“Children Learn What They Live”~~
I have the best job in the world! I have the honor of watching my clients heal, grieve, gain hope and confidence, self-esteem and peace. Sometimes, my client is the woman who is broken…full of shame and self-hatred because of the atrocities she has endured. Sometimes, my client is the young couple embarking on their lives together…coming to seek how to blend their communication styles to honor and embrace with other. Sometimes, it is the small child who simply thinks differently than others. They don’t know how to verbalize what they are experiencing…and it’s frustrating for them…..and then…it’s oftentimes frustrating for the adults in their lives.
Dorothy Law Nolte, was a family counselor and author. Her famous poem, “Children Learn What They Live,” was ever on my mind today. As parents, we were blessed with these bundles of joy, which grow up all too quickly, and without an instruction manual! Life often seems to be sailing calmly along, and out of the blue comes a hurricane with words that shouldn’t be coming out of our sweet child’s mouth; or our child is experiencing frustrations or hurts that break our hearts, and we feel utterly helpless.
There is great wisdom in Nolte’s poem. It provides us a roadmap of what we can role model for our child to teach them the characteristics we hope for them. I am very fond of my clients. The parents of the children who see me are heroes. They step out of their comfort zone to say, “show me other ways….”
I do have the very best job! At the same time, am so humbled by the vulnerability and genuineness of my clients; and am so proud of their courage and determination. Just as we teach our young children, we as adults put one foot forward at a time….and try…and try again. We can use all of our efforts as positive teaching moments…being genuine with our children, and honest with ourselves. Many people believe that we should be flawless in the eyes of our children. The truth is that we are not perfect. At the same time, we can use our not-so-successful efforts to teach our children that it’s okay not to be perfect. That sometimes, even we make mistakes. Though those discussions with our children (young and not so young), we can model for them genuineness, courage and determination.
As our children were growing up I had a little magnet on our refrigerator with Nolte’s poem, “Children Learn What They Live” as a reminder to me when I became tired, frustrated, or overwhelmed, to stop and think about my parenting goals. As a matter of fact, it is still there today….a gentle reminder, “how can I use this experience for good.”
There are wonderful resources available for parenting. Our website, http://cornerstonecounselors.com, lists many resources that we have put together as recommendations for parents. Check them out and remember, we all learn what we live.
“Children Learn What They Live” by Dorothy Law Nolte, PhD http://www.empowermentresources.com/info2/childrenlearn-long_version.html