I Was Raised

A couple of years ago, a writing prompt (the borrowed title is a clue) produced this. Poetry (with or without form) challenges me in both my reader and writer roles. Family features prominently in our musings about life and the changes we encounter. I often apologize to my own kids for the inevitable counseling they’ll need for the mistakes we made raising them (insert smiley face here); truth is, everyone has some weeds surrounding their family tree. That so many trees flourish and produce good fruit testifies to the grace of the Master Gardener.

I Was Raised

I was raised by Truth. Always better than a lie.

What that means is…

I was raised by parents who discovered — oops! — we’re going to have another baby!

Parents who suggested a family vote when deciding what to name me.




Wilhelmina. (which got 2 votes)

I guess I was lucky. Life would be harder if I’d been a derivative of a German emperor.


I was raised by wise and haphazardly diplomatic parents.

I was raised by a dad who called me his ‘little one’ —

who was born and bred a farmer

who loved the land and his family —

sometimes in that order.

who lost his father the day his first son was born.

I was raised by a dad who never permitted the family dog or cats to come in to

the house.


I was raised by a mom who loved me when I was most unlovable —

who ironed sheets

who never had a dishwasher

who cried when hail destroyed her garden

and silently sobbed when her baby went to war.

I was raised by a mom who pretended not to notice when we’d sneak the family dog or cats in to

the house.


I was raised by brothers who considered me a plaything.

One —

who went to Viet Nam when I was six years old, and came back after

two tours of duty

Long-haired. Vacant. Changed.

The other —

who got married when I was seven years old on a Tuesday morning

in May.

No one smiled in the pictures. Oops.

They’re going to have a baby.

I was raised by brothers who were so much older that they never realized that I

grew up.


I was raised by a sister who considered me a nuisance

who capriciously refused to play ‘Barbies’ with me

who dated a guy who drove a ’67 Chevy Impala and took me along.


who left home for college when I was 10 years old, making me

the lone princess,

the favored child,

the spoiled one.

I was raised by a sister who, in spite of her misgivings, became my best friend.


I was raised by raucous laughter and not a few tears.

I was raised by arguments.

And compromise.

I was raised by mistakes.

And consequences.

I was raised by failures.

And disappointments.

I was raised by practice.

And success.


I was raised by effort, by trust, by faith, by love.

I was raised by sin and forgiveness.

I was raised by Truth —

And the truth is, I was raised by family.


But the greater Truth is simply this:

From death to life — I

Was Raised.


2 thoughts on “I Was Raised

    • Poetry has a way of getting kids to write about themselves and do it well. Everyone benefits — writers care about the writing, because the subject matter matters. and readers fall right in step with that, because they’re reading something with a great ‘so what?’ that engages them. Please use this poem if it can be a help in your classroom! 🙂

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