Children Learn What They Live

In 1954, American writer and family counselor Dorothy Law Nolte wrote a poem on child rearing for the Torrance Herald.  The poem was titled “Children Learn What They Live”.  The poem resonated with parents so much that it was even distributed to millions of new parents by a baby formula company.  The popularity of that poem hasn’t died away, and for very good reason.  The words and message are as relevant today as they ever were, and they serve as a good reminder to us all on how to lead by example.

Children are what they learn, so a little love and patience goes a long way!
Children are what they learn, so a little love and patience goes a long way!

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.

-Dorothy Law Nolte

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