Friday, July 5, 2013

Sunny Days


It is a beautiful, hot, sunny day in my part of the world this morning.

As I watch my two daughters playing together kindly, sweetly, co-operatively, sharing and taking turns, I marvel at the miracles that are possible from time to time when dealing with small children.  I am sure that they will be gouging each other's eyes out in mere moments but, for now, they are the epitome of childhood innocence and perfection.

Being a parent (and a teacher), I have found that, often, the best way to help children develop into well-adjusted, positive-minded adults is to treat them with honesty, fairness and respect.  There are plenty of moments that provide opportunities for the teaching of life lessons along the way.  Knowing how to handle such sensitive moments properly can help to lay a foundation of trust that will bear fruit, later in life, when the consequences of our children's decisions may leave more permanent marks on their lives.   In that light, please enjoy my entry into this weekend's Trifextra challenge.


Sunny Days

Under a cotton ball sky
A nest is discovered,
One egg left unhatched.
Tiny hands reach out
To cradle newfound treasure
Lessons in life and death ensue
The price of growing up:
Innocence.



When I think about moments life this, I recall one time when TV actually led the way.  In what is widely considered one of the finest moments ever in all of broadcasting history, The Children's Television Workshop accorded children everywhere the ultimate compliment by treating them with respect and compassion and believing them capable of understanding one of the most sensitive of all topics:  Death.  
When one of the long time actors on Sesame Street passed away in real life, the writers decided to use his absence as a teachable moment.  They did so by having the rest of the adults on Sesame Street help Big Bird understand that Mr. Hooper, his friend, had died and what that actually meant.  The airing of this episode was a watershed moment in Television history and one that still is used to help explain the concept of Death to children (most recently during the Sandy Hook tragedy).  If you want to see television at its' best then, watch "Big Bird Learns About Death."   Sorry, in advance, for making you cry.





58 comments:

  1. Ohhh my goodness, Oh wow.

    well yes, you made me cry but this was beautiful in a real and honest way. I try to talk to the boys as candidly as I can about life and death, and I answer their questions as often as I can without scaring them.

    the poem itself was just perfect. Hoping your whole weekend is beautiful.

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    1. Thanks, Kir, as always for your kind, supportive and considered words. I appreciate your presence more than I can say. :)

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  2. Love your term "cotton ball sky." Lovely poem!!

    best,
    MOV

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    1. Thank you very much for your kind comments. I appreciate them a lot. :)

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  3. This is a wonderful poem and as always, I enjoyed reading your back story for the piece. I never knew about the Big Bird episode. I suppose my kids were older when that was shown.

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    1. As old as I get, I will never ever forget watching that as it first aired. I was completely and totally blown away by that episode. It was, arguably, the most powerful television-related experience I've known. I cry whenever I watch it. I don't make it past the first few moments when Big Bird is holding up Mr. Hooper's picture ad wondering when he will be able to show it to him. Mannnnn! Don't get me sniffling again!!!! :)

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  4. Okay, you succeeded. I'm crying ;__; Tom you always strike at that emotional core with your work.

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    1. It's not me. There is just something about a heart broken Big Bird!

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  5. Aw, geez, I love Sesame Street.

    And I love your poem too. Those are tough lessons and you captured it beautifully.

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    1. Thanks, Suzanne! It is funny how my own kids paying together nicely led to me recalling the Sesame Street episode but, the mind works in funny ways sometimes. What can I tell ya! Thanks for your supportive comments. I appreciate your contributions to my work through your kind comments.

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  6. What a touching post about raising children and your poem was very poignant.

    Your authenticity shines through.

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    1. Thanks, Girl! My world, professionally and personally, seems to revolve around children. I love them without reservation. I am glad that vibe is my voice, so to speak. It would be a good voice to have as a writer. :)

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  7. "The price of growing up: innocence." Yep, that's pretty much a great line. Really good stuff

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    1. I am not as talented a wordsmith as many here at Trifecta but, every once and awhile, I cobble together a good line or two. Thanks for stopping by with recognition of just such a moment. :)

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  8. A very delicate poem.. I could feel its slender touch. Splendid reading!

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    1. What a lovely come. Thank you ever so much. :)

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  9. From your introduction to the poem to Big Bird - a very moving post. Your girls are very lucky. You are an awesome guy.

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    1. Aw, shucks, Ma'am! I am the lucky one to have my girls.......although, as the day wore on today and they began fighting and endlessly poking and prodding one another, I did, for a brief moment or two, consider selling them to Gypsies. But, as the calm of the evening takes over, I am happy they are still here, all snug in their beds. :)

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  10. Thank you for a very powerful post.

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    1. Thank you for such a wonderful comment. Glad that you liked my work. :)

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  11. I love your life lessons, Tom, showcasing how you excel as a teacher because of your concern for others. I can't dispute anything you say here, especially when I see adults my age who have no concept of how to deal with any sort of loss, much less the sad tragedy of death, particularly of a loved one. Your expression is breath-takingly beautiful. (I did want to mention for you to check line 4 - "each" = "reach" perhaps? Or a pause between tiny hands & each? In either case, I see those precious, curious little hands, each out, reaching out - and realize they were once my own before they became others. Compelling imagery.)

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    1. Ooops! Thanks, my editor! :) Your comments are wonderful and are gratefully appreciated, as always. Thanks, Jody!

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  12. :( innocence is not something we keep forever. your description put me outside on a beautiful summer day, tho.

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    1. For that reason, childhood is a very precious time. I feel privileged to work in a world where magic is still real, dreams do come true and holding hands when you walk with your best friend at play time is still the best feeling of all. Thanks for your wonderful comment, Renada. I appreciate it a lot. :)

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  13. Tom, you're poem is beautiful. It's the very essence of innocence. I'm afraid it's made me lonely for my kids when they were little!

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    1. Thanks, LInda! I am glad/sorry that you have pangs for the little ones. :) Thanks for your supportive comments. As always, they are deeply appreciated.

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  14. You're not making me watch that video - I'll be done in for the rest of the day! You don't know how I cry when listening to Kermit sing: It isn't easy being green!

    Your Trifextra piece is lovely, Tom. For me, it speaks to those moments that we don't see coming in childhood, but which somehow stay with us for the rest of our lives. So very well done :)))

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  15. As soon as I hear Big Bird begin to speak, I tear up so, I don't blame you for shying away. Thanks for your wonderful comments, JoAnne. I am glad that I had something to share with you this weekend for a change. :)

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    1. Congratulations, Tom :)) Really pleased to see you as one of the winners this week!! Well done you!

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    2. Thanks, Jo-Anne! Can't believe I ended up where I did! I don't think I've even ever had a single vote before so, this is a big surprise. Thanks for your support. :)

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  16. even though it was a long time ago for me... I do remember those tender years with my children... they were in awe of nature...Diane

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    1. Good memories last a lifetime, don't they? :) Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comments a lot.

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  17. You've captured the moment so vividly. I can almost feel my own hand wanting to reach out to guide those little hands into a more gentle approach. An exquisite little poem.

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    1. Thank you for such a lovely, literate comment. I value your words greatly. :)

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  18. I really like this. Well played my friend.

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    1. Thanks, Trez! Glad it tickled your fancy. :)

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  19. thank you for sharing this - it is so hard to tell little ones of a loved one's passing - or why a gosling couldn't make it past the shell (a recent friend's occurrence). Sometimes the hardest thing for me is loving my kids and grandkids so very much - and knowing that someday . . . someday they will not have me. You are a kind and intelligent person, Tom, and I am better for knowing you.

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    1. Thank you, Barbara, for your very considered reply. I am honoured and flattered. :)

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  20. Thank you for coming by. My first visit. Moving, appreciated introduction to your blog.

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    1. Thanks, LaTonya! Please stop by any time you wish. Great to have you aboard! :)

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  21. Your poem captured the innocent days of childhood. I'm sure I first watched this Big Bird episode when I was a child, I grew up in front of the T.V. with Sesame Street and The Electric Company, watching it now brought back memories. I haven't seen those faces in years!

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    1. Glad to be your guide down Memory Lane, Shawn! Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  22. Tears here, as well!

    When my daughter was 5, I found a bird that had just died as a result of hitting a window. Seeing a teachable moment, I let my daughter see it, thinking it would be a way to study the beauty of the bird up close. She only saw death, and cried for the bird. We bought a little plastic yard ornament bird and held a funeral, marking the grave with the bird ornament. I'll never forget that moment, and how the pain and reality of death shattered the safe and comforting world of my little girl. A hard lesson, for both of us.

    Beautiful piece!

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    1. Kudos to you for acting on the teachable moment. I find that you have to exercise caution with such moments, depending on the emotional strength of the child in question. However, if the relationship is strong, trusting and love-filled then, I always encourage parents to have the conversation. From a parent's pov, it does break your heart to see that innocence shatter. You want your children to be wise and knowledgable but, at the same time, the longer they can retain their child-like sense of wonder and trust, the better it is for them. Thanks for such a thoughtful comment.

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  23. Your 33 words are so beautiful.

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    1. I find your comment to be beautiful, too. Thank you ever so much for taking the time to leave it. It brightened my day a lot. Thanks. :)

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  24. Lovely words and sentiment. I am now a grandmother of five boys, ages 18 months to ten and a half. It's wonderful that I and my husband are such an important part of their lives and our relationships are very special. Yes, those teachable moments are precious. Your poem is beautiful.

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    1. My wife's parents live a half hour's drive away and are very important people in the lives of my two daughters. Gramma and Poppa adore my girls and are adored in return. They are growing up surrounded by love and Gramma and Poppa are large contributors to that environment. Thank you for your wonderful comments. Good luck with the choir. :)

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  25. Oh, this is so poignant and powerful. Beautifully, beautifully written!

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    1. Thank you, Ivy! I appreciate your words very much. Thank you for taking the time to comment on my work and doing so in such a lovely, thoghhtful way.

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  26. I was hoping to keep my keyboard dry this weekend. Reasons like this are why Sesame Street, parents, and teachers are all awesome. Thanks for linking up. Please remember to return for the voting!

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    1. Thank you for your encouraging words. They are appreciated. As for the voting, if I could vote for 33, I would. Lots of great writing this weekend and during the "crude" challenge as well. It feels good to have a bit more time to focus on Trifecta now that the hectic last month of school is over and summer vacation has arrived.

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  27. Oh, gorgeous. You have a knack for delving into the heart of things. This was just fantastic, and makes me want to hold my two boys just a little bit tighter.

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  28. "Oh gorgeous." Are you talking about me? :) Thanks for your kind words. Glad my words found a home in your heart and mind.

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  29. Those losses of innocence (unlike virginity, there can be more than one) are hard to take, but are so important! Very nicely put. I also loved cotton-ball sky.
    Thanks for putting up that episode, too. Btw, did you see this week's New Yorker cover? http://www.newyorker.com/magazine : )

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    1. Ha! Ha! The New Yorker cover is priceless! Thanks for giving me the heads-up! Just for the record, I don't believe that Bert and Ernie are gay. They are just good buddies. :)

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