Children Learn What They Live

Children are such a blessing. When they come into this world they bring joy to the hearts of those who see or know them. A young couple brought their little 6-day old baby boy to the office yesterday, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. He was so precious, full of love and life. Babies completely trust in those who hold them, feed them and change their little diapers. They come full of love and happiness. Their precious innocence is awe inspiring and can weaken your knees. I wanted nothing more than to sit, rock and stare at the wonder of this new life. Just to watch his every move and facial expressions … wondering what was going on behind those closed, sleeping eyes. And what was he experiencing with all the new sights and sounds, smells and sensations? What a glorious, glorious moment it was for me to see and hold such a precious bundle!

Several days before that experience, another lady brought a poem to me that she has had for quite a long time. As I read it, I was taken back by the simple truth found behind the words. Each line held an image of someone I knew who is or was a reflection of the statement. I could see myself in it as well. I want to share this poem with you.


If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.

If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.

If children live with tolerance, they learn to be patient.

If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.

If children live with praise, they learn to appreciate.

If children live with fairness, they learn justice.

If children live with security, they learn to have faith.

If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.

If children live with acceptance and friendship, they learn to find love in the world.

Unknown Author

I grew up in a home where I and my siblings were often criticized, ridiculed, judged, and often lacking approval or encouragement. We were taught responsibility, respect, and right from wrong. But we always knew that if we needed them, our folks were always there for us.

As I read the above poem I recognized those things I have long had to work with and work through. I realized how difficult it is to sometimes see why we think and behave the way we do … after all, whatever the characteristic might be, we have been living with it for awhile! It has probably been ‘drilled’ into our heads a number of times!

But, take a long close look at the poem. Read it very slowly and after each line take a moment to reflect on its meaning. Think about those you know who are a reflection of the line’s meaning … and whether it can be applied to you as well. It is a simple way to garner some clarity and understanding about yourself, the ones you love, and those around you.

And by no means does this poem infer that our parents, guardians, or caregivers ever meant to make us a victim! In fact, if you feel the victim … then its time to stand up and take responsibility for yourself, your health, and your happiness!

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