I first saw the poem ‘Children Learn What They Live’ written on the wall of my doctor’s office nearly a decade ago. Single and childless, the only childhood I was familiar with was my own. But lately, as I watch the day-to-day moments, both mundane and miraculous, of my children’ lives, I find myself thinking about this poem.
It’s stuck with me. It’s resonated. It’s made me think. Perhaps it will do the same for you.
If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive.
If a child lives with pity, he learns to feel sorry for himself.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with jealousy, he learns what envy is.
If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be confident.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to be appreciative.
If a child lives with acceptance, he learns to love.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with recognition, he learns that it is good to have a goal.
If a child lives with sharing, he learns about generosity.
If a child lives with honesty and fairness, he learns what truth and justice are.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith in himself and in those about him.
If a child lives with friendliness, he learns that the world is a nice place in which to live.
If you live with serenity, your child will live with peace of mind.
With what is your child living?
~Dorothy Law Nolte
So let’s fill our homes with encouragement and tolerance, praise and acceptance, approval and recognition, sharing and honesty, fairness and security, friendliness and serenity. Let’s make our kids confident and patient, appreciative and loved, ambitious and generous, conscientious and trusting, friendly and peaceful. I’m off to get started…