As Father’s Day approaches, many children face the dilemma at to what to give Dad on his special day. This problem is exacerbated if the kid already spent most of his money on his gift for Mom for Mother’s Day. And let’s face it, the fact remains that most gifts for Dad do not come cheap.
Even if money is not the issue, most parents are always trying to teach their kids that it is the thought behind the gift, not the amount of money spent, that matters. So, why not write Dad a special poem for Father’s Day, telling him what he means to you?
“Well,” you might reply, “I’ll tell you why not. Neither Junior nor I are poets.” Fear not, dear friend. Anyone can write a poem, especially if the thought is more important than the meter. The key lies in choosing a simple format and allowing a couple of hours for careful thought, planning and a few re-writes.
The first step is to choose an appropriate format. Below are a number of easy options selected with the “poetically-challenged” mother and child in mind.
An oldie but a goodie. Simply choose a word (like Dad’s name or the word “Father”) or a short phrase (such as “Happy Father’s Day” or “I Love You”) and print it carefully down the side of piece of notebook paper, placing one letter on each line. Then choose a word or short phrase that begins with each letter and put it in its place. As much as possible, make sure that each word will have some particular meaning to Dad. For example, for her father my daughter might write:
Makes great dinners
If your child is older or more ambitious, he could replace the word or short phrase with a complete sentence, again with each sentence beginning with the appropriate letter. Here is an example:
Dear Dad, I really appreciate all that you do for me.
A father like you is one in a million.
Don’t ever forget how much I love you.
While this could be a little challenging and is probably better suited for an older child or teen, a limerick could be a very funny and meaningful way to pay tribute to Dad. For instance
There once was a father named Fred
Who had little hair on his head
But he opened tight lids
And loved all his kids
And tucked them each night in their beds.
Perhaps written by an older child and said by all the kids, this style of poem is sure to bring a smile, and a few guffaws, to all who hear it. Simply pick any letter of the alphabet and then think of words that describe Dad and begin with that letter. The more the words you come up with the better. Then have the kids practice saying the words as fast as possible, preferably with out cracking-up. Try this example on for size:
Dearest Daddy dear drags dreary dragons, dares demons, dives deep into diaper duty, and demonstrates devotion to darling dimpled daughters.
Whether you choose one of the above styles or a different mode of poetry, be sure to remember the following steps to bring your work to successful completion.
- Start as early as possible. Have your youngsters choose their poetry style at least a week in advance of Father’s Day. Then work with your young poets to brainstorm as many words and ideas as possible for use in the poem. Remember, if you have to much material, any extra ideas can be used for more poems.
- Write at least two rough drafts and let them “rest” overnight. The next day let the authors vote on which is best. If necessary, Mom can act as a tiebreaker.
- When you have chosen a poem to focus all your efforts on, edit, edit, edit.
- If possible, have someone with a background in writing review the poem and make suggestions. If he starts while school is still in session you child’s teacher would probably be glad to do this, and might even grant a little academic extra credit in honor of his effort. If no teacher is available, a local librarian could also help out.
- When the poem is finished to everyone’s satisfaction, have the author carefully copy the poem, in her best handwriting, onto a piece of unlined paper. Be sure to have her include a title and sign and date her work. Also, any room around the border provides another opportunity to spruce up the offering with some original artwork. Then frame it with or without an attractive mat.
- If possible, have your child memorize the poem so that he can recite it while looking at the recipient, not the page.
- Make sure the video camera is charged and set up in front of Dad’s favorite chair. Hint: Take a few extra minutes to clear out any extra junk in the foreground or background. Remember, you’re filming family history here!
- On Father’s Day morning, invite Dad to have a seat and then have the child or children recite the poem while you record the moment for posterity.
- Present Dad with the framed written copy of their work.
- Pass around the tissues. There will not be a dry eye in the house.