There’s a poem written by Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D., titled “Children Learn What They Live”. You can find the book with the original work here, and a slightly different version of the poem follows below, shown on a lovely afghan:
A disclaimer belongs here – this poem is often viewed as being somewhat humanistic. I cannot wholly disagree with any part of it, though. Too often our pride causes us to lash out in anger at the deficiencies we think we see in our children. What will others think, right? What will others say about us when we aren’t around? Our insecurities about what we see wrong in ourselves causes us to overreact when trying to shape our children into what we wish we could be. Our criticism of any child – ours or others’ – could come from any number of things, few (if any) of them come from a loving place in our hearts.
The entire poem above could be summed up in the “Golden Rule”, which reminds us to treat others as we wish to be treated. Consider for a moment if someone you looked up to spoke to you or called you the same names you called them. Feeling good, yet? Didn’t think so. I’ve found it to be true that we often hurt worst, the ones we love the most.
Scripture points out exactly what Love is, and I cannot imagine that we should treat anyone – especially children with their impressionable minds and vulnerable hearts – any other way. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 reads, “4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails.”
What sort of person are you deep down inside? What sort of adults are you hoping your children grow to be? We can’t erase our mistakes, but we can have hope that our Creator will protect the hearts of these little ones from the messed-up adults He has tasked with raising them. And while we cannot erase mistakes, we can start fresh each day. We can remind all children how cherished and important they are. We can choose to be determined each day to cause them to be so filled with love and joy that it spills out of their lives and into a hurting world.