Humble and Kind

I always listen to the song “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw in his album Damn Country Music, but I never noticed all the poetic devices in the stanzas of the song. The simplicity is something I find really intriguing about it. It was actually written by Lori McKenna, who was trying to portray a message to her five children about the things she wanted them to know. It is basic expectations for children and things they should follow in their childhood. There is a direct audience to children. It was written to be told to kids to teach them morals and things that will help them in life. The speaker is a parent or guardian giving advice to their children. There is no specific occasion in the song, though I would imagine a parent singing this song to their kid in their house. It is a simple song that broadens the importance of morals and doing the right thing.

Right off the bat, we see an example of a hyperbole in the first stanza.

When childhood stars shine,
I know you got mountains to climb
Bitterness keeps you from flyin’

These are examples of a hyperbole because they are exaggerations. Bitterness doesn’t really keep you from flying. Also, you can’t fly. You don’t really have mountains to climb, this is saying that you are going to have to overcome challenges in life. You don’t have stars that shine when you are a child,this is saying that when you are doing great in life and showing everybody what you can do, you will stand out to people.

The line “I know you got mountains to climb” is also an example of allusion. The line really means you will have goals to accomplish, which is an example of allusion because it is saying something but means something else. We see that many times in this song, which gives the song dimension by getting a point across without saying it clearly.

Another thing seen in this song is the use of symbolism. We see this in the second stanza of the song.

Go to Church ’cause your mama says to

Visit grandpa every chance that you can

It wont be wasted time

Always stay humble kind

This example of symbolism uses life situations like going to church and visiting your grandpa to represent doing the right thing in life. This adds to the meaning of the song by making children relate and think about doing the small things in life and how that will get them very far.

Personification is presented in this song as well. We see it in a couple of lines throughout the song.

When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you

Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you

These are examples of personification because it is giving non-human things human characteristics. Dreams cannot really come to you and love cannot give you life. This makes the poem interesting by underlying things in life that can help you but not literally help you. These lines also dd to the theme of morals because they are pieces of advice for kids to take with them in life.

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