The Joy of Laughter: Children Learn What They Live.



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Do you want confident, patient, tolerant, and loving children?  Then listen to the following prescription:

If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns to be confident.

If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with praise,
he learns to be appreciative.

If a child lives with acceptance,
he learns to love (Dorothy Law Nolte, 1954).

“Born in 1924, Dorothy Law Nolte became a parent educator, family counselor, and writer known for her inspirational poem, Children Learn What They Live. First published in 1954, it was pasted to refrigerators, printed on posters, and distributed to millions of parents by a baby formula maker” (Marilyn Price-Mitchell, 2018).  What sparked this flame that grew into a parent’s mantra?

Answer:  Parents in need of answers!

It’s May, and another Child’s Month where we celebrate a lot of important events, including Mother’s Day and Teacher’s Appreciation Month (US and other territories).  In honour of the work that these special people do, I want to dedicate this month of blogs to them, as the guardians of our future.

C.S. Lewis said, “Children are not a distraction from more important work.  They are the most important work.”

Have you ever entered a house where a toddler is allowed to play freely, scattering their toys in a trail from one room to the next?  Did you have to take care not to trip over toys, blankets, sippy cups and snack bags that show the evidence of the tolerant, accepting, and loving environment for a rambunctious child at play?

Thankfully, all homes with active children are not so chaotic.  But, the primary issue is that homes where the sounds of children ring out in laughter signal the health of the family.  Even more than this, it signals the health of a community needing the comfort and joy of laughter.

How do I know this?  Because, when we were children, our neighbours used to tell my mother how she and her mother would listen to us laughing gleefully next door.  She told how it thrilled them when they heard it and caused them to laugh along with us.

Research from clinical psychologist Rachel Andrew revealed that smiling and laughter in babies as young as 10 weeks old is critical for development.  Additionally, Danny Kaye, the first UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, travelled the world meeting children.  He never experienced a language barrier as he used love and laughter to instinctively engage them.  After 33 years as a Goodwill Ambassador, he concluded that, children “may have a different culture but an ache or a laugh is universal” (Elaine Hunter, 2017).

So, why could we laugh as children in such carefree moments?  Simply because we felt safe; our parents showed us the value of family; and, our friends were always welcome.  Our hearts, though we did not know it, were full and running over.


Communities that share the joys of children celebrate the possibility of a future.  They honour the hope of a nation and the promise of a country.

Nothing else promises forever like the children we are called to raise.  In them, we are spending our very lives building carefully the foundation of our world.  In them, we are shaping the future of technology, medicine, industry, and families.

So, let me give a word of caution to children who are prone to give their parents unnecessary grief: “Don’t anger your parents in order to please other people.  Those other people did not spend their lives building yours” (Author Unknown).

Parents, guardians, teachers, guides, what we are, they will indeed become.  What we do, they will inevitably mimic.

So, I ask you: What is your child living with today?  How will they treat others because of how you treat them?

It’s a harsh world outside our doors; please let us give them a warm place to call home.

If you like what’s been shared here, please see more at

Remember, Dear Little Brother, … is almost here.  The eleventh hour interventions are currently being implemented!

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