Children learn what they live

I tore the following article out of a daily devotional booklet many years ago. It had a profound effect on me which led to having councilling and prayer ministry for my childhood and what was done to me as a child and in my teens.

If a child lives with criticim, 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 encouragment, 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 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.

So often the way we are now can stem from our childhood. But we do not need to stay that way. I am thankful the way my life has turned out now in my latter years. But I do still struggle from time to time with lack of confidence and often very critical of what I do! I suppose I am now a perfectionist because I do not want anyone to ridicule me. Does that sound familiar with folk.


Thank you for sharing (I’m a teacher, this will be going on my classroom wall!).
I’m still on my journey to change the way some of my early experiences have shaped me (anxious, over critical of myself, but not others, perfectionism etc), and that path is a little rough right now, but I absolutely believe it will get smoother.
You’re timing in sharing this has been a huge boost for me with it, so THANK YOU!

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Familiar? Ouch, VERY
I can remember as a child making a conscious decision, “I am NOT going to be like him…” and at times I still catch myself thinking ‘What would he do? …then don’t do THAT’ and that’s 40+yrs ago.

Jess, I too was a teacher, teaching people with disabilities, mostly adults. In many cases their self confidence had taken a severe beating over the years and their motivation was nil. Forever being told ‘You can’t…’ ‘You never will…’ I know of many a parent who need to see this. A big part of my role was to reverse that conditioning “You can…” “You will…” Every 3 months we’d do a ‘Review of Progress’ and give them a certificate “You have…” that boast in confidence was HUGE.

Merl from the Modsupport Team

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For modern day teaching it’d have to be he and she alternately, or “If children - they”, so no-one feels left out… Yep, it’s all often even more subtle…

Also it’s not really an automatism, just a tendency, part of the puzzle, as you will agree:
Any of criticism, hostility, ridicule or shame can lead to either condemning and fighting or to becoming shy and feeling guilty, or even both at the same time, or neither.

I personally didn’t get that much ridicule and shame from parents and people in school, but enough, I got a fair amount of the positive things, but not enough, and above all just not enough LOVE. So despite sort of approval, I long struggled to like and then love myself (fibro is making sure at last to self-care and self-love properly).

And I think you will also agree to things like:
Despite or even due to criticism, I have learnt not to condemn others, but not myself.
Despite hostility, I have learned not to fight with aggression, but with gentle power. To fight for goodness in the world and in myself.
Despite being ridiculed, I have always been able to do some weird things (like twist-stretching my tendons in public :rofl:), altho I used to be somewhat ashamed at the same time (now I don’t care/meme). And my social phobia didn’t just arise from being ridiculed, it was a whole combination of things, mainly not enough love & acceptance, too much pressuring.
Due to unfairness, I have learned justice. Despite insecurity, I have learned faith.

As you’ve already said, how we become is by far not just how we are treated.

Also we read this mainly as if our parents and perhaps teachers are meant,
altho peers have an even stronger influence as soon as we start meeting them.

Just wondering, Jess, if putting something like “Classroom rules” over it wouldn’t change it from passive to active / activating?