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Classroom Resources for November

See end of page for newly added resources)

A friend recently asked me about resources on the theme of remembrance for November, which got me thinking. This page is the result ... hope teachers will find it useful.

I was originally asked to suggest a film for the occasion, and A Walk to Remember (2002) sprung to mind. It's a trendy teen film whose heroine is genuinely religious. The opening is dramatic and the film holds the attention with its fine charaterisations. It is not overbearing in its positive messages and that's not all that's going on. Apart from faith it deals with relationships, school bullying, marriage and death. Hard to fault though the ending is somewhat sentimental. I have found that it is popular with young adults.

Music wise we are spoiled for choice and there are many suitable songs that could enhance remembrance prayer services. My favourite is 'Now is the Time for Tears', by Charlie Peacock from the album Coram Deo (play it on left). Based on Scripture it explores our reaction to bereavement - how there can be times we don't know what to say, or say too much. The lyrics are here, entry for March 12th. I like Leonard Cohen's 'Going Home' (lyrics here) - the chorus is particularly appealing, as is the imagery in these lines: 'Going home Behind the curtain Going home Without this costume That I wore'. However the ironic 'lazy bastard' reference might not be what teachers would like to hear during a prayer service!

Another very personal song about bereavement is Judy Bailey's 'Life Goes On' from her album Travelling (see video below). The lyrics are here - just scroll down to the relevant track. below is the official music video but you can see her performance of the song at World Youth Day here.

Beth Nielsen Chapman's album Sand and Water grew out of her own experience of bereavement when her first husband died. Particularly suitable are the title track, 'Beyond the Blue', and 'Say Goodnight'.

Poetry-wise 'Felix Randal' by Gerard Manley Hopkins springs to mind. The priest-poet tends to a blacksmith who eventually dies, but lives on in a positive memory.

Patrick Kavanagh's poems Memory of My Father and Memory of My Mother will strike a chord with many readers.

And here's a poem by Joe McDonald in memory of his mother, Bridie, who died in 2013.

LAST SUPPER

I did not know then
Nor do I fully grasp now
That it was our Last Supper
As we broke bread, remembered,
Gave thanks and gave out,
Grumbling smiles, for all, each other,
You and I, my lovely Mum.

Slower now, I saw you hobble
Towards the stained glass
Of our door,
Nothing slow or pained
In the bright smile,
Warm hug.

Seeing the kitchen table bare,
I moved to set it,
No, you laughed, we are in the
Dining Room this evening,
'Sure it's Easter Sunday, son',

We dined like royalty
That Resurrection Evening
Unhurried, together.
No, I did not know then, that,

Soon, very soon, you would
Cease to hobble and begin
To dance......
Did you....?

© Joe McDonald

 

More to come ...

The Cloud's Veil - Liam Lawton