Children and Family

If you can keep you head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man my son!
~Rudyard Kipling

‘Eserian Nakera,” Masai Warriors in Africa always say when passing one another. It means, “And how are the children?” Their traditional response is: “All children are well.”
-Hugh B. Price, National Urban League

“What we do to children, they will do to society.”
-Karl Menninger

“Our children are the builders of tomorrow’s world—quiet infants, clumsy toddlers, and running, squealing second graders, whose pliable neurons carry within them all humanity’s hope. Their flexible brains have yet to germinate the ideas, the songs, and the societies of tomorrow. They can create the next world or they can annihilate it. In either case, they will do so in our names.”
-From A General Theory of Love, Thomas Lewis, M.D. , Fari Amini, M.D. and Richard Lannon, M.D.

“If we are to reach real peace in this world, we shall have to begin with the children.”
-Mahatma Gandhi

“The events of childhood do not pass abut repeat themselves like seasons of the year.”
-Eleanor Farjeon

“In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”
-From the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy

“Childhood decides.”
-Jean Paul Sartre

“To neglect a child is to murder them.”
-Daniel Dafoe

“The grandfathers and the grandmothers are in the children; teach them well.”
-Ojibway Proverb

“It is not easy to straighten in the oak the crook that grew in the sapling.”
-Gaelic Proverb

“Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.”
-Kahlil Gibran

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
-Frederick Douglas

“The soul is healed by being with children.”

“Children are the message we send to the future.”
-Abraham Lincoln

“As adults in a community we will give the children around us our time, our attention, our money, and our resources – one way or another.

“It is through public policy and individual decisions that we decide whether it’s going to be early on, in a loving and preventative way, or whether it’s going to be 4 o’clock in the morning when they are throwing bottles at cars to hear the alarms go off.”
-Debra Prothrow, Harvard School of Public Health

“Pay me now or pay me later.”
-Old Fram Oil commercial

Sure as Sunlight
There’s a child here in your caring
Who may someday cure all cancer
But you’ve got to lay the groundwork
So that it can come to pass.

She’s a child who hasn’t blossomed
So you cannot see her brilliance
But as sure as there is sunlight
She is here now in your class

I can’t tell you what her name is
Nor her height, nor weight, nor color,
Only that she is potentially
A history-making lass.

We pray/accept responsibility for children
Who sneak popsicles before supper,
Who erase holes in math workbooks
Who can never find their shoes.

And we pray/accept responsibility for those
Who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
Who can’t bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers
Who never “counted potatoes”,
Who were born in places we wouldn’t be caught dead,
Who never go to the circus,
Who live in an X-rated world.

We pray/accept responsibility for children
Who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
Who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money.

And we pray/accept responsibility for those
Who never get dessert,
Who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
Who watch their parents watch them die,
Who can’t find any bread to steal,
Who don’t have any rooms to clean up,
Whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser,
And whose monsters are real.

We pray/accept responsibility for children
Who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
Who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
Who like ghost stories,
Who shove dirty clothes under the bed and never rinse out the tub,
Who get visits from the tooth fairy,
Who don’t like to be kissed in front of the carpool,
Who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,
Whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray/accept responsibility for those
Whose nightmares come in the daytime,
Who will eat anything,
Who have never seen a dentist,
Who aren’t spoiled by anybody,
Who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
Who live and move, but have no being.

We pray/accept responsibility for children
Who want to be carried and for those who must,
For those we never give up on and for those
Who don’t get a second chance,
For those we smother and for those who will grab
The hand of anyone kind enough to offer it.
-adapted from Ina J. Hughes

I Care and Am Willing to Serve
I cannot preach like Martin Luther King, Jr.
Or turn a poetic phrase like Maya Angelou,
But I care and am willing to serve and stand for children.

I do not have Fred Shuttlesworth’s and Harriet Tubman’s courage
Or Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s political skills,
But I care and am willing to serve and to stand for the children.

I cannot sing like Fannie Lou Hamer
Or organize like Ella Baker and Bayard Rustin,
But I care and am willing to serve and to stand for children.

I am not holy like Archbishop Tutu,
Forgiving like Mandela,
Or disciplined like Gandhi,
But I care and am willing to serve and to stand for children.

I am not brilliant like Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois or Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
Or as eloquent as Sojourner Truth and Booker T. Washington
But I care and am wiling to serve and to stand for children.

I have not Mother Teresa’s saintliness,
Dorothy Day’s love or Cesar Chavez’s gentle tough spirit,
But I care and am willing to serve and to stand for children.

It is not as easy as the 60’s
To frame an issue and forge a solution,
But I care and am wiling to serve and to stand for children.

My mind and body are not so swift as in youth,
And my energy comes in spurts,
But I care and am willing to serve and to stand for children

I am so young nobody will listen,
I’m not sure what to say or do,
But I care and am willing to serve and to stand for children

I can’t see or hear well,
Speak good English, stutter sometimes,
And get real scared standing up before others,
But I care and am willing to serve and to stand for children
-Marion Wright Edelman

I started kindergarten
Two or three big steps behind.
Some classmates understood things
That had never crossed my mind.

The kids who looked real different
Seemed so smart (I can recall).
Kids who looked and spoke like I did
Didn’t seem so smart at all.

Of course there were exceptions
But on mostly any day,
It was clear those kids were doing best
And we were just okay.

Our teacher liked them better
‘Cause they always knew the answers,
So kids like me just tried to be
Good athletes and great dancers.

The years went by quite slowly
And most things just stayed the same,
Until our principal decided
It was time to change the game

She hinted that the reason
When those other kids did best
Was that many knew already
More of what was on the tests.

They learned it from their parents
And from things they did at home.
Much that I and my companions
Never had the chance to know.

That had always been the pattern.
Yes for years it was the same.
But the standards movement came along
To finally change the game.

Now that there’s a new prescription
For the way our school is run,
Everybody’s got new goals to reach
It’s getting to be fun!

We’re learning to get smarter
‘Cause our teachers show us how.
They’re all serious about it.
Everyone’s important now!

Time in class in so exciting
That we seldom fool around.
We might make a joke in passing,
But we quickly settle down.

After school we do our homework,
Often in our study groups.
When we need them we have tutors
And they give us all the “scoops.”

If there’s something that’s confusing,
It’s a temporary thing
‘Cause the teachers love to answer
All the questions that we bring.

All the counselors and teachers
Work with parents as a team
‘Cause they share the same commitment
To connect us with our dreams.

I love the way things are now.
It all just seems so right!
We still play sports and we’re still cool,
But now we’re also “bright”.

That first day of kindergarten
Some of us were way behind.
But today I’m graduating
In a truly different time.
~Ron Ferguson

There is no greater frustration
Than to be stubbornly misunderstood
By a child who is afraid that she can’t learn.
And there is no greater elation
Than when the light of understanding
Burns away the fear and makes her smile return.
~Ron Ferguson

Ambitiousness versus Ambivalence:

Short poems about setting goals and planning to do well, or not.

Reasons for Ambivalence
Not Smart Enough
Sarah thinks that she’s a dummy
So she has no real ambition.
She just hopes that she gets lucky
When the teacher grades exams.

No Expected Assistance
Johnny think he’d be successful
If he only had a tutor,
But he thinks that’s not an option
So he doesn’t make big plans.

No Encouragement
Heather knows that she is smart enough
And yes, she know as well,
That all the help she needs is right nearby.
But she doesn’t feel encouraged
So she doesn’t feel ambitious.
She just drifts along and doesn’t really try.

Boring and Irrelevant
Shantu feels encouraged
And he understands the lessons,
But they’re boring and irrelevant to him.
He says, “to learn them would be useless.”
So, his daily aspiration
Is to make it through until it’s time for gym.
~ Ron Ferguson

Reasons for Ambitiousness
Gregory used to be like Sarah, Johnny, Heather and Shantu,
But this year his teachers told him to believe
That his brain is like a muscle
So that if he puts the work in
His high goals will be real possibilities.

Gregory also knows that help
Will always be there if he needs it,
So that even if the work gets really hard,
His ambitions will be justified
And jot just idle dreaming
So he plans to try his best to go real far.

Encouragement surrounds him
Since his parents and his teachers
Try in many different ways to let him know
That he’s a very special person
Whose ambitiousness and progress
Make them happier than they could ever show.

Gregory knows that what he’ll learn
Will be important
And he’s expecting that the process will be fun!
So he’s feeling quite ambitious
Looking forward to his lessons
And to all the great success that is to come.

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in a final sense a theft from those who are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone, it is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”
-Dwight D. Eisenhower 1963

“The measure of a civilization is how it treats those at the beginning of life and the ending of life.”
-Hubert Humphrey

“Perhaps we cannot prevent this world from being a world in which children are tortured. But we can reduce the number of tortured children. And if you don’t help us, who else in the world can help us do this?”
-Albert Camus

“How do we measure success? To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, a redeemed social condition, or a job well done; to know even one other life has breathed easier because you have lived; this is to have succeeded.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Each of us must come to care about everyone else’s children. We must recognize that the welfare of our children is intensely linked to the welfare of all other people’s children. After all, when one of our children needs life-saving surgery, someone else’s child will perform it. If one of our children is harmed by violence, someone else’s child will be responsible for the violent act.
“The good life for our own children can be secured only if a good life is also secured for all other people’s children.”
-Lillian G. Katz, Ph.D. Director, ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary & Early Childhood Education, Professor Emerita, Early Childhood Education

“Children must have at least one person who believes in them. It could be a counselor, a teacher, a preacher, a friend. It could be you. You never know when a little love and support will plant a small seed of hope.”
-Marion Wright Edelman

The Little Boy and the Old Man
Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.”
Said the old man, “I do too.”
The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”
“I do that too,” laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, “I often cry.”
The little old man nodded, “So do I.”
“But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seems
Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
“I know what you mean,” said the little old man. ~ Shel Silverstein, from A Light in the Attic

“It takes a whole village to raise a child.”
-African proverb

“Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
-Elizabeth Stone

Cell: 503-381-2649

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