Children Are Like Pitchers

I remember my grandmother using all kinds of “sayings.”  One that always stuck with me is:  “Little pitchers have big ears.”  In the literal sense, a pitcher is a small vessel that has a big handle.  Used figuratively, children (the small vessels) are always listening to us as adults (have big ears).  It is by listening and watching how adults interact and speak with each other that children learn how to treat other children.  Is it acceptable for a child to call another a bad name because she disagrees with the opinion of another?  Is it acceptable for a child to shun another because of her color of skin?  Is it acceptable for a child to blame others for mistakes instead of taking responsibility for her own actions? I would like to think that our answer as parents is a resounding “No.”   Yet, if a child sees another adult name-calling, shunning others, or ridiculing, she is learning that if adults are doing it, it must be acceptable for her as well.  The poem, “Children Learn What They Live” first appeared in 1954, yet it still seems very appropriate in 2017.  Consider the words of Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.:

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.

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 fairness, they learn justice.

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.


I heard one mother turn to her child, and say, “being kind is the most important thing.”  We are truly all on this journey called “life” together.  What we do or say or how we act has an impact on all those we encounter in life.  In Conscious Discipline® language, we call this the “Power of Unity.”  When we realize that we are all connected, we are able to offer compassion to others and build compassionate families…at home, school, work, and in the community.  (for more info about the power of unity, visit:  www.conscious.com.)

From our hearts to your hearts, we at the Weekday School, wish you well!




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