Friday, November 2, 2018

A Nation's Strength

Don’t forget, award-winning author, poet, teacher and mentor Ann Whitford Paul has revised and expanded her 2009 go-to hands-on guide on writing picture books, aptly named WRITING PICTURE BOOKS!Writer’s Digest releases this 2018 edition November 13. You can win a free copy in our Book Giveaway! Be sure to check the entry details at the end of Esther’s post!

For these weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, we at Teacher’s Authors continue our tradition of giving thanks. This week, I give thanks to our most fundamental characteristic that defines our American way: we have a voice in our destiny. As Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice (New York University) suggests, the American democracy “remains a living, breathing idea, a work in progress…American democracy is not perfect, but it is perfectible. For all of us… America is not just an actuality but a potentiality, too.” This week, don’t forget to use your voice, your right to have a say in what defines us as a people and a society.

Meanwhile, I found a wonderful resource in teaching civic education to help students build their basic civic knowledge and understand their role as active citizens. Civics in Literature  is a production between the National Constitution Center and the Rendell Center for Citizenship.We the Civics Kids offers a selection of lessons and activities that enable students to find their voice and work as a change agent in their community!

A Nation's Strength
What makes a nation's pillars high
And its foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?

It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock.

Is it the sword? Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.

And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown
Has seemed to nations sweet;
But God has struck its luster down
In ashes at his feet.

Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor's sake
Stand fast and suffer long.

Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly...
They build a nation's pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.

-- by William Ralph Emerson. Born in 1833, Emerson was an architect and  the second cousin to Ralph Waldo Emerson. "A Nation's Strength" first appeared in Our Little Kings and Queens at Home and at School (Louis Benham & Co., 1891). This poem is in the public domain.

"I will tell you that we are not powerless... Every single one of us has something that, if done in numbers too big to tamper with, cannot be suppressed and cannot be denied.” -Oprah Winfrey

Bobbi Miller


Jarm Del Boccio said...

Love the poem, Bobbi!!

Bobbi Miller said...

Thank you for stopping by, Jarm, and for your kind words!

JoAnn Early Macken said...

I love the thought that "American democracy is not perfect, but it is perfectible." Fingers crossed for tomorrow & a turn toward perfection! xox

Bobbi Miller said...

JoAnn: Fingers and toes crossed!! ❤❤❤

April Halprin Wayland said...

Bobbi ~ Thank you for this resource...and for your clear voice in the wilderness.

Bobbi Miller said...

April: ❤❤❤❤