Children learn what they live and see

Bird Droppings August 9, 2011
Children learn what they live and See

I was sitting in my room at school last night from three till nearly seven for our annual open house and talking with various parents and students that came by. Several made comments about how their child loved my class and my ego was boosted not that it was ever deflated but it does feel good to be applauded occasionally. Along the way another parent as they talked said you are the greatest teacher my child ever had. By now I was on cloud nine and rising. But I stopped and thought had it not been for great teachers I would not be who I am. It is how we live and what we see and hear as we live that make us and mold us into who we are. I was reading autobiographies yesterday students were writing and where we have been and what we have seen so impacts us.

“I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be the happier. If you cannot, I will seek to deserve that you should. I will no longer hide my tastes and my aversions. I will trust that what is deep is holy…that I will do strongly before the sun and moon whatever rejoices me and my heart appoints. If you are noble, I will love you; if you are not I will not hurt you and myself by hypocritical attentions. If you are true, but not in the same truth with me, cleave to your companions…I WILL SEEK MY OWN…I do this not selfishly, but truly. It is alike in your interest and mine, and all men’s, however long we have dwelt in lies, to live in truth. You will soon love what is dictated by your nature as well as mine..and if we follow our own truth it will bring us out safe at last.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Seems I can nowadays find an Emerson or Thoreau quote to fit most times. I am sitting and thinking about children after the parent open house and how and why we raise them to be who they are. Later today I am evaluating several children using standardized tests to determine if they are “normal” or not. However much of my evaluation is my perception of these children and where I think they should be. Somewhere in that effort I have to fit them in, not simply my own picture of what it is they should be but a description and understanding others can agree on.
Many times over the years I have written numerous times about a poster hanging in my classroom actually immediately in front of me as I type. No author is listed on the poster. It is a brightly colored 1970’s black light poster I found in a head shop in Philadelphia back in the day. Around the statement are several flowers and cartoon character children with smiles across their faces. I did an internet search years back and found that a child psychologist; Dr. Dorothy Nolte penned the poem. The title is “Children Learn what they live”. Back in the day as my youngest son says so often, for me back in the days of hippies and peace, so many years ago that is the statement on my poster.
As I looked for the author on the internet something interesting happened. I typed in her name wrong, just a minute error and nothing I found was what I was looking for. There were different people and different topics but not her poem. Tens of thousands of hits that were all wrong, from a simple error in typing a letter or two.

“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.”
Dr. Dorothy Nolte

Available at following website:
http://www.empowermentresources.com/info2/childrenlearn-long_version.html

The entire long version is on this author approved site. As I searched for the poem on that morning it dawned on me. What if I make a slight error in evaluating a child and go a totally different direction in one or two key strokes. That is a b big what if with a child’s life. A child is placed based on my educated and experienced guess. Sadly so often as parents, teachers and friends we only see those around us in light of our own experiences and perceptions. The old adage of “walking a mile in my shoes” is so true. It is difficult to know what has elicited the response, when you only have your own information to base your response on and to operate from.
Recently in several emails various worldly views have been discussed. As I read Emerson’s thoughts on being true, “If you can love me for what I am, we shall be the happier.” So often we want to change that person and in my situation at school, that child. I keep coming back to Nolte’s poem. The far more powerful lesson is in setting the example. We can evaluate and place children but if what they continually see is in contradiction, we will fail. There needs to be truth and example for them to emulate and strive for. I encourage each of you to read again Dr. Nolte’s Poem take a few minutes of your time and see what the words hold for you. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.
namaste
bird

Children Learn what they Live

Bird Droppings May 20, 2011
Children Learn what they Live

It is such a beautiful morning and quiet out side, I had the opportunity to sit and meditate for nearly an hour under the full moon today. I took our dog out and the air was still and nearly silent however the quiet and sounds that permeated were fantastic. A great horned owl periodically pierced the quiet along with a whippoorwill. As I listened a bit more carefully, still little noise even in the background other than handful of crickets and a soft breeze in the trees. I had burned some sage leaves in a bowl with a smidgen of sweet grass and the aroma added to the ambiance. For the first time in some time there were few human interferences available. Air conditioners were still as it was cool, cars were not quite moving on the nearby roads, and most normal animals and humans were still asleep. I started thinking about my on views on education and raising kids. I came back to some old ideas I have had around for some time.

“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.” Will Durant

I have used this story several times over the years having shared this short thought in previous droppings and in classes. It is a story entitled “Our nature” which is from ancient Zen thought and writings I found this on a professor from Rdyer University’s website after seeing the story numerous times thrown out on the internet.

“Two monks were washing their bowls in the river when they noticed a scorpion that was drowning. One monk immediately scooped it up and set it upon the bank. In the process he was stung. He went back to washing his bowl and again the scorpion fell in. The monk saved the scorpion and was again stung. The other monk asked him, ‘Friend, why do you continue to save the scorpion when you know its nature is to sting?’ ‘Because,’ the monk replied, ‘to save it is my nature.’ “ Dr. John Suler, Ryder University

As I look at this story there are many possible reactions. How foolish is the monk who gets stung, first he knows it is a scorpion, then he also knows scorpions will sting, and lastly he has been already stung once. What lesson is being taught in this passage? There is also a similar story Dr. Suler uses from Native American lore of a fox and scorpion crossing a stream. I find there are applications to parenting, friendship, and teaching within the context of a stinging scorpion. As I read this morning looking through various articles by Dr. Suler and Sydney J. Harris I came up on this article from Harris’s column Strictly Speaking. .

“The student, who could really get an A if he wanted to, cannot really get an A because he really doesn’t want to. And the wanting to is an essential part of the achieving, not a separate thing, as parents imagine, that can be injected into him like a shot of adrenalin. All genuine and meaningful and lasting motivation comes from the inside, not from the outside. The carrot and the stick work maybe only as long as the carrot is in front and the stick behind. When they are withdrawn, the motivation ceases. You can get a mule to move this way, but not a person for very long.” Sydney J. Harris, Motivation, a key part of Talent

Yesterday in class I was listening to students tell why they have low grades as we get into finals. One made the comment “but I am passing I have a 70” and another blurted out “what do I need this crap for anyhow”. As I listened and looked through various notes and ideas I wondered how we instill the idea of motivation in a child or student. How do we change the attitude of so many? Most of the students yesterday when told about the monk getting stung would say he was stupid, just step on the scorpion or why waste your time. Occasionally a person will pop up and say, “The scorpion has a right to live too and that is why the monk helped it”. Somewhere when I first started working with children back in the dark ages I found a poster around 1972 or so in a shop outside Philadelphia. The poster is entitled “Children Learn what they Live” and was written by Dr. Dorothy Nolte in 1972 and goes as follows:

Children Learn What They Live
By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.
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 by Dorothy Law Nolte

Everyday I look across my room and there hanging is that ancient poster still as viable today as it was in 1972. Sydney J. Harris couldn’t put a finger on motivation but he mentions in his article how parents want it to be like adrenaline and we could give a shot of motivation. The monk showing kindness to the scorpion, an attribute that had been learned by observation by seeing and by example, is it that motivation is from inside. Harris states and as Dr. Nolte so eloquently points out in 20 or so statements it is what children see and feel as they grow up that provides them with that inner drive that inner spark.
Children do learn what they live and as parents and teachers we are modeling their future. We are what they will be and can be.

“If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and others.” Dr. Nolte

It really is not that difficult. How can we expect a child to be motivated to succeed if we take away any of the twenty possibilities presented. No matter how big the carrot dangled in front of us it must come from within as well and eventually we as teachers, parents, and friends need to be providing that support and effort. Today a beautiful day please keep all in harms way in your hearts and on your minds.
namaste
bird

PS. Maybe, just maybe it is Dr. Nolte’s thoughts hanging on the wall in my room for the past thirty nine years that has kept me going and not to stepping on scorpions.

Children learn what they teach

Bird Droppings March 21, 2011
Children Teach what they Live

It is a dreary and overcast morning and quiet out side cool not cold and the weather person said might get up to 70 degrees today in the afternoon. So it is not a bad day but not quite as nice as it has been possible rain as well. Standing earlier walking our dog there was little in terms of any sounds the overcast heavy air muffling the human side of noise around me. I heard nothing as I stood even in the background not even crickets or breeze in the trees. Every morning I have been passing by a bill board and wanting to write about it. It is bold and artistically done for everyone to see; Peace, Paz, Shalom courtesy of the Rotary Club sort of strange for these parts.

“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.” Will Durant

Several years ago I found this short story on a web site. I have used it several times in meetings and in my daily wanderings. I would like to share today a story from many years ago entitled, Our nature, which is from the Zen thought and writings.

“Two monks were washing their bowls in the river when they noticed a scorpion that was drowning. One monk immediately scooped it up and set it upon the bank. In the process he was stung. He went back to washing his bowl and again the scorpion fell in. The monk saved the scorpion and was again stung. The other monk asked him, ‘Friend, why do you continue to save the scorpion when you know its nature is to sting?’ ‘Because,’ the monk replied, ‘to save it is my nature.’” From the website of Dr. John Suler, Ryder University

As I look at this story there are many reactions to the monk’s response. How foolish is the monk who gets stung. He knows it is a scorpion. He knows scorpions will sting and he has been already stung once. What lesson is being taught in this passage some have said over the year’s stupidity? There is also a similar story Dr. Suler uses from Native American lore of a fox and scorpion crossing a stream. My concern is there are applications to parenting, friendship, teaching within the context of a stinging scorpion? As I read this morning looking through various articles by Dr. Suler and another writer I enjoy immensely Sydney J. Harris, this is a piece of an article from his daily column Strictly Speaking which was in syndication during his lifetime in over 300 papers, this caught my eye.

“The student, who could really get an A if he wanted to, cannot really get an A because he really doesn’t want to. And the wanting to is an essential part of the achieving, not a separate thing, as parents imagine, that can be injected into him like a shot of adrenalin. All genuine and meaningful and lasting motivation comes from the inside, not from the outside. The carrot and the stick work maybe only as long as the carrot is in front and the stick behind. When they are withdrawn, the motivation ceases. You can get a mule to move this way, but not a person for very long.” Sydney J. Harris, Motivation, a key part of Talent

Last week in class listening to students tell why they have low grades several interesting answers, “but I am passing I have a 70” or “what do I need this crap for anyhow”. As I listened and looked through notes and ideas on how do we instill the idea of motivation in a child or student? I found most of the students yesterday when told about the monk getting stung would say he was stupid, just step on the scorpion, why waste your time. Occasionally a person will pop up and say, “The scorpion has a right to live too and that is why the monk helped it”.
Somewhere when I first started working with children back in the dark ages I found a poster, “Children Learn what they Live” which was written by Dr. Dorothy Nolte Ph.D., in 1972 and goes as follows:

Children Learn What They Live
By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

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 by Dorothy Law Nolte

Sydney Harris couldn’t put a finger on motivation as he mentions in his article how parents want it to be like adrenaline and we could give a shot of motivation. The monk showing kindness to the scorpion is an attribute that had been learned by observation by seeing and by example. I believe motivation is from inside as Harris states and as Dr. Nolte so eloquently points out in 20 or so statements. It is what children see and feel as they grow that provides them with that inner drive that inner spark. Children do learn what they live and as parents and teachers we are modeling their future. We are what they will be and can be.

“If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and others.” Dr. Nolte

It is really is not that difficult when we look at kids? How can we expect a child to be motivated to succeed if we take away any of the twenty or so possibilities presented in Dr. Nolte’s chart. No matter how big the carrot dangled it must come from within, and eventually we as teachers, parents, and friends need to be providing that support and effort. So it is another spring day and a plea to please keep all in harms way in your hearts and on your minds.
namaste
bird

PS. Maybe – just maybe it is Dr. Nolte’s thoughts hanging on the wall in my room for the past nearly forty years that keep me going and not to stepping on scorpions.