Finding poems about diligence to inspire school children can be difficult in a media-rich world filled with cartoons and video games of questionable educational value. However, a little creativity and some classic stories can go a long way in developing your children's sense of perseverance.
Finding the Right Idea
"Diligence" can be a difficult concept to develop in school children. Usually it is brought up during the middle school years, in exercises and videos such as In Search of Character. There are many great writings about diligence, from the short sayings of Benjamin Franklin ("Diligence is the mother of good luck") to classic stories such as "The Little Engine that Could."
Using poems can sometimes help make the story stay in children's minds and inspire them the next time they are faced with a situation where they might want to quit. For example, the lyrics to the song version of "The Little Engine that Could" by Burl Ives are easy to remember, and include the optimistic "I think I can" which finally turns into a triumphant "I knew I could!" Of course, the popular children's poem author Shel Silverstein also wrote a slightly different poem about the little engine, which ends with him pointing out that sometimes "Just thinking you could just ain't enough!" However, that also can be worked into a character lesson with a very amusing story.
Listening to Their Peers
Older kids are not going to be as entranced by choo-choo trains, but there are still poems about diligence to inspire school children who think they're "too cool" for poetry. On the "Nifty Unicorn Blog" a girl named Karen has written a poem about how "hard work pays off". The poem is written like a cell-phone text message, urging her peers with lines such as "so don't u ever give up." This kind of language may be strange to teachers and other adults, but it helps speak to children of a certain age and carries that same important message: diligence pays off in the end.
Another way to capture the attention of children is to show them how the concept of diligence appears worldwide. For example, in the Voices Net a Nigerian poet named Fenny Fenibo West has contributed a poem that talks about the rewards of diligence. The poem is simple, rhyming, and powerful in the way it simply talks about how this character trait "ends frustration" among other things.
Creating Poems About Diligence to Inspire School Children
One of the ways that you can really catch a child's attention is by making the poem personal. Name poems for children have become quite popular gifts for christenings, graduations, and other rites of passage. Why not have a name poem celebrating their diligence at accomplishing something like passing a grade level? If you are really trying to inspire a child, it helps to get them invested in a project by creating his own name poem. Have your child take each letter of his name and think about what kind of a "diligent" quality each one might stand for.
For example, take the name "Alec." A name poem to inspire diligence might look like this:
Adamantium tough, able to withstand anything,
Laboring tirelessly to get the job done,
Excited by the chance to show his stuff,
Courageous no matter what challenges come his way.
There are several ways to turn this into a multiple-learning experience. If a child is having trouble coming up with words for the poem, writing a name poem is a good opportunity to visit Thesaurus.com and introduce a wide variety of inspiring words. For further expansion of the activity, each letter and verse can be illustrated with drawings, stories, or even cut out and turned into a mobile. School children also respond well to activities done with them (as opposed to given to them) so if the adult also creates a name poem, the fun of the activity will increase.
Using Poems to Learn Diligence
The beauty of using poems to teach concepts is that they tend to stick in a child's memory. Even if they don't seem to grasp the concept immediately, or integrate it into their behavior, the words and rhymes of the poems will stay with them. Much later in life, these poems can remain an inspiration any time that the going gets tough.