Several years ago I came across a beautiful poem that not only stuck in my mind, but is forever ingrained in my heart… I have recited this poem at several of my public speaking engagements, and I pass a copy out on decorated paper to the parents of the children I am blessed to teach each year.  Read this slowly and try to get pictures in your mind as you read line by line.  I promise, you won’t regret it.

Children Learn What They Live

By: Dorothy Law Nolte 

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?

Source: Canfield, J. & Wells, H. C. (1976). 100 ways to enhance self-concept in the classroom: A handbook for teachers and parents. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

We often complain about our current generation…  We make statements like, “These kids are unappreciative, ungrateful, and hostile.”  Yet, I wonder, what are we actually teaching them?

I have a six year old son, and just like every other parent that I know, I do my best to instill good values and give him all that I thought I didn’t have.  Sometimes, I wonder myself, if my own child is a bit unappreciative.  This evening, I saw the light…

My husband and I were watching the movie, “The Blind Side.”  We’ve seen it a million times, but it’s just such a beautiful message, it’s hard not to watch it one more time.  We normally don’t watch ‘our shows’ while my son is awake, but we felt it wasn’t a bad idea to talk to him about the lessons in this movie and allow him to watch the first 15 minutes.

My son became very interested in the movie and began to ask a lot of questions.  I answered him honestly, as I always do.  Upon hearing that some kids actually do grow up like ‘Michael’ (living in poor conditions, having little food, toys and parental love and support), my son started bawling his eyes out.  I turned, looked at him, and said, “Nico, hunnie, what’s wrong?”  He replied, “Mom, that’s so sad.  I am so lucky that I have a Mommy and Daddy who really, really love me.”  I was completely stunned and totally moved.  You would think, a kid in this generation (you know, the ‘unappreciative, ungrateful, hostile generation’), would immediately be concerned about not having toys at his fingertips.  Instead, he was appreciative.  

Tonight, my son taught me a very important lesson…

We cannot expect our children to just know something that took experience for us to learn.  We may not want to give them the same experience we endured, but we have to share our insights with them if we truly want them to know it.

You see, my son, had never really seen ‘the other side’ of life.  All my child has ever known, is the world he has grown in.  We cannot expect our children to be anything but what we teach them to be.  So to this I say…

Teach Your Children Well

In Love & Light,