I spend a lot of my time focused on what we can do to help our children prepare for success in life. I read a lot of research studies and attend numerous seminars and discussions. One of my great takeaways is this: all children can learn! What they learn is up to us. This may be a simple statement, but it provides a foundation for us to consider how we instill a sense of self-worth into our children, one that is not constrained by race and ethnicity.
One of my favorite television commercials features little toddlers at play. This group of babies represents a wide range of skin tones but the children eagerly reach out, without hesitation, to relate to one another in play. Every time I see this commercial or encounter a similar experience with the children around me, I wonder how we keep the spirit of acceptance alive.
I believe there is merit in stepping back to remember how our attitudes and beliefs about our race are shaped. Step back into your childhood, think for a moment. When did your race or that of others around you begin to matter to you? How has that impacted your life? How can we improve the attitudes and beliefs about race for the next generation? I invite you to remember our children and to do your part to help insure this world is the kind of world they deserve.
My gift to you this day is this wonderful poem by Dorothy Law Nolte.
May the grace of God be with all the children whose lives you are blessed to touch.
Children Learn What They Live
By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.
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.
Copyright © 1972 by Dorothy Law Nolte