I read a lot of Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein to my son these days. Often times, I leave these books speaking in rhyme or moved to write a child-like poem. I have learned that some messages are actually better communicated through this type of poetry. The above quote inspired the following poem, which speaks to the negative impact unrealistic expectations can have. Too often, the expectations people possess and experience cause unnecessary psychological harm.
"Fish Can't Climb"
A fish can't climb, a bee can't swim,
So why might you assume they're dim?
Snakes can't walk or clap their hands,
No matter what their parents demand.
A hippo or elephant may look in the mirror,
Hoping they'll see a little bit clearer,
Shedding tears over chubby reflections,
Because the skinny ones meet them with pure rejection
A dog will never sprout a wing
But imagine their lives with parents who,
Expect them to do things they cannot do.
That water-bound fish would view himself dumb,
The bee and snake would feel rather glum,
The hippo may lose weight or possibly gain;
Even if skinny, his problems remain,
The elephant may also hate his physique,
Viewing his troubles as lame or weak,
The songless worm and flightless dog,
Would also find themselves in a fog.
And think of the monkey whose parents imply
That he should be able to take to the sky,
He may feel so worthless and low,
That he'll view his limbs as useless foes.
Now think of the kid who can't throw a ball,
Or the baby who's taking a while to crawl,
Or the man whose dad called him a joke
Or the woman who thinks her mind is broke
Unlike the animals these people may change,
But not if you view them as busted and strange,
And especially not if their loved ones expect,
For them to do it alone
....the first time