Just a thought… Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced. [James Baldwin]
I’m not including this picture simply because it helped raise my seratonin levels, and may do the same for yours (I hope). No, I’m sharing this lovely shot that Brooke, our daughter-in-law, took yesterday of Colin and his now eight-month-old sister Jane, because to me it is a reminder of the tenderness in children’s hearts. How they are not born to hate or to discriminate.
They see differences, of course, because children can be the most oblivious but also the most observant among us – and often without filters. But they are all basically the same. Those differences don’t matter. Unless they are taught otherwise through word or deed, they hug and share and play. Of course they scrap – so do we all. But children see each other’s hearts. Do I want you to be my friend?
From the time our children are born, they thrive as much on love as they do on nutrition. Love from, and for, their parent or parents, their siblings and all of us who make up the village that helps them grow into good, decent, caring and kind human beings.
That picture that popped up on my phone reminded me of a poem that our grade school class performed for parents one night, many decades ago. I now know it was more of a message to the grown-ups than it was to the students delivering it. Each of us took a line we’d memorized and nervously spoke it from the stage, also singing a chorus with these lyrics: “Children learn what they live, children live what they learn. Teach them the way to love in their heart and they will find love in the world.”
It’s a poem by Dorothy Lew Nolte.
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.
The sentiment is simple but I felt compelled to share it today. So much of what we see played out around us every single day began in our homes as children. How we treat each other; how we treat ourselves.
In poking around to find the song, I came across it on Youtube. It’s from the Desiderata album and, sure enough, it’s the one that we sang. It may sound like it’s some 50 years old – which it is – but, strangely, it gave me comfort. And these days, I’ll take it where I can find it.
May the darkness of these days be followed by a new, enlightened time. I know, I know – it’s a lot to hope for. But I’ll take hope over hatred every time.