Proverbs 22:6)

It's hard to always turn the other cheek
When people love to slap me in the face,
But thoughtful words I much prefer to speak
And live my life with dignity and grace.

So many times I choose to wear a smile
When vicious persons stage a stout attack,
For there are those whose hearts are mean and vile;
They seem to have unending need to rile.
With half a chance, they'd stab me in the back.
From day to day I must forever seek
A way to keep my cool when there is flak
From those who want to get my heart off track.
When life itself is harsh and things look bleak,
It's hard to always turn the other cheek.

When I was young my mother often said,
"Don't fan a fire with cruel words of hate.
Just walk away whenever you see red,
And try to think of pleasantries instead."
When gossips' tongues let loose I get irate;
Sometimes I feel like spraying them with Mace,
Or better yet, I think it would be great
To scissor out their tongues and use as bait.
Mom's words are hard to totally embrace
When people love to slap me in the face.

At work I try to do my very best,
With thoughts in mind of earning more respect;
But if a raise in pay I should request,
My boss just laughs as if I'd asked in jest.
It's hard to smile when feelings are abject,
To show an attitude that's mild and meek;
For if the truth were known it would reflect
That I'm the one who makes his work correct.
Some say I should explode, that I'm unique,
But thoughtful words I much prefer to speak.

I guess my mother's words have made their mark,
Although it took me so much time to know
It's best to try to smile when things look dark.
Malicious gossip dies without a spark
When fanned with love; resentment soon will go.
Kind actions have the might to heal, erase,
But anger never soothed a single woe.
Therefore, when someone deals a heavy blow,
I put a happy smile upon my face
And live my life with dignity and grace.

Copyright 1994 Ruth Gillis

"Train Up A Child" received a First Place Award
in the May 1995 issue of Anterior Poetry Monthly.

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