Children Learn What They Live ~ by Dorothy Law Nolte

I was at my doctor’s office this morning for a rather unpleasant but routine procedure. As I sat in the waiting room trying to calm my nerves, I looked up to see a small, unassuming poster on her wall. By the time I finished reading it, I was so moved that I wanted to share it with you. Although I’ve been in my doctor’s office hundreds of times over the years, I have never paid attention to that particular piece of paper.

The poem ‘Children Learn What They Live’ was written by Dorothy Law Nolte in 1954. Later she also wrote a book by the same name with author Rachel Harris (Workman Publishing Co., New York). Over the years the poem has been translated into more than 35 languages and inspired generations of parents. Today it inspired me. You don’t have to be a parent to appreciate it, just look to your own life.

Children Learn What They Live
By Dorothy Law Nolte, PhD

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 Dorothy Law Nolte




Filed under Motherhood, Parenting, Poetry

2 responses to “Children Learn What They Live ~ by Dorothy Law Nolte

  1. Pingback: Children Learn What They Live ~ by Dorothy Law Nolte (via My Vancouver Life) « Kelli's space

  2. Pingback: My Vancouver Life Blog: 2010 In Review « My Vancouver Life

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