No one thinks you’re funny
Take your elbows off the table

Can’t you make your own
mind up about anything ?
Children need encouragement and constant motivation from adults. They may try out a new thing and it may fail. But when adults find fault with them and try to criticize them, it stunts their growth. Children start believing that they are good for nothing. Children most often seek validation for their efforts. They want to be thought of as funny, smart, bright etc. Adults may sometimes lose their temper and shout at them that they are not funny or smart. They may forget having said those words after a while. But those words remain etched in children minds forever and it impacts the self-confidence as they grow up.
Harsh criticism can affect self-confidence
The poet also talks about pointless things that adults tell children. For example, keeping their elbows on the table while eating is considered to be a bad habit. It can also be told as it may disturb people who are eating. But there is no logical reason behind these etiquettes. It has been passed down by generations and children are expected to follow them without a proper reasoning.
Keeping elbows on table
The poet concludes the poem with a couplet. A couplet is a stanza comprising of two lines. Having given orders and instructions as to how to move, sit, stand, eat, all through their lives, adults question children if they cannot make up their own minds. The poet wonders how a child is supposed to live or make his own decisions when their entire lives are filled with people telling them what to do and what not to. When children are made to act like machines, they tend to become like machines who are indecisive.
Words with Difficult Meaning:
EtchedMake a permanent mark
ValidationAppreciating someone for their efforts
IndecisiveNot able to make a decision
ElbowsThe bend or joint between the upper arm and lower arm
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2007). Honeycomb. Chivy: Michael Rosen(pp. 69-70). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.