Category Archives: Appreciative Inquiry

Mini-Inquiry Exercise to Ring in the New Year

It’s hard to believe that 2015 is almost over.  As 2015 comes to an end, we hope you might join us in a fun, mini-inquiry by asking yourself the following appreciative questions…

Think back on this past year and recall a peak experience you have had. What was this peak experience? What made this experience so remarkable? Will made this experience possible? What did you accomplish? What were you exceptionally proud of? Who were your biggest champions? Remember that moment and celebrate it.

Now think about other positive experiences in your life. What do these experiences all have in common?  Write your observations down and ask yourself, “What does the future I want look like? How I can apply what I have uncovered about my peak experiences from that past, to what I want to accomplish in 2016?”

This coming year, we see the door of opportunity opening for so many of you – and we look forward to walking the journey with you. As always, we thank you for sharing your stories with us; we laugh, we learn, and are amazed at the engagement and excitement that we hear from you.

Words Create Worlds ® – November 2015 Newsletter

November is the month of Thanksgiving! For our friends that reside outside of the U.S., Thanksgiving is a National holiday in the U.S. and is a time for family, friends, thankfulness, and reflection. A day set aside to be thankful and, more importantly, to let others know that you are thankful. In this time of economic and environmental uncertainty, it may be a challenge for some to be grateful. Yet, just like Fall in the air, we are getting a slight whisper of change.

We invite each of you to join in the high energy and well-being that gratitude brings to each of us. Thankful for love, family, friends, health, happiness, children, food, flowers – the list is as bountiful as your imagination and heart can dream. Each of us can begin by asking ourselves and our friends a question that will focus on the best of what we want in the future, “Think back over this past year and share a story about a time that you felt most thankful…one that felt most warm and meaningful. Who was there? What made it so wonderful? What made it so special?”

Have a wonderful and bountiful week. We thank each of you for sharing your stories of success – seeking the high points to learn, adapt and thrive. Your stories bring such light into our office and to our work.

TO READ THE WORDS CREATE WORDS ® NOVEMBER 2015 NEWSLETTER ONLINE, PLEASE CLICK HERE>>

Words Create Worlds ® – October 2015 Newsletter

Summer. Spring. Winter. Fall.  When you think of the seasons, which one draws you to it? What is it about that season? What is your best experience there? What were you doing and who were you with? Does where you live affect your perception of the seasons? What could alter or change your perception or thoughts about each season? I am putting forward a notion that Fall is awesome.

Growing up in a beach city in Southern California I don’t remember even thinking about the seasons. When the weather remains fairly constant – seasons really meant school or no school. I loved the beach, the weather and value my visits there even more than when I lived there.

Now. I live in the desert. Fall is my favorite part of the year. After a brutally long and hot summer, the coolness of Fall is so welcome. There is a newness in the air. We can venture out of our summer AC cocoon and venture outside during the day. Gardens are abundant and patios hum with laughter and good times. This is our second spring, they like to say here.

Perceptions change. When we begin new journeys with new experiences and people we open ourselves to new possibilities.  Working with the Center for Appreciative inquiry has given me the skills and the interest to look at each day as though it is an open book (Poetic Principle in Appreciative Inquiry) to foster a fresh perception of each day and the gifts before me. I can open the page, dig in and find the best.

TO READ THE WORDS CREATE WORDS ® OCTOBER 2015 NEWSLETTER ONLINE, PLEASE CLICK HERE>>

Words Create Worlds ® – August 2015 Newsletter

Summer is underway in Southern Nevada. The rays of light penetrate through the clouds – giving us the warmth that a ” being” finds refreshing, invigorating and energizing. Mother Earth is giving us the entrée to be out and about creating, imagining, & celebrating “what if “?

What does “What if ” mean for you, a friend, family member or those you work with on a daily basis? In reading a quote from Henry Ford, his “what if” might have been, “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.” To me, it means working with others – using ones imagination to be able to feel a change, see it, sense it, feel it and best of all redirect my focus to possibilities. No matter the descriptor or definition it is working and communicating with others. It is about us, all of us.

Recently, we had the opportunity to read and review the fine work (practicums) of many of those that have joined us at our Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Trainings somewhere throughout the world. The stories are touching, encouraging and most of all speak of individuals coming together with a common purpose and outcome, as Henry Ford stated, “…working together is success.”

Individually, what small step can we take today that will help us create a positive difference for others?

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Words Create Worlds ® – July 2015 Newsletter

We do not always know where our decisions will lead us or the people we will meet along the way. When I began my Appreciative Inquiry journey in 2000, I had no idea that I would be interviewed in 2015 by Robyn Stratton-Berkessel of Positivity Strategist.

Robyn and I connected via social media and had a few conversations earlier this year. We knew we wanted to work together and that we wanted to share with others how Appreciative Inquiry has changed our lives and the lives of people we connect with.  When Robyn suggested that we record a podcast where we interview each other around our experiences with Core Teams, I was unsure how this would work or even what this would be like.

An inquiry (discovery) is a powerfully instrument in human connection. As a facilitator, I recede from intruding on this profound human interaction. The idea of conducting an inquiry virtually raised questions, such as “What would the interview look like in a virtual format?” “Would we feel that connection to one another like we do when engaging in a face-to-face inquiry?” “Would we be able to allow the inquiry to flow or would we feel rushed?” “Would our stories translate to a broader audience?” or “Would we forget that we are recording because we are completely engaged?” As this was Robyn’s first interview of this type for her website, she too wondered how this would play out. We knew that we MUST leap forward and embrace the opportunity.

Robyn was at her recording studio and I in my office across the country – yet distance did not impede on this remarkable experience. We reviewed the appreciative interview questions and then Robyn gently explained how the recording process works. The nervousness I felt regarding the equipment and the idea of recording for others just floated away.  The podcast experience was remarkably easy and quite enjoyable! Meeting Robyn and having this experience with her has been a gift to me. I knew these stories of Core Teams were all powerful, yet I had not spent a lot of time reflecting on their meaning to me.

Part 1 and 2 of mine and Robyn’s podcast can be found in this month’s Words Create Worlds© newsletter. Please enjoy!

TO READ THE WORDS CREATE WORDS ® JULY 2015 NEWSLETTER ONLINE, PLEASE CLICK HERE>>

Ai Should Stand For ‘Africa Inspires’ – WAIC 2015 Reflections

Ezelle_Center for Appreciative Inquiry_WAIC2015“AI should stand for ‘Africa Inspires’” said Richard Mugisha, friend, colleague and Afrikologist from Uganda. It was Cape Town, 2012, and we were discussing the next WAIC that would take place in 2015 on our continent for the very first time. We were reflecting that many conferences we were attending of late in our various disciplines, seemed to sidestep respecting, acknowledging and learning from local knowledge and wisdom and seemed to perpetuate a noticeable trend in development work to adopt a kind of neo-imperialism or colonialism – a stance that says that what we – the visitors, bring to you – the locals, is superior to what you already know and do. We started talking about Appreciative Inquiry, and how so much of what we grew up with in our various African contexts (Ugandan, Tanzanian, Kenyan and South African) has appreciation and wholeness at its roots. We were rejoicing that in AI we saw so many African principles and knowledges already at work. We were excited about sharing with others – the visitors – what we already knew and practiced in Africa that could enrich AI and not just the other way around.

Not surprisingly, then, what stood out for me during the 2015WAIC, were the wisdom circles in the morning where we learned from local people about their traditions and their applications of AI. My ultimate highlight was hearing Kapilolo Mahongo during the opening address speak in both the oldest African language, İXun – the language of the original people of Africa, and South Africa, and the world – as well as my own language, Afrikaans – the youngest African language. He told a remarkable story his father told him when he was a boy, to demonstrate the value of respecting and trusting diversity. The story goes something like this:

Two boys went out fishing one day, and the one boy caught a fish. Upon closer examination he saw that the fish only had one eye and this frightened him as he’d never seen anything like it, nor contemplated that such a creature could exist, until that moment. In a panic, he called his friend over, and together they worried and debated what they should do. Eventually his friend suggested they take the fish to the wise man in their village and ask him for council. On their way to the wise man, they came across many friends and family who were similarly alarmed by this one-eyed fish, but agreed that the boys should go seek advice from the wise man. When they eventually reached the sage, he told them very plainly to put the fish back into the water where they had hauled it from, as the fish’s people under the water were missing him very much.  And so the boys returned to the water and duly let the fish go. The moment the fish was back in its environment it went to seek out the wise fish man that lived under the water and told him what had happened. The wise man from under the water listened and then said, “you see now, every world has its wise people. And the wise people from different worlds can communicate with each other. And so the wise man from above the ground and I could communicate with each other and I could ask him to return you to us. And he listened and did as I asked. So you need not fear strange different worlds as there is wisdom, listening, and respect everywhere.”

To me this story so perfectly encapsulated what the 5 of us had wished for during that dinner conversation 3 years ago, and describes what is at the heart of Appreciative Inquiry at its best.

It was during another morning’s wisdom circle, that one of our white, privileged South African colleagues confessed what she learned the hard way after facing a fair amount of resistance (and understandably so) from those “underprivileged” she was trying to “help”:

  • Replace the need to “help” with an openness to learn and with CURIOSITY
  • Be open to change Yourself first
  • Don’t fix
  • Don’t save or adopt people as projects
  • Don’t dump your old stuff – if it’s no longer useful to you, what makes you assume it would be useful to us?

Simply shifting from this (often well-intentioned but nevertheless) deeply deficit-based stance, was the strongest theme I noticed amongst all the stories shared:

  • The shift or change happens in ME first
  • The shift is a shift in perception first and how I view others, and this then catalyses a shift in behaviour

Thirdly, it was a great highlight to see the diversity of AI practitioners and foci of application. There were people solely interested in applying AI in business contexts, and others, like Jeannie Cockell and Joan McArthur-Blair, looking at the interface between Critical Theory and AI in working towards social justice. These two epistemologies are both rooted in Social Constructionism and Cockell and McArthur-Blair have made their alignment more explicit by coining and expounding on what they call “Critical Appreciative Inquiry”.

Finally, it was a wonderful opportunity to make new friends and learn from one another – and to do this so close to the Cradle of Humankind where it all began for our species. Congratulations to the 2015WAIC organisers for bringing us and it all together in Mzansi!

The Importance of Core Teams in Appreciative Inquiry (Podcast)

Core Teams, as many of us know, serve as our champions for Ai interventions — igniting and fanning the energy within a group or organization to keep the excitement alive as they move towards their shared vision of their preferred future.

Kathy Becker, the President for the Center for Appreciative Inquiry, has (and continues to do) amazing work in the field of Appreciative Inquiry. Having seen the role Core Teams play in the success of Appreciative Inquiry interventions, Kathy designs and delivers workshops to provide continuous development and learning opportunities for Core Team members. She has delivered these workshops around the World – and with great success.

In her interview with Robyn Stratton-Berkessel of Positivity Strategist, Kathy shares her learnings and insights in her work with Appreciative Inquiry and Core Teams.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead

LISTEN TO FREE PODCAST >>

My Adventures with Appreciative Inquiry (in Las Vegas)

I first heard about Appreciative Inquiry years ago, on a Google rabbit trail. You know what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the rabbit trail that sometimes leads us to discover information about botched celebrity plastic surgeries, or some random tidbit of ‘knowledge’ about the lifecycle of a weevil or bed bug.

Well, the Google rabbit trail I wandered down all those years ago was a gooder. It didn’t lead me to a bunch of useless, negligibly interesting information that tends to clog up my already trivia-filled brain. It led me to learn about a concept that has had huge positive, life-changing, paradigm-shifting implications in my life. It led me to taking a recent trip to Las Vegas, more on that in a bit.

First off, I think that some people might find the term “Appreciative Inquiry” a bit dry and technical. If that’s where your brain went, I assure you, it’s not a dry or technical concept.

I like to equate the word “appreciate” to value, prize or revere. Those words feel rich to me. “Inquiry” is about discovering, envisioning and dreaming with innovation about what can be—right now.

The truth is the western culture focuses so much on deficits. What’s wrong? How can we fix this problem? What’s stopping this from being the best it can be? Why aren’t I/you living to my/your full potential?

I could go on and on here, but I’m sure you’ve heard similar queries. Basically I’m saying that the whole idea of problem-solving is flawed. This mindset, or paradigm, is based on seeing the glass half empty. The truth is that when we approach things from a problem-solving paradigm, we keep ourselves tied to the problem.

Freedom is big for me. There is no freedom when we are tied to a problem.

I find it really interesting that I can receive such positive encouragement and feedback from people, but if I hear one or two negative things, my mind ruminates on it for hours, or days—sometimes longer, especially if I feel that the comment is based on conjecture. If I’m not intentional about letting it go, I can let myself become plagued by the negative thoughts, for a really long time. I can feel the negativity in my body, the hairs on the back of my neck get prickly, or I get a knot or pain in my gut. I know I’m not alone here, I imagine a lot of you can relate.

The fact is that there is science behind this phenomenon. The reason why it’s very difficult to let that kind of negativity go, has to do with the brain’s limbic system—the primitive brain. But more on that in a future blog post.

So basically Appreciative Inquiry (AI) flips this whole negative paradigm on its head. It’s brilliantly simple, yet it can be quite complex to learn to see things differently and to integrate strength-based thinking into our “glass half full” brains. We all have a way of seeing the world the through the lens of our thoughts, experiences and feelings, shaping our reality in the process. If we see things through a positive lens, we will be creating happiness and wholeness for ourselves.

AI is about exploring, discovering and building on strengths. It’s about seeing the positivity, the beauty, and the profound in our lives, workplaces and communities.

Let’s first notice these things, explore them, and build on them, so that we can create a new paradigm for living happy, satisfying lives in the present.

In the philosophy of Appreciative Inquiry there is a strong focus on the present. So it’s different than goal planning or writing a mission or vision statement. The philosophy draws on strengths so that we can live fully now, not six months, or a year from today—right NOW.

We, as individuals, organizations, and businesses can focus so much on goals and reaching goals-outcomes measurement. But what happens when we achieve those goals? We simply check the goal off the list and then make new ones. As Shawn Achor says, “if happiness is on the opposite side of success, then we will never get there.”

The truth is if we are always living for the future we are never fully, mindfully living in the present.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “For the simplicity that lies this side of complexity, I would not give a fig, but for the simplicity that lies on the other side of complexity, I would give my life.”

My interpretation of this, in relation to positivity, is that “Simplicity that lies on the other side of complexity” happens when we focus on strengths, and build on them. It’s very simple, yet we as human beings really like to over complicate things by unconsciously adding layers of barriers that prevent us from seeing from a strength perspective.

So back to my Google rabbit trail…

I discovered Appreciative Inquiry years ago. I wasn’t brand new to the idea of building on strengths, because my work in mental health was really grounded in the recovery movement, which is also very strength-based. However, the idea of taking these ideas to the workplace and our communities was revelatory for me. I was a manager at that point, so I tried integrating some of the ideas into my work, but I always knew I wanted more.

I discovered an AI Facilitator Training held by The Center for Appreciative Inquiry, in Las Vegas. When I wrote my business plan back in December, I already knew that I wanted Appreciative Inquiry to have a large role in my business, both in the overall philosophy and in the service Luminate Wellness Website provides.

I hummed and hawed about when to take the training. Before I started this business venture, I really had no idea how complex and expensive starting a business was. Still, I knew taking this training was a priority for me. It took me almost two years to make the really spontaneous decision to sign up, and book a ticket to Las Vegas.

I hopped on a plane last week, and it was an amazing experience. (It was my first time in “sin city”, and really, I could write a whole blog post just on the oddity and grandiosity of that place. It was interesting to say the least.)

The facilitator training was a fantastic experience, with amazing people—people who became my friends by the end of the short, intense, and really fun week. On Monday morning we were a group of strangers with all different backgrounds, and by the end of the training on Thursday afternoon we were engaged, connected and expressing gratitude for each other. Strength-based thinking is profound, really. It can change life trajectories. Actually, it’s more like WE change our own trajectories when we choose to look at the world through a lens of possibility.

I’m very excited about where this journey is going to take me, and really about the process, because I want to be engaged and enjoy every twist and turn.

Last week was such a gift! It was certainly an investment—a investment worth every penny.

I wanted to share this TedTalk video we watched at the training. It’s by Shawn Achor and it’s called “The Happy Secret to Better Work.” It’s not a long video, but it’s profound.

At the end of the video (spoiler alert) he shares some research on how people have trained their brains to be more positive by doing the following practices on a regular basis:

  • Practice daily gratitude. Express thankfulness for 3 things a day.
  • Journal one positive thing a day.
  • Exercise
  • Meditation – allowing our brains to focus without multitasking.
  • Practice random/conscious acts of kindness.

I’m making an effort to do these practices with my family regularly. Last night we were thankful for face painting done by a neighbour kid (which my daughter paid $2.00 for), good food, and an engaging meeting.

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. Enjoy the video!

The Stories We Tell Have Power

Words. Words have tremendous power. Words, Stories, Narratives = Richness, Inspiration, Hope.

Words Create Worlds_Brene BrownTo me stories make meaning of the chaos of life. They add immense richness. Kinda like the cream cheese frosting on a cinnamon roll. Without it …ehhhh – could take it or leave it.

I read a quote this morning by film composer Gustavo Santaolalla. He says “Movies, for some of us, are a form of the modern church”. You may or may not agree with that statement, but regardless—the point is that stories are powerful.

Stories give us hope. Stories inspire. The words we choose to give meaning to our narratives have astounding power. Power to build up, and they also have the power to destroy.

We love real-life stories. Think of that dude named Steve, who was a college drop-out and then went on to have a HUGE influence in the way we interact with technology on a daily basis. AND he made the technology so very pretty. (I do love my Apple products.)

Or the single mom, living on welfare in the UK, struggling to make ends meet. She was working only a few hours a week at a church office, because she couldn’t afford childcare. Meanwhile she was secretly writing a children’s novel that would become a series of books and movies that would make her richer than the queen. Yup, she kept her writing a secret because she didn’t want to hear comments from people telling her that she was ridiculous or delusional for thinking she could write a book. Ha!

We also love made up stories about underdogs beating the odds.

Think of Luke Skywalker hearing Obi-Wan Kenobi’s voice telling him to “use the Force” at the end of Star Wars: A New Hope. So he fired two proton torpedoes into the Death Star and blew it to smithereens. He wasn’t even a Jedi yet, just a lowly farmer boy from Tatooine. (Yes…clearly I am a sci-fi/fantasy geek. I have watched the real trilogy more times than I’d choose to admit.)

If we as human beings love these “triumph of the human spirit” stories, then why is it so very easy for words of caution (read discouraging words) to come out of our mouths? If we dig on this triumph stuff, why isn’t that the worldview that we live from in our regular lives?

Have you ever had someone give you a “word of advice” when you were about to try something new or different, only to have them pretty much tell you that if you continue on this path, you will be sure to fail. I’ve been in that situation, even fairly recently. That is why challenging the status quo takes so much courage.

Have you given this kind of “sage” advice? For some reason I think we sometimes get some weird hidden pleasure out of popping someone’s bubble. Before I started immersing myself in a strength-based culture, I remember catching myself falling into that trap.

Negative comments hit us hard. I have had my share of negative things said to me over my lifetime, and I know that it takes so much personal, self-work to get past it. Let’s commit to being more mindful of how we choose to speak to someone. How our words will shape their story, or the belief they have about themselves.

We need to realize that we see other people through our own worldview. The cumulation of our life experiences influence how we see the world. So even though we think we see things “objectively,” we don’t. We are seeing just a mere piece of the puzzle. Who are we to think we can foresee someone’s life path? Who are we to criticize someone’s dream? We have no idea how the future will pan out. So why do it?

If instead we gave words of encouragement to others and truly believed that their inner expert/teacher will sort things out for themselves, how wonderful the world would be! Knowing that someone believes in us is so amazingly significant.

I have a personal story of encouragement that has influenced me in a profound way over my life. When I was in grade 9 (or Freshman year, for my American friends), I was on the track and field team at my school. My dad was an athlete, and I always wanted to have that natural ability.
The truth is that I wasn’t very good. I’m not an athlete. I realized this again a few years ago when I tried roller derby, and had to quit a month later after hurting my knee pretty badly. I didn’t even get a chance to pick a cool derby name, or really play the game…but I digress, back to track and field.

I have asthma, so that wasn’t in my favour as far as becoming a great runner. I really tried. I went to every practice. I participated in every track meet. I gave it my all. However, I never won anything. I didn’t win one race. Once I got a 3rd place ribbon, but the lame thing was that there was only three of us running. I didn’t tell anyone that. I just proudly displayed my ribbon for the rest of the event and taped it up on the mirror in my bedroom afterwards.

One day at a track meet my coach came over and sat beside me on the grass. He said, “Jenn, if everyone on the team was like you we would have a winning team”. I looked at him incredulously. I wasn’t one to swear at the time, but if I had’ve been, that would’ve been an opportune time to drop an f-bomb. I was thinking, “Why the heck is he saying that…? I’m clearly the worst on the team”.

Then he said, “You show up at every practice. You are dedicated. Even though you aren’t the fastest, you have the attitude of a winner. Our team would be one of the best if everyone had the kind of attitude you have”.

Wow. I still get emotional when I think of this story. I realize it’s highly unlikely that several decades later my coach remembers me in the slightest, or the fact that he said those words to me. Regardless, what he said had significant impact on me. It was a pivotal moment in my life.

He could’ve very easily given me a different message, and a lot of us wouldn’t have faulted him in the slightest if he had. He could’ve said, “Jenn, I think you might be wasting your time here. You’re trying hard, but you just don’t have natural ability to be a runner. Have you considered finding something else you are good at? Perhaps theatre?”

I ended up  figuring out for myself that theatre was my place, but I’m really glad that I gave track and field a try.

I’m so grateful that my coach chose to speak those words of encouragement over me. At the stage of life I’m at now, who cares if I won ribbons for my high school track team. It really doesn’t matter at all. What matters is that I felt empowered.

All those seemingly small words of encouragement I received throughout my life have added up to give me the courage to own my story. They’ve given me the courage to be the best me I can be.

When I think of this, I am not sure if it’s a chicken or an egg moment. Perhaps he saw some great truth lying within my awkward, gangly 14-year old exterior. Another possibility is that those words helped to shape me into the person I am today. I don’t know.

He spoke them over me & hearing those words helped to form the belief or story I began to believe about myself. For those who know me, you know that I am a fairly tenacious person. I wasn’t always this way, I think that this moment was one of the many moments that helped me to “find” myself, or discover my voice.

Narratives are powerful. Words compose our narratives.

The Center for Appreciative Inquiry has a newsletter called “Words Create Worlds”. As we speak, the words we use are simultaneously creating the world we live in. Sit with that for a moment.

What kind of world do we want to live in? What kind of conversations do we wish to have? What messages do we want to share with others?

Do we want to live in a world where people feel discouraged, judged, and fragmented? Or encouraged, connected, whole, and aligned?

If the worlds we create are dependent on our words, then what words will we choose to use? Will we choose to see the glass half full? Will we chose to see strengths rather than focus on perceived deficits?

Will we continue to root for the underdog—the Luke Skywalkers, the Steve Jobs and the JK Rowlings of the world?

I know I choose to live in a world where I feel inspired, alive, joyful and expansive. Holding grace for myself and others. I choose to believe in the underdog.

I choose to believe that the impossible is possible.
I choose to believe in you.
I choose to believe in me.
What do you choose to believe?

Words Create Worlds ® – May 2015 Newsletter

Just in awe…

I know all of you teachers, trainers, facilitators and AI Practitioners have experienced one of those high energy moments, and just felt “How lucky I am to be here at this time, with these great people and doing this amazing work”. Can you recall a time where you were just awed by the experience? If I am honest, I feel that way always when I am using AI these days – have the times changed or have I?

Recently I was co-training with Jim Pulliam and Melissa Robaina – and everyone was feeling it. You could feel it and hear it in the stories they were sharing, in the trust, the depth, the focus on each other. On day four of our Ai Facilitator Training, I was asked if it would be okay to share a poem at the start of the day. Don’t you just love it when people want to make the training their own? I had no idea what we were in for.

It was more like a one-man show as he slowly stood, looked around the room, and with the grace and command of Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain he filled the room with his presence and began the most beautiful rendition of ” Song Before Breakfast” by Ogden Nash from memory – no notes!

In our silence, we all connected deeper as we were pulled into our own complex emotions through his tender words, the inflection in his voice and the intensity of his eyes. When he was finished we sat silent and reflected. He told us the story and importance of this poem to him.  As a youngster his father would wake him just after daylight each morning and recite the poem with passion and bravado as he had just now. He pulled open the blinds and begin “Hopeful each morning I arise” through to the closing “If I should fail you, do not sorrow; I’ll be a better man tomorrow”. His gift to his son, and all these years later a gift to friends who just yesterday were strangers.

TO READ THE WORDS CREATE WORDS ® MAY 2015 NEWSLETTER ONLINE, PLEASE CLICK HERE>>