Saturday, July 31, 2010

Teach Your Children Well

I love this picture! Abbey posted it today on her blog. Abbey speaks to Maggie's desire to love and snuggle with people and the gentle pats she hands out at random; tiny love pats for everyone around her. What I love about the pic is that it captures a terribly important moment: It catches Aunt Audra teaching Maggie how to be gentle, how to treat another person with kindness and gentleness. The old saying is incredibly true, children do learn what they live. They are watching, listening and learning every minute they are awake. They mimic facial expressions, tone of voice, selfishness, kindness, anger, arrogance, patience and joy. Life as school. I once had an acquaintance remark to me, "Oh, can you teach someone empathy?" Of course you can, how else does one come to know it? The virtues of compassion, empathy, patience, kindness, self denial, courage, tolerance of others, joy in the midst of hardship, endurance, all are learned either from observation, necessity or example. It does my heart good to see my children placing these brightest of colors into the hands and hearts of the next generation. I remember wondering aloud to a friend once whether my children would grow up with a high sense of justice and compassion; wondered if they would have the fire in their souls that leads one to work for a better world. My friend laughed and replied, " Are you kidding? They listen to you talk every day; you are teaching them by the life you are living." We get much more than our dimples, our intellect and the shape of our eyes from our parents and ancestors; we learn by what is allowed or disallowed, what is encouraged or discouraged, what is applauded and what is ridiculed.

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