These three pieces each hold individual life lessons that its reader can take with him or her and use them in his or her life. In Richard Hague’s “Directions for Resisting the SAT”, he displays the importance of paving one’s own success and not falling under commonly accepted societal restraints that “predict” one’s future. Gary Gildner’s “First Practice” is a poem that puts value in the mindset that it takes for a coach and his or her team to reach success through strong determination. Langston Hughes’ “Thank you, Ma’am” tells a story of not taking anything for granted for one totally random small act of kindness could really be the thing that changes someone’s life forever. These three pieces all have an echoing theme of the value of importance.
Richard Hague’s “Directions for Resisting the SAT” is a poem that depicts what it takes if a person would want to pave his or her own way to success. Although society may hold social standards and ways of doing things, Hague tells his reader to go against these norms. Hague implies that to be successful and to do things the traditional way is to be limiting his or her own potential. By giving this poem the title “Directions for Resisting the SAT”, Hague is stating that this standardized test is one of the widely accepted traditional ways of doing things that may not actually be at all useful and lucrative. That is to say that there are numerous ways of determining if a person is fit for something or not and the SAT is not one of them. Hague suggests to not let a test be the predictor of one’s future and instead to make that future for his or herself through his or her own and actual experiences. Hague says that a standardized test is not at all an accurate judge of character or intelligence. He is suggesting that the stresses and importance that society puts on these tests are absolutely useless since he believes there is no way they actually determine one’s future.
Gary Gilder’s “First Practice” tells a story of the strictness, seriousness, and rigidness that comes with preparing a team for a game. The intensity Gildner gives his poem makes it seem almost as if it is a sergeant getting his men ready for battle in a war when in reality it’s more like a coach’s speech as he tries to get his football team ready for a game. This poem provides imagery and sensory effects which have the power of transporting someone into that energy that surrounds a team. Gilder shows a retrospective lens that also has the strength to move someone especially if they have ever been in this sort of position before as either the coach or the player. The overall simplicity of the poem allows its reader to get a sense of the seriousness and importance Gildner has for this sport. This “all American” theme of this kind of sportsmanship intertwines the ideas of violence and teamwork in a way that can only be true for our culture. The last word of the poem holds the greatest amount of energy for it almost makes the reader feel the need to go out and start something for his or herself.
From a story of petty robbery comes Langston Hughes’ “Thank you, Ma’am”; a story that ends up holding great significance in the importance of changing other people’s lives for the better. Hughes’ character Roger is left to fend for himself and steel to make a living for himself since he has no family to support him. Ever so thankfully Mrs. Jones comes and, through the simple act of washing him up and giving him a meal to eat and money for himself, wealds the power to change Roger’s life for forever. Hughes implies that small acts of kindness although someone has attempted to do someone else wrong are the greatest ways to change the world. Hughes shoes that it all depends on how much an individual is willing to value that importance of kind gestures. Hughes recognizes that everyone in this world has a deeper meaning to do the wrong things in his or her life; in Roger’s case it was not just to buy blue suede shoes but also support himself. He portrays that all it takes is a person who has walked a mile in those same shoes to understand and want to revert a single person back to the pureness that he has the potential to be. The story teaches the importance on not taking things for granted and to have value for the simply extraordinary things that happen each and everyday.
Zen Meditation class teaches me to really have value for the simple moments in life that lead my mind away from it’s clutter and toward a clean, new, and refreshed start. I really get to see and appreciate the importance of just sitting and counting my breaths although it may still be hard to keep all my thoughts out of the meditation. The clarity that comes post meditation not only lets me see things in new lights but lets me find more value for them as well. I can confidently say that meditation not just in the class but alone has well is now a very important part of my life.