Children Learn what they Live

Dorothy Law Nolie’s reflective poem “Children live what they learn” is worth looking at again, even if you’ve seen it before. Before you ask yourself once more, how did Jamaica get to the impasse it now finds itself, look at what Jamaica’s underprivileged children face; why they have lost faith, why they seek their own justice, and why a gang might be the closest they can get to being in a nuturing caring family.  Perhaps then you will understand why they seem to have become so heartless and cold.

If a child lives with criticism,
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 jealousy,
He learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance,
He learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement,
and with praise,
He learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness,
He learns justice.
If a child lives with security,
He learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval,
He learns to like himself.
And if a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
He learns to find life in the world.

In light of the lack of positive reinforcement, in addition to grinding poverty and lack of parental support in many cases, it is no wonder why many crimes are now being committed by children who are just living what they have learned.

About Mark Lee

Editor, author and writer with career spanning print, radio, television and new media.

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