A little more than a hundred years ago all American public school report cards included a grade for "declamation." I have bought several old copies of Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard which had been inscribed to some child as a reward for his "excellence in declamation." Or a Merry Christmas from some Aunt or Uncle.
I'll bet no public school child today even knows the meaning of the word declamation. And what aunt or uncle today would consider a poetry book suitable as a gift to a child? They too often settle for gift cards as presents. It's too bad. They took all the old Nursery Rhymes out of the school system as being "too violent." Are they kidding? When they have whole schools read Hunger Games and teenage books about rape and incest. These are not called violent. They are praised as "realistic, "real issues," and down-to-earth issues."
The loss of poetry is too bad. Poetry helps to organize the neurons of the brain toward logical reasoning in the same way that classical music does. Sadly there is not much classical music around, either. Nursery rhymes and elementary rhythm bands were wonderful for childhood brain development.
I hope I'm not the only one who thinks this is a deplorable situation. For without lofty and inspiring thoughts to buoy us up when we feel low, what people are now sinking into is an artificial drug high of some kind to lift their spirits. Unfortunately what these these people don't realize is that there is ultimately a price to pay for introducing these uppers into the neurons of your brain. Becoming addicted to them is only one downside. Culture degradation is another. Would Lincoln have written the Gettysburg Address if he spent all is time twittering and facebooking as a child? First of all, he wouldn't have the vocabulary. And you need some alone time to develop your soul.
Anyway, here is the encouraging letter I received from one of my daughters. She remembered another Shakespeare phrase I used all the time.