“If” Poem

Dorothy Knolte described the possibilities in a poem suggesting how children learn what they observe.



If children live with criticism,

They learn to condemn and be judgmental.

If children live with hostility,

They learn to be angry and fight.

If children live with ridicule,

They learn to be shy and withdrawn.

If children live with shame,

They learn to feel guilty.

If children live with tolerance,

They learn to be patient.

If children live with encouragement,

They learn confidence.

If children live with praise,

They learn to appreciate.

If children live with security,

They learn to have faith.

If children live with approval,

They learn to like themselves.

If children live with acceptance and friendship,

They learn to find love in the world.


“If” is the key word in this poem.  We can’t tell our children, “wait until tomorrow”.  The future is today.  Will those “urgent appointments” you’re worried about matter in a hundred years?  No.  What will count is your making the world a brighter, better place for a precious little child.



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