While I was growing up, my next-door neighbor had this poem on a poster in the kids’ room. By the time I was a teenager, I was their babysitter. One time, while putting them to bed (after the lights were out) I asked them if they knew the words to the poem on the wall. It was so cute, all three of them reciting this thing in the dark. 

I don’t know them anymore but often wonder if those kids had kids and whether they thought about this thing while raising them. 

For me, these are probably the most important things I know about parenting. 

Children Learn What They Live


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 ridicule,
He learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame,
He learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance,
He learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement,
He learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise,
He learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness,
He learns justice.
If a child lives with security,
He learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval,
He learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
He learns to find love in the world.


6 thoughts on “Children…

  1. I remember this from when I was a kid too. My mom saw it on the wall at the doctor’s office. She copied it with pen and paper from her purse then finally tracked one down and hung it on our bedroom wall. This was about 1971.

  2. I love this but it just drives home the mom-guilt I feel when I lose patience with the morsel, or scold her. I hate not being patient. I hate that I can’t always be a great mom. She’s a super kid and I know it hurts her when we have strife and I feel bad, even when she’s giving me attitude or is rude or whatever. Everything in that poem is true. I just hope I’m not going too many things wrong. Ugh. Sometimes it’s so hard for me to do the right thing.

  3. There is no such thing as a perfect parent. I certainly have broken all of these at one time or another.
    Now go steal some of the morsel’s halloween candy and give yourself a pat on the back, you’re a good mom.

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