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Discipline in Antiphonal Iambic Tetrameter

Posted by on November 2, 2014
XKCD: Iambic Pentameter

“Of course, you don’t wanna limit yourself to the strict forms of the meter. That could get pretty difficult.”

The selfish and disrespectful behavior of my kids (especially Thing 1) – such as taking toys that other people were using, doing something mean because they think it’s funny, or breaking rules because they’re inconvenient – has thus far been resistant to correction. We needed to try something different. Necessity, as the saying goes, is the mother of invention. The solution currently undergoing field testing is an idea that Shakespeare or the ancient Greeks might be proud of.

I’ve introduced a new mantra to be spoken antiphonally when an offense has occurred. I think it’s in iambic tetrameter with trochaic substitutions. Either that, or it’s in trochaic with iambic substitutions. Maybe. I don’t know. I’m not an expert in poetic metre.


I cannot do what I want to do (child repeats)
Just because I want to do it (child repeats)
It has to be okay to do (child repeats)

I had to cheat a little with the “what I” in line 1 and the beginning and end of line 2. Perhaps I confused my terms as well. Poetry nerds are welcome to post correcting comments. 😉

Anyhow, the point is to make this little poem so memorable that my kids know it like their names. Perhaps they’ll even think of it on their own before choosing to act selfishly (Child self-discipline FTW!). I’ll let you know if it works. 🙂