One of the most difficult tasks of parenthood in my experience is teaching our children resilience. I want to share with you a poem entitled ‘Nettles’ by Vernon Scannell, which captures this theme. Hopefully you find some encouragement and grounding in this lovely poem. Good luck with the going back to school phase.

My son aged 3 fell into the nettle bed
Bed’ seemed a curious name for those green spares,
That regiment of spite behind the shed:
It was no place for rest. With sobs and tears
The boy came seeking comfort and I saw
White blisters beaded on his tender skin.
We soothed him until his pain was not so raw.
At last he offered us a watery grin,
And then I took my billhook, honed that blade
And went outside and slashed in fury with it
Till not a nettle in that fierce parade
Stood upright any more. And then I lit
A funeral pior to burn the fallen dead.
But in two weeks the busy sun and rain
Had called up tall recruits behind the shed:
My son would often feel sharp wounds again.



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