Friday, March 01, 2013

Children Learn What They Live

In general poetry is not my thing. However they are two poems which I really like and I feel that those poems “hit home”. God knows if I am even interpreting these two poems correctly or I am even getting the correct message from them. But they do say that there is no correct or incorrect way of interpreting a poem, so I guess I am safe.

Today I am going to share one out of my two favourite poems. And that is Children Learn What They Live by Dorothy Law Nolte.

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.

As credit should be given where credit is due, I stole this poem from this link:

So, my thoughts on this poem.. I originally came across this poem by accident a few years ago. I was searching for something in Google, and honestly I don’t even remember what I was looking for, and I came across this poem and this poem really made me think. I like things that send messages and things that make me think.

This poem quite excellently summarizes what sociologists like to call socialization. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, socialization refers to how individuals pick up the norms and values and beliefs of their society and they learn by what is right and wrong. Without going into too much detail over the process and turn this blog entry into a sociology lesson, I will say that this occurs through observation in the sense that individuals learn what they see.

This poem really well summarizes the impact and the influence that the people around us have on us. Whether we choose to admit that impact or continue to deny that impact, that is another matter. What you see around you impacts your personality, it impacts our outlook on life. And notice how the author says “child”, not “individual” or “human being” or “person”. “Child”. Because it is childhood that impacts our personality and it is childhood when personalities are developed. Childhood experiences are so important that the psychologist Sigmund Freud would link everything to childhood. Freud has been discredited for most of his ideas and theories but his theory regarding the importance and impact of childhood is still standing.

This poem has taught me that one must be very careful what message they are sending an individual, child or adult or youth, because of what impact that message may have on that individual. I will leave with the words I heard on the trailer of a television show several years ago, “Words are powerful, use them wisely”.