Saturday, June 25, 2005

Children learn what they live

Probably the most common poem read at Baby Naming Ceremonies is Children Learn What They Live by Dorothy Law Nolte. And yes, the poem is plural and does have an author. Numerous adaptations of the poem are around, most used in namings are in the singular and have the personal pronoun adjusted to suit the gender of the child.

I've just bought a great little book in which Nolte (who wrote the original poem to explain what her parenting classes covered) explores and expands the meaning of each couplet. It is called Children Learn What They Live: Parenting to Inspire Values.

As Jack Canfield writes in the foreword
No parent I have ever known wakes up in the morning, turns to his or her spouse and says, "I've just thought of four great ways to destroy little Billy's self-esteem. We can judge him, ridicule him, shame him, and lie to him. Nobody sets out to purposely hurt their children, and yet parents often do just that. It's not intentional. It is usually out of unawareness and fear that
parents pass on their own limited beliefs and emotional hang-ups to their children.
When I ask parents what they would like to promise their child as part of my naming ceremonies, I see wonderful creativity, thoughtfulness and love in their responses.

Having read this book, the words I put round the principles of being loving, respectful, affirming and empowering parents, will reflect the poem more closely.

A good read and highly recommended to all parents.

Til next time