Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Children Learn What They Live

This is a once commonly found poem written by  Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D and copyrighted in
1972.   I remember seeing it often, usually in poster form.  It always made me stop and evaluate
myself.  I was often found "lacking" and I would vow to do better.  You may remember it, or it
may well be "before your time".  Take a quick read...

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.

If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.

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

If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.

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

If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.

If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.

If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.

If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.

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

If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.

If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.

If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.

If children live with fairness, they learn justice.

If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.

If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.

If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Children DO learn what they live.  God places them in homes to be formed and molded. His plan
is for godly parents to nurture and train them to love and serve Him - that is our purpose in this

Unfortunately, we parents have our own issues.  We get off track...forget our purpose as parents.
When this happens, we begin to teach our children that other things are most important...
  • baseball
  • popularity
  • cheerleading
  • jobs and careers
  • success
  • popularity
  • physical beauty
  • entertainment
  • recreation
  • golf
Children learn that we're too busy.  They see what is important to us...and that's what they learn.
We can't fool them.

Bill Gothard taught that the one thing parents desire is to be proud of their children...and the one
thing children desire from their parents - approval.

This is my favorite picture this week...

I LOVE it... my granddaughter, Amelia, playing the piano with me.  Old, wrinkled, thin-skinned, age spotted hands - with tiny, perfect, soft as silk - sweet baby hands.

I find we want to just "tell" our children what to do most of the time. But God says to "bring your children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord".  We are pretty good at admonishing...teaching/telling.  But nurturing has the idea of teaching by DOING with. We are teaching our children by everything we do...they are listening...they are watching.  We have the opportunity to show them Christ's love 24/7, in fact...we are called to do so.  Our children are our #1 priority in ministry. The old "quality" time is what is important will not cut it.  Our children need quality quantity time to be nurtured for the Lord.

The truth is our children will learn how to make a living, they'll make it. But they will not learn how
TO LIVE unless they are taught and that is our job - given to us by God. They are HIS inheritance
to us, the only eternal thing we have in this life.

Amelia has been here at my house for  a couple of days.  She gets up and immediately, and I mean
IMMEDIATELY starts playing.  Why?  Why do children love to play?  They learn through playing.
They play house, they carry babydolls, they play cars, they build with blocks, they sing ....they build skills and learn as they play. Children need to learn by doing along-side the loving, guiding hands of their parents and grandparents.  This is nurturing. Oh yes, as the Granny - I have a part in this training too!

"Lord, remind me that my grandchildren also learn what they live. When they come to Granny and Papa's, help me nurture and give my attention.  Remind me to guide wisely and show them our love and devotion to You. They are learning what they live."


Shanda said...

Thank you for this post. It has so much wisdom in it. Unfortunately my kids are about grown but it is never too late to just stop everything for them and to model the characteristics that form a godly character.

Alex and Jill said...

Thank you for being a living example to me and all of my brothers and sisters. You taught us what is truly important. And thank you for the example you are living out in front of my sweet Amelia. I pray she grows up to be a Godly woman just like her Granny.

Love you so much, Momma!

Kevin said...

Beautifully written insight dear sister. Thanks for sharing your heart.