MENU
Pin It

 

The author of this poem Dorothy Louise Law Nolte’s would have been 86 years old this year. A trained family counselor , who also founded a kindergarten, taught parenting and childbirth classes, and was a published writer, Law in the mid-1950s wrote a poem, “Children Learn What They Live, ” as a submission for her family-matters column in California’s The Torrance Herald.

 
184 parentscorner
 
 
 

 

Now, more than 50 years later, her simple words still serve as something of a guidepost:  My interpretation of some lines are in ( parenthesis).

If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn…

(If a child receives constant disapproval, he will disapprove of others)


If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight…

( If you always beat your child, the child will beat others)

If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive…

( A child will constantly worry if he lives in fear)

If a child lives with pity, he learns to feel sorry for himself…

(A child will feel sorry for himself, if he is always surrounded by sorrow)

If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy…

(When you make a child feel bad about him self, he becomes shyer)

If a child lives with jealousy, he learns to feel guilt…

( A child will feel guilty for having things if others show constant jealousy towards him)

 

( Below is what is meant by positive motivation, it means to help a child to develop in a positive manner)
But…

If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient…

If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be confident…

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 honesty, he learns what truth is…

If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice…


If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith in himself and those about him…

If a child lives with friendliness, he learns the world is a nice place in which to live.


With what is your child living?

The piece was translated into 35 languages. Nearly 20 years after she wrote it, Law discovered it was being distributed by a baby food manufacturer. She then copyrighted it, but allowed the company to continue to use her words for free.

In the late 1990s, the piece was published as a book, with each line in the poem serving as the subject of a chapter. In 2005, it became a bestseller when Crown Prince Naruhito likened the book to his guide for raising his daughter, Princess Aiko.

Although Dorothy Louise Law Nolte died in 2005, her sentiment, her wisdom in these simple words, can live on through the lessons and values we teach our children.


This article is written by Lahoma Williams an independent education consultant who specializes in childhood education.