Friday, January 18, 2008

it matters

When you interact with children,
you must always keep in mind
that everything you do and say
has an enormous impact on their lives.
If you treat children
with love and respect,
it will be easier for them
to love and respect themselves and others.
If you treat children
with freedom and honesty,
it will be easier for them
to develop confidence in their
abilities to make decisions.
If you treat children
with intelligence and sensitivity,
it will be easier for them
to understand the world.
If you treat children
with happiness, kindness and gentleness,
it will be easier for them
to develop into adults capable
of enjoying all the beautiful things
in life. (Susan Polis Schutz)

I read this once in a book. I copied it and tucked it away. I just came across it and as I read it, I found it just as profound as the first time I read it.

I first read this before I started doing youth work. As I read it today, I was struck with the reality of how so many parents who don't live this way. There are many reasons why this happens, but in my opinion, it boils down to one or both parents being so involved in their own personal stuff that they lose sight of what a parent's role is in raising their child(ren). They may even have good intentions, but if they're not putting the child first - over their own agendas - then the child is left to their own devices to find the love, respect, et al. And I have seen first hand the spiraling effects of a child looking for their basic needs outside the family unit. It breaks my heart.

So I post this today as a reminder to all of us (you don't even have to be a parent) of what is important when raising and interacting with young people. Let's face it, there are times we all can be oblivious to how our words and actions might be affecting the ones we love.

link of the day:


Heather said...

It is amazing what sponges kids are. I babysit my nieces (ages 6 and 8) every day after school and I see from their behaviors and attitudes what home is like for them. They are both extremely sarcastic and they pick that up from their dad (my BIL), who doesn't know how to hold his tongue.

If people think that kids don't pick up those kinds of attitudes and behaviors, they are mistaken. Kids become what they see.

Melissa said...

Thanks for the reminder! Sometimes I do get caught up in what seems "important" in my life and kind of scoot the kids to the side for a moment... sigh... it's something I'm working on!

Short Stop said...

THANK YOU for posting this today. I really needed to hear this...especially as I'm feeling a bit lacking in patience as I'm uncomfortable and I'm struggling not to have my needs come first.

I love your heart for young people! Please keep sharing these bits of wisdom!

Jamey said...

Thanks for the reminder. It's definately something to live by! I think I will print it and put it on my fridge!

Barb said...

Wise words. Working with children again in Sunday School, I am more aware than ever to model for the children the teachings of Jesus. I want them to always feel that they are "heard" and loved.

Dana a/k/a Sunshine said...

I meant to ask you...did you do your own blog header and background? I really like it and want to change mine. I'm thinking of hiring someone to do it..cause I don't know how. I know somebody that will do the header (and I think the background) for pretty cheap..but I was wondering how you learned it or if someone did it for you? I would like to be able to change mine every season or so or change pics in the header - stuff like that.

You seem to be pretty knowledgeable so I thought I'd ask :)

Momma Roar said...

What a wonderful message to share. I just had some frustrating moments with one of the children and as I left their bedroom - I needed to return and just give them a hug - because I wanted them to feel loved, safe and secure. I think I need to copy this and keep it in a journal!

PS - Sooooo, do you like to skip?

Jen Hill said...

It is an incredible and awesome responsibility to raise children.

A very good friend and mother of 8 shared with me recently that she says a quick prayer with each of her children before they head off to school in the morning. What a loving and positive way to start your day with your kids.

Thanks for being a great inspiration and reminding me about why my role as a parent is so important!

Penless Thoughts said...

Absolutely the most difficult job in the world.

MammyT said...

I know you work with kids, as I have (both church kids and 'at-risk'). It's when they enter that fuzzy space between childhood and adulthood that we tend to really stop instilling those qualities in them. Why are we afraid of our adolescents? They live in a subculture and speak a strange language, but they really are still children. One thing I do is wave and smile at the teens and pre-teens I see along the street. They look at me like I'm crazy, but I hope it says to them, "Hey there, you valuable person. I'm glad to see you today and hope your day is blessed."
Thanks for sharing, D. It made me think and reevaluate.

Amber said...

I think it is tough to see the day-to-day impact we have on our children. THAT is a beautiful reminder.


I read this many years ago when my children were very young in their Doctor's office. It struck me much like it did you. It is so true. I have found. We should be very careful with our words and actions in dealing with children of all ages. Thank you for the great reminder. It just as true today as it was some 40 years ago when I first read it. connie from Texas

J-ME said...

A wonderful reminder. I have always liked Susan Polis Schutz's poetry. I think my husband introduced me to her through cards back in the 70's. This poem is a special reminder as I go back to teaching tomorrow. Sometimes the only encouragement a child gets is from someone other than their parents.... how sad.