Special to The Hawai’i Herald
Wordsworth, my little mouse poet who resolves human problems with poetry, has a suggestion on birthday gifts for children of all ages. Wordsworth and I have been spreading this idea to students in schools, and it’s working. So Wordsworth, the pen is yours.
I’m Wordsworth the poet from Frances’ books. Today, let’s talk birthday presents. How many of you are having birthdays this month? Do you think the best presents come from stores? What if I told you there’s a gift that doesn’t come from stores and it will last forever. Yes, forever. It’s a gift that you can keep and give to your children and their children.
If you are having a 12th birthday, for example, ask your parents or grandparents for this gift. A good way to start is, “For my 12th birthday, I would like a very special gift from you. It won’t cost you a penny. Will you write me a story of when you were 12? Think of something special you remember when you were my age. I’ll also write something special that happened during my 12th year. Tell me of the extraordinary thing you once did that was really ordinary and it made you feel good for helping someone. Or about that brilliant idea you had that was going to save the world. Or what you did for fun. Or about a book you read more than once.
“And don’t forget about the not-so-good things that happened. As Frances always said, these stories are not to teach me; these stories are to preserve who you are. I want to know the kind of child you were at my age. Did you have similar thoughts and feelings like me? Did you struggle with the same kinds of problems? If you did something naughty, that would be a good story. If you were suspended from school like Frances, tell me that story.
“When I write my birthday story, I’ll remember to tell you my thoughts and feelings and not only of things I did. And on every birthday, let’s give this gift to each other. Oh, you can write poems if you want. I think this is fun. It’s like giving you once-a-year homework. And I’ll save them as you do with photographs.”
I’ll see you later.
So Frances, how did I do?
Good work, Wordsworth. You deserve imported cheese from France.