One warm day when I was attending a southern university, a friend of mine sent me a note. Inside was a card, kind of like a library or business card.
It rendered to the owner: poetic license. And I’ve had it ever since.
Truthfully, nobody needs to GIVE you poetic license (which is the freedom to purposely depart from typical rules and practice to achieve a desired effect, usually in writing or speech). You can grant yourself poetic license any time you desire. But. Sometimes it’s nice to hear someone say so.
So often parents need to practice a little more poetic license. The song doesn’t have to be sung with the right words. The LEGO bricks don’t have to be sorted by color. They don’t even have to stay with the same set. And (gasp), if you put the LEGO man’s head on backwards, he won’t die! I promise.
I think parenting boys I especially need to be mindful to have poetic license with them. Sometimes let them just be loud, jump around, play dress up (it’s not just for girls!), bake cookies, and throw rocks (just not at my car, thank you!).
Here’s a humorous little poem about poetic license in my parenting:
Poetic License in Parenting
Don’t tell anyone, will you?
we don’t make the beds–
we’re too excited to hit the ground running
and other times?
We have ice cream before dinner!
Because it was the last day of summer
and important to visit the goats one more time.
The clock has ticked past eight
finding little ones still snuggled up
reading with Mommy or Daddy–
page turners are always worth it.
Or sometimes, they fall asleep in our bed and we
leave. them. there.
Our second has never cried-it-out
and he sleeps faster-better-longer than our first.
I didn’t give them a bath…
the night we bathed in the light of the Hunter’s moon.
And I let him wear those dinosaur pajamas
all. day. long. Even in public!
You won’t tell, will you?
Guess what I did give them?
A million kisses, more or less.
TV-free days to play…
Vegetables – no they didn’t clean their plate
Just saw the colors, felt the round tomato
Bit the carrot just to feel the texture under tongue.
And I know the table
is for family conversation but…
sometimes? we read books in companionable silence over breakfast
And if every day isn’t perfectly what-to-expect?
Well… I expect things will turn out okay.
I’ll keep giving them the good stuff
Shh! Don’t tell!
Note: I’m not saying not to have rules in your home. I’m actually quite fond of rules, being just a little Type A. I believe children need structure and consistency when it comes to training and discipline. And of course, never do or allow something in your family you believe to be morally wrong – I’m not suggesting situation ethics. I’m not suggesting raising hooligans or undisciplined children. Know that if you keep your kids up past their bedtime, you may have a crank in the morning. If you allow them to have ice cream before dinner, you’ll have to gently tell them “that’s for special times” the next day.
What I am suggesting is that we as parents give ourselves grace. Allow for flexibility – no, CHOOSE flexibility! Poetic license is just about purposefully departing from the norm… to get a desired effect.
If I wrote EVERY poem according the strict and rigid structure of the Sonnet or the Sestina, then I’d be frustrated, bored, and my ideas likely wouldn’t flow after awhile. Creativity can be found in a form’s structure, true. But it’s also found blooming wildly by the roadside as well. Sometimes we have to take the path less traveled by…
Give yourself poetic license as a parent and explore the fun side of life with your kids… even if it means keeping them up a bit later one night. Or acting completely silly. Or ditching bathtime so you can watch for shooting stars.