Writing Mini-Lessons: The Marks We Leave, Poetry of Legacy
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens
can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
~ Margaret Mead
“The choices we make about the lives we live determine the kinds of legacies we leave.”
~ Tavis Smiley
Your goal is to consider your generation, society, and what mark you will leave behind. What is the impact you will have, individually or as a member of your generation? What will your legacy be? Demonstrate your desired legacy through poetry; let your voice be heard.
- Write down all the roles you play in the world: sister, brother, artist, friend, etc. Consider all the different roles you play in the world.
- In the family, community, school, nation, etc.
- What are your additional identities? Woman, activist, Californian, Chicana, etc.
- Circle the identities/roles for which you would like to be remembered: singer, thinker, etc.—really flesh this out
- Define your legacy: What do you leave behind? (not only things)
- With a partner, write two legacies per level that you believe our government will leave for future generations.
- On the community, national and international levels.
- You will eventually share these with the entire group
- Star the most powerful legacy you think the government will leave.
- Brainstorm what you think the legacy of your generation will be.
Using the brainstorm about what the legacy will be of the generation, reflect on and respond to the following:
- They say our legacy will be…
- Generation of…
- But I want my legacy to be as a ____ in the world.
- I want to be…
- I want to be able to say that I…
- Because I believe in…
They say our legacy will be lazy, tv culture with a yawn.
Generation of rising stars shot or overdosed or worse.
Generation of Taco Bell and McDonalds, left eye and middle school dances.
Snooze button, don’t vote, don’t care, don’t do anything much,
but the remote control and bass pounding.
Generation of flannel and baggy pants, dickies and button up shirts.
Generation X on the sidelines who is just too over it to bother. T
hey say our legacy will be nothing much, but quiet and simple to defeat.
A global sigh, passive and sad.
But I want my legacy to be as a poet in the world.
Speaking up for the truth, not going to silence me poet.
A wanders into the night, tell me your secrets poet,
writing about the struggle, the pain and joy poet.
A poet that makes your skin shiver.
I want to be a daughter who honors her parents,
a teacher who listens and a woman who stands up for herself.
I want to have the kind dignity
of my mother and grandfather, the pride of my grandmother.
I want to have roots that grow deep and keep me grounded.
I want to be able to say that I fought the good fight
and that my life was spent in the work of something larger than myself.
Because I believe in our responsibility to one another,
that words are sacred, that the distance between life and death
lies in every bit of truth said and not said.
I believe that every generation has to move forward
to survive and in order to honor my parents, I must honor myself.
I believe that when we die we will be measured
by how hard we fought for something better,
not how much money we made.
I believe in hard work, strong roots,
and holding tight to our deepest dreams.
We the People
the so called MTV generation
is locked in a box
by the constant barrage of should and ought
by the undertow of popularity
of conformity of density and intensity
by the need to choose whether
to expose the Achilles heel that is your reality
or to wear boots
by the blur of the line between want and need
by the ease of staring at what they say you should be
what you don’t want to be
by the mass generalization
the labels that society embroiders on your sweaters
by the box you have to fit into
the box that becomes your reality
which is a tragedy, really
he says as he flips on the TV
~ Alexis Kellner Becker