Let Your Voice Ring Out

To have the sense of one’s intrinsic worth …
is potentially to have everything.
~ Joan Didion

Insight is nurtured within quiet souls. When released, it has the power to change lives. Many of my writing students have been quiet, hardworking people all their lives, devoting themselves to their families and their jobs. Many of them tell me they loved writing in high school or college, but they stopped afterwards. I encourage them to tell their stories in their own words. Today, I asked them to let their voices ring out.

Let My Voice Ring Out and Over the Earth

Let my voice ring out and over the earth,
Through all the grief and strife,
With a golden joy in a silver mirth:
Thank God for Life! 

Let my voice swell out through the great abyss
To the azure dome above,
With a chord of faith in the harp of bliss:
Thank God for Love!

Let my voice thrill out beneath and above,
The whole world through:
O my Love and Life, 0 my Life and Love,
Thank God for you!

 – James Tomson (1834-1882, only 48 years old…)

They do not voice complaints, and instead share their stories with trepidation, some afraid to be considered complaining or unfortunate. I don’t perceive telling the truth as complaining. I don’t greet their words with pity, but with joy. Joy to hear how strong and thoughtful they are. And joy that I have contributed in some small way to helping them find their voices.

From your well-spring of self-worth, from the source of your voice, comes all the things that make life worth living, despite the hardships, the mishaps and the worries.

let your voice ring out
let the birds startle and fly,
into the trees

Blue sky and a tree in the shape of a heart.

Do you see the heart?

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

Inspired by the Haibun Thinking Week 10, Quote Week. Thanks to the people volunteering their time to help motivate others to write.

81 thoughts on “Let Your Voice Ring Out

    • I’m starting a list like yours so I can find people when they don’t come up in my reader. Plus people often have 4 names I have to try to remember and keep straight — blog name, gravatar name, website URL and personal name. I’m just not that smart! I’m putting it all in a database slowly. May take weeks. And in the reader, often hours of liking and reading vanish. How frustrating is that? I’m tired of duplicating effort. I need to be more time efficient so I can work more on my novel. Hugs, sky sister, Brenda

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      • Well I think you do Brenda. I think as a teacher you are doing wonderful things for you students. Encouraging people to write and guiding them into finding their voice is a great skills to have. Good for you I say.

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        • Thanks, I do love it! I feel deeply rewarded and benefited by being able to teach. I have always looked back on my teachers will respect and appreciation. It’s a unique, giving profession. I’m glad to be participating in it.

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          • The mark of a good teacher is in your own knowledge of your subject but also and I think this is most important, your ability to form relationships with your students. Treat them as people, as intelligent beings who like you hurt if you hit them, sing when happy and cry when upset. I found I had to listen to my students as that way I too learnt as we went along. You are right it is a unique profession. Great that you love it. Keep up the great work Brenda.

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  1. You have hit on what I love most about teaching. Encouraging our students to express what is really going on with them, to find their own voice instead of trying to imitate some voice they have been taught to think is somehow “correct.” Expressing what’s inside always trumps writing for approval. I love this post! 🙂

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    • I’m so glad you think so. I haven’t been teaching long, but it’s one reason I wanted to teach, to validate others and help them express themselves. Thanks for commenting! Warmly, Brenda

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  2. Let your voice ring out!! That such a positive message, and yet so many hold their voices in. It’s something we should all learn to do at some point in our life. We seem to be very body concious, in a negative way (humans) and not liking the sound of our voices is yet another body concious embarrassment. It would be good to fling all that off, in the process of our voices ringing out- yes, go for it!! 😀

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    • Yes, think how cleansed we would feel afterwards. Flinging joy into the air and love and memories, good and bad. It would be like being a kid with your mom, who loves you no matter what!! I have the vaguest, dimmest memory of that.

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  3. Brenda, I always take something positive out of your posts. This one brings me encouragment. Loved the photo, it was refreshing, and showed me promise. Take care, Bill

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  4. I know I mentioned this to someone… But I think it is worth repeating.
    My grandson is about 3 1/2. He was watching Sesame Street where Oscar was reading a bed time story to his worm from The Adventures of Trash Gordon. When it was over he asked me what I thought Oscar and Slimy the worm dreamed of? I tossed it back at him. And I wrote down the words he said, drew pictures for him to color and let him draw his own illustrations too. Stapled it together and gave ‘Mommy’ his booklet when she picked him up.

    Imagination is a wonderful thing. As well as sharing those stories that make us who we are. Continued success to you and your class. ~Hugs, Jules

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    • Thanks, Patty! I have started to get longer and longer between award postings, but I’ll get around to it eventually. And thanks! I don’t think I’ve gotten this one before.

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  5. Brilliant as always…..when I got back into writing just a year ago, I said the same thing about I loved writing in school and so on. It is really freeing and has helped me with so many things to write once more.

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  6. It is always great to get us motivated and especially students that may need extra words of encouragement! Everyone has a story to tell or words that are meaningful! The power of voices ringing out is so wonderful! Smiles, Robin

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  7. Well done Brenda. What an inspiring post. I read the haibun prompt and thought I had nothing to say on the matter. After reading your post I’m tempted to give it go. I love the way you have included your class and the old poem within your haibun. They give it a universal feel.

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    • I think this is a universal issue. And a feminist issue. So many women are taught to be silent, to defer, to listen and along the way lose their voices. People do it to boys, too, but at least boys aren’t called bossy.

      I do hope you will write, pinging off me or striking out in a new direction, I am pleased either way. I like to hear your voice, Suzanne, you feel like a kindred spirit to me.

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  8. I loved what you did with this. The way you used your class and James Tomson. Excellent.

    I went to the image to see if I could see a heart shape, and realised in a second that it is the organ you are looking at. Literally the Tree of Life 🙂

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    • Hi Al, I’m glad you found the heart! And thanks. I stopped to think about the quote, and it seemed to me to be part of what I was talking to my students about. I love that you saw the tree of life. 🙂 Cheers, Brenda

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