A reformed non-fan of poetry shares how poetry can be a force for good

Hi Friends!

The links worth clicking are sprinkled all throughout today’s letter… And I guess in a way so is the poetry : )

Just quickly, I’m excited to share that I am in not one but two positive, important, and exciting virtual summits!

Click here for the Reigniting Toddler Play Summit, taking place 9/28-10/2/20, where I am talking about “how to keep going while raising little kids”

Click here for the Emergency Home Learning Summit, where I am talking about “how kids’ independent play makes family life better”


Over the summer I heard, and took, an outstanding piece of advice from podcaster and creative coach Mark McGuinness: “Read some poetry.”

Mark is himself a poet, and it’s clear that poetry has been a huge force for good in his life.

But other than music, which is really poetry at its heart, I’ve never connected with poetry before.

And here at home I’ve had a book that was given to me more than five years ago, The Names of Birds, by Daniel Wolff.
(He was one of my first guests on the We Turned Out Okay Podcast, and our conversation does get a bit into poetry! We also talk a lot about education, history, and what it all means for your family. Click here to listen.)

It was at a beautiful event, celebrating the release of The Names of Birds, in a rural setting near the coast of Connecticut.

When Daniel gifted me the book, he dedicated it to my sons, “For Max and Jay: and future birds.”

All these years, I have hung onto this book. I read other outstanding work of Daniel’s in the meantime!
But prose, all.

I’ve always felt ashamed at not reading this volume of poetry.

When Mark McGuinness recommended reading some poetry as a way to stop continually checking my phone and connect more meaningfully with loved ones and surroundings, I knew exactly which volume of poetry I would grab!

So, since the end of July, I have read a poem each and every day. Mostly aloud, and mostly at breakfast time so that my day gets set with positivity and intention.

On the first day, July 27, I read two poems, the first and the last in The Names of Birds.

Here is what I wrote on the last page:

“I read this just after the first in this volume. When I finished that I thought “well, that’s pretty bleak” and immediately came here [to the final poem in the book]. So glad I did.
“The first references coming darkness as “failure” and this one, referencing “the sound of what might be language” in the dark, feels so hopeful to me.
“Because I believe language equals hope. If we can communicate meaningfully we will find a way forward.”

Fast forward to yesterday, when I came back to the last page and reread both the poem, and my words from July.

And I keep returning to those last few sentences, “I believe language equals hope. If we can communicate meaningfully we will find a way forward.”

That feels truer to me today than it even did when I first wrote it.
There is a lot of strife, divisiveness, worry, fear, and frustration in everyday life at the beginning of October 2020.

But meaningful communication – connecting with others in our own families and in the wider world – feels to me like the way forward.

It was quite an epiphany! And it’s giving me hope, writing about it and connecting on this idea with you.

And just think! I would never have made that connection, much less have a summer filled with positivity and intention, had I not opened up a volume of poetry.

Cheers –

What’s up on the We Turned Out Okay Podcast:

I share “a key tool for crisis parenting” in Episode 346:

What’s up in the Ninja Parenting Community:
One NPC member is wondering what to do when your spouse asks “How will we teach our kids right from wrong if there isn’t a REAL consequence?”