Sometimes children can take a lesson to heart a little easier when it is in the form of poetry. Poetry also helps children with spelling and reading. There are many poems available that teach moral lessons as well as helping to improve reading and spelling.
One poet who included moral truths in his writing was Edgar Guest.
His poem “Myself” is especially appropriate for upper elementary through high school students:
I have to live with myself and so
I want to be fit for myself to know.
I want to be able as days go by,
always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don't want to stand with the setting sun
and hate myself for the things I have done.
I don't want to keep on a closet shelf
a lot of secrets about myself
and fool myself as I come and go
into thinking no one else will ever know
the kind of person I really am,
I don't want to dress up myself in sham.
I want to go out with my head erect
I want to deserve all men's respect;
but here in the struggle for fame and wealth
I want to be able to like myself.
I don't want to look at myself and know that
I am bluster and bluff and empty show.
I never can hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself and so,
whatever happens I want to be
self respecting and conscience free.
This poem is very plain and simple to understand and takes little discussion to drive home the point that children should be very careful of their choices. There may be some vocabulary that needs to be explained such as the word, “sham.”
More of Guest’s poems can be found on the Internet. You can simply research them by his name.