Each of the poems for this week’s reading, along with the event that I attended, “Building Community: Creating Educational Equality For All Students” focus on the importance of lovingly raising children. Each poem takes a different perspective on the relationship between family members, sometimes father-son, and in “The Video”, mother-daughter. The educational speech that I attended also focused on educational reform for all children and students. As the authors develop the importance of a strong family relationship, it is important that we learn from their works.
In Peter Meinke’s poem, “(Untitled)”, the speaker is remorseful and feels empathetic towards his son who he has been too rough with and battered both physically and emotionally. The speaker shows his sorrow and apologetic attitude by dedicating this poem lovingly to the son that he has hurt. He also shows how much he truly cares about his son in lines 13-15, “I thought you knew / you were beautiful and fair / your bright eyes and hair,” and shows that he is sorry for taking for granted his child’s self esteem (or lack thereof). The genuineness of this apology and poem is evident by the speaker’s vulnerability in admitting his mistakes and his exclamation of love and compliments for his son.
Theodore Roethke’s poem, “My Papa’s Waltz”, although at first a seemingly horrid depiction of abuse is, on close inspection, describes the dance of a young boy and his father as they playfully, yet rambunctiously end their evening. The rhythm of the poem mimics that of a waltz and rhymes loosely, depicting the sloppiness of the dance. Throughout the dance, the speaker, as a child, is cooperative the entire time with his drunken father, showing that the poem is not about abuse, although “Papa” is careless and rough. The sense of dancing and playfulness is culminated as the father waltzes the boy up to bed as they’re locked in embrace.
In the poem, “The Video”, by Fleur Adcock, it is evident that the speaker’s younger sister, Ceri, is jealous of the attention that their mother is giving their newborn sister, Laura. There is foreshadowing in the first stanza that the parents pay less attention to Ceri than Laura when in line 4 the dad says “ ‘Move over a bit,’” to Ceri as she stands in the way of the recording of her younger sister’s birth. The mother, in the second stanza, is seen to be, “twice as busy,” (9) now that Laura is born and Ceri is left alone. Ceri’s jealousy is seen in the last few lines of the poem where she plays the recording of Laura’s birth backwards, indicating that she wishes she were never born.
Dr. Hill’s speech on creating educational equality for children relates well with the theme of family in this week’s readings. Although Dr. Hill focused primarily on the financial and structural educational reform needed to give all children an equal chance at becoming successful and staying out of jail, he stressed the role that families play in raising children for education and success. Dr. Hill stressed Martin Luther King’s ideals of community and equality. Beginning in the home, with loving parents, children must be loved and taught well in order to keep them off the streets, out of jail, and focused on school and their potential. Relating to Peter Meinke’s poem, “(Untitled)”, Dr. Hill stressed the importance of self esteem, self worth, and giving children and students the resources they need to reach their dreams.
The relationships we have with our parents is important not only to our emotional and physical well being, as seen in the poems, but is also critical for our success in the real world, as seen by Dr. Hill. This integration of family life and “real life” is an essential link that needs to be present in order for the greater well being of children, and everyone. Cura Personalis stresses the need for the care of the entire person. Every child needs to be cared for. By loving them, they are given the tools needed for their success as a person.