Making Trouble or Goodness?

Last week, I shared a poem from Sarah Dunning Park’s book “What It Is Is Beautiful”. Here is another poem that she’s written that spoke to my heart.

 Let There Be Yes

I say no to them all the time:

No, you may not eat candy bars for breakfast,2make

color pictures on the carpet,

wear your tutu to the store again.

And stop blowing bubbles in your milk,

or abandoning your warm bed

after I’ve tucked you in.


Perhaps it’s the wisdom of age,

or that this is not their full-time gig,

but their grandmothers have another way:

Yes, let’s make projects with plenty of glitter and paint,1make

matching costumes for you and your bear,

hot chocolate for watching movies

on a Saturday morning in June.


I decide to try it myself,

tentatively – Sure, I suppose

we can bring out the modeling clay today.

So we spread an old vinyl cloth on the table,

and dump the box that holds baggies of red and black,

blue, green, and yellow. From my post in the kitchen,

I watch them settle in to their work.


It’s quiet; no one complains

of boredom or hunger

or cunningly-orchestrated breaches of room security3make

carried out by little sisters. The only requests

are for assistance rolling up an errant sleeve

or for a toothpick to carve out fine details

and at last, the artist’s signature.


As she bends over her masterpiece

to scratch the letters of her name,

I understand what it is my mother must know

when she says yes to these young creators:

we are wired to make, and we can make

trouble, or we can make goodness and art

and meaning and sustenance and play.



As we finish out another month, let’s remember that

“we are wired to make,

and we can make trouble,

or we can make goodness and art

and meaning and sustenance and play.”


Have you been hearing a lot of complaining lately? Maybe it’s time to say ‘yes’ to some creativity.

**Many thanks to the adults in the lives of our kids who’ve said ‘yes’.**



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