”Ode to Things” a poem by Pablo Neruda

A poem about loving stuff could hardly be cool, right? Aren’t we all supposed to be groovier than that? Well, I think this poem is the grooviest. I am right there with Pablo: I love my bed, my tub, sourdough toast, waxed dental floss and thick socks. Daffodils are the best. New sheets, rechargeable batteries, my Smiley Face bowl. Hot coffee, cold coffee, ice cold carrot juice. Math puzzles, cashmere anything and don’t forget peanut butter. GPS, NPR and the OED. OMG & LOL I can’t stop.

Bike Seat Smiley

But isn’t loving stuff mean you’re materialistic? It doesn’t have to. For me it’s about being thankful. Voicing your gratitude is a wonderful practice to share with your kids. Of course we might hope they’ll say something profound like they’re grateful for their sister. Should we be upset then, if instead they say they’re grateful for their bike or the TV!?

Strawberry Smiley and Onion Smiley

It’s all good. It’s all part of the dialog. The simple act of talking together about things that have brought them pleasure is a valuable act. The discussion can include thinking to whom you’d say, “thanks” if you could. I’d like to thank farmers and pickers for strawberries and onions. I’d like to thank the first person who thought to put yogurt and granola together. I’d like to thank the Fire Fighters who opened their doors so we could climb on the trucks.

Yogurt Parfait Smileys

With older kids the discussion often morphs to one about compassion for those who don’t have the things that make our lives safe, easier and comfortable. That too is a valuable conversation.

Fire Truck Smileys

It’s good to make thinking and talking about gratitude a part of your routine. It’s a great conversation to have each night as you tuck your babies into bed.

Nighty, Night, Rock Smiley

Like Pablo Neruda, I too sing an ode to all these wonderful things that have been made by the hands of mankind, things that exist because of the creativity and effort of others, things that we enjoy and that become a part of our lives and a part of who we are.

I hope others are thankful for the things that I do and make. I try everyday to be that person. It’s a good goal.

Smile. Be Happy.

Would it be too goofy to thank the bird who dropped this?

It made me burst out laughing in the middle of my mundane errands.

So yes. I am thankful for Bird Poop Smiley!


Ruth Kaiser

Ruth Kaiser is a preschool teacher, TED Talk speaker, children's author, AND the creator of the popular online art project SpontaneousSmiley.com where thousands of people find, photograph and share Smiley Faces they find in everyday objects.

Note: This Perspectives Blog post is written by a guest blogger of DrGreene.com. The opinions expressed on this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr. Greene or DrGreene.com, and as such we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied. View the license for this post.

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