An Inspirational Moment
You know those inspirational moments? The ones where you are just moving through life, and suddenly something happens which makes time stand still? Something which you know will be remembered amidst the ordinary days as a stand out? I had one of those on Friday.
A few weeks ago we had a poetry reading with our RTI students. In order to increase their reading fluency, we decided to have them memorize and recite poems. In order to make it fun, we blacked out the windows, put candles on every table, played jazz, and invited special guests. It was an experiment really. One of those ideas you just have to try just to see what will happen. Some of those kinds of ideas flop miserably, but this one took on a life of its own. The children loved it and couldn’t wait to practice their poems each Friday.
When the day drew near to perform them I decided to invite Mildred Greear, a local poet to share the day. I first met Mildred seven years ago when she came and helped my students write a progressive poem for our school’s butterfly garden and nature trail. She is an amazing 92 years-young woman. Her love of both children and poetry made this latest project an ideal opportunity to invite her back to the classroom. I am a big believer that the senior citizens among us have much to offer our young people, and that the children can gain much wisdom if they are given the opportunity to listen. The poetry day was a huge success, largely in part due to Mildred’s enthusiasm and words of encouragement to the students as they each recited their poem. From that day, another was birthed…which usually occurs when inspiration is in the air and flowing freely.
Mildred was so impressed with the children that she revived a song she had written some years ago. It is about Butterflies, which seems to be the ongoing theme of our interactions together. I invited her back to teach it to the children. She told me she had a musician friend who played the banjo that would come to help her out. She didn’t tell me his name or background, only that he would be up from Atlanta and that they could come on Friday.
As it turns out, Jeff Moiser was as much of an inspiration as Mildred. He is well known for his ability to make a banjo sing, and has been doing it professionally in many venues for years. When he pulled that well-loved instrument out of its case the kids were glued to his every move. The banjo filled the room with its song, the students joined in with claps and a bit of foot stomping too. A song Jeff played on the spoons had their mouths hanging open. They were in the moment where time was standing still. Mildred and Jeff blended their God-given gifts to create, and magic was the result. Children, music, poetry, song combined into the perfect recipe for inspiration to be birthed in every person present. Passion was in attendance as well. It poured out as much in the spoken words from the artists to the students as in the songs themselves. It sparked questions and possibilities. It was the intersection of a sage’s wisdom, and a musical artist’s passion…a truly inspirational moment.