new US president’s policies, but one day at a time, one person at a time, is a policy that’s working to make life better for me and my students in this part of the world.

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15 thoughts on “Great

    • Hi magpiesue, I just noticed this comment on my post about the poem Great. Thanks for letting me know I’m making a positive difference. I’m sorry I didn’t catch your comment at the time.

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  1. This was my Korean student’s answer. Cosmetic surgery is very popular there, she assures me. We both agreed that it’s unnecessary, a solution to a problem created by us in the first world.

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  2. That’s a lovely story. I agree that these small things may not change Trump’s vision, but it will do a lot for the people you chat with. Ailsa’s poem is wonderful, and what a good idea to use it.

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  3. Hi Trish! Nice to meet you 🙂 I was following a link to your Christmas challenge (I thought! 🙂 ) but it doesn’t really matter. I’ve done voluntary too in the past, just a little, and am now hoping to take up befriending with the RVS. Every little helps 🙂

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    • I had suggested to Gerry at Restawyle that he try to find songs that include the word Christmas in the lyrics. (He likes to write Christmas music blog posts .) So he put my blog link there, crediting me with the idea. But he has come up with a new idea, to find Christmas songs without the word in the title. (I think…) Anyway, I’m glad you were sent here and liked my response to the word GREAT.

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  4. Trish, just catching up, I love this so much, thank you for sharing my poem with your students. I’m honoured and humbled. Sending you all the love in the world. ❤ Ailsa

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