Every now and then former interns and colleagues ask me to send them the words to a little chant I developed many years ago. I’ve used it for years as a way to bring groups to a close while at the same time making it something that holds up and honors who they are as persons, no matter their age or their present-day circumstances. With younger children I suggest having them in a circle on their knees or bottoms, otherwise they’ll jump all over the place as they eagerly participate. When I teach it to a new group of children or teens I make sure to tell them that when I recite the line that begins with I am a neat fantastic human person!, I’m talking about them, and not me. Why? because I once had a child who was in a group for two months who said to me, “Oh, you mean that you’re talking about us, not you? Okay, now I get it!.” Perception is everything, right?
It’s basically a call-and-response, recited with gusto, pizzazz and bodily gestures that amplify the message. I say the first line and the whole group (in green) says it back to me as follows:
I am a neat, fantastic person… (Leader making eye contact around circle)
(children reply) I am a neat, fantastic person!
And nobody else is me, see?
And nobody else is me, see!
From way down there, (Leader pointing downward)…
From way down there!
To way up there, (Leader pointing upward)…
To way up there!
Me!.. (Leader points to self)
I am me, see?…
I am me, see!
My mudda… (really jazz this line up)
My fadda… (And this line too)
My whole fambamily!
My whole fambamily!
I am me, see?… (Expressed with confidence!)
I am me, see?
And please… (Leader stretches arm outward, palm up)
Don’t you… (pointing finger outwards outstretched hand)
Forget it!… (Leader pretends to blow out candle on outstretched hand)
Thank you… (Leader with hands on hips)
(children end with) You’re welcome!
(Leader then says something like “shoes and socks,” or silently puts hands over heart, or hands together making a prayer-pause symbol, otherwise they’ll keep on repeating you until their parents arrive! For some reason when you say shoes and socks to children, or backpacks, jackets and shoes to teens, they immediately scramble!)