I had the extreme honor of meeting poet Glenis Redmond over a decade ago when I was the founder & executive director of STEAM: Success Through Education And Motivation; a dropout prevention and motivation program for youth in Western North Carolina. One aspect of STEAM was our literacy program and it was through our literacy program that our youth found their voices–and, I found mine. It was also where Glenis taught us about the importance of writing a Praise Poem to celebrate our individuality and our lives.
My Praise Poem
by Christopher Tunstall
This physical body that stands before you, is a mixture of all people.
If not by blood, then by a spiritual bond that sees past color, religion, time and space.
My bloodline, some call a pedigree as if I am a dog,
Includes a blending of European ancestry.
To me, it is the mind, the soul, that individualizes each person upon the planet.
My mind is like a kaleidoscope, ever changing, moving in all directions at once;
While staying focused on what is important.
I am the American Dream in action.
From humble beginnings my family began.
Rising to heights of personal happiness and love.
I am the ram. With its image emblazoned over my heart in ink that is everlasting,
Reminds me each day of my being.
I am sure footed, strong willed and one who overcomes obstacles in search of more obstacles to become stronger.
My loyalty to those that place their trust, love and faith in me is unyielding like that of a dog.
My spirit soars free on the wings of an eagle—gliding through the sky with my friend the wind.
I am most comfortable near water, for I feel like a dolphin as it gracefully explores the depths of the sea.
I am mysterious, a logical thinker and able to make connections like a spider spinning its web.
My temper, protectiveness, and ability to work long hours are as fierce as a lion on the open plains.
As I walk this earth, I do so with confidence.
My 6′ body of flesh, organs, bones and blood are as strong and mighty as a steam engine going down the tracks
of life from one destination to another.
Are but temporary bricks that lay the foundation of a soul that is…
And, dying—just to do it all over again and again.
Over the course of 10-years that STEAM provided educational outreach services, my life was enriched beyond what any one person should ever realize. For this, I am eternally thankful. After I complete Part 2 of The Lannin Walk, my next goal is to offer STEAM and its highly successful 30-week life enrichment curriculum nationally to schools, home schoolers, youth programs, and church groups. To everyone who made STEAM a success, your selfless acts of love and compassion will never be forgotten!
To learn more about STEAM and poet Glenis Redmond, please watch the videos below.
My quote for today is from Oprah Winfrey, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”