Saturday, May 1, 2010
T asked if I could take her straight from her track meet to a poetry reading last night. An unusual request, but this is an unusual poet.
I had seen a video of Taylor Mali on YouTube. He is a teacher/poetry slammer/motivational speaker with a formidable presence on stage. He is also an avid advocate for the teaching profession in the midst of a project to recruit 1000 new teachers through his poetry and presentations, and he's almost halfway there.
Several students read their own poetry for the first half hour of the evening. Then when Mali took the stage, his first performance poem incorporated ideas and phrases from everyone who had just spoken. Pretty impressive.
Anything that lights kids up like this guy did is a boon to our world. Is it his confidence in what he does? His unapologetic, articulate passion for what he believes in? That and more, I'd say.
After the show he was talking to a bunch of eager audience members (including T and myself). Someone asked him about 17, something he had heard Mali talk about in the past. Mali was excited to have him bring it up. It is something to do with a Bible verse which I can't remember now, but the message was an important one that I have tried to pass on to my children.
Good luck and good fortune seem to come to those who already have it, and those with little often reap little. The message that Mali loves in this verse is not the usual bemoaning of the unfairness in the world, it is the opposite. The lesson is this: we create our own fortune. Luck isn't entirely luck. There is something intangible in every person that has the power to create, or at least influence his or her destiny - for better or for worse. Our attitudes, our expectations, our hopes and level of engagement in the world all manifest themselves in what the world offers us in return.
We receive back a reflection of what we put forth.
Here's another way to look at it, inspired by this time of year when seedlings are sprouting and the world is regreening:
Be careful how you think and what you say and which feelings you give room for cultivation in your heart and mind. They are in fertile ground. Make sure you are cultivating the hardy bloomers and not the invasive species that choke the good stuff out.
Porcupine update: There was an adult porcupine back in the same old tree on the same old branch this morning. I assumed it was a new one, but...is it possible? He sure was looking very familiar.