Every New Year at the beginning of the year I like to think back, remember people and events of the past year, and thank God for putting them in my life. Yesterday as I was reflecting on people who have influenced my life, those who have left definite footsteps and fingerprints in my life last year and even over the previous years, I remembered a frame that someone had given me several years ago entitled “Children Live What They Learn.” When I found it in my cabinet, its message was so appropriate to my reflection. I would like to share it with you.

Children Live What They Learn

If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns violence.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns faith.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to love the world.

As I remembered the people that I had met during the past year – family, friends, business contacts, BCBP brothers and sisters, casual acquaintances, I realized that the ones who had made a difference in my life were those who encouraged, those who listened with their hearts, those that accepted me as I am, those who gave me the perseverance and courage to look forward to the tomorrows. I thank God that they were the majority, they were many, and I am indeed grateful for their uplifting presence. It was their encouraging footsteps along my life’s path that countered and even neutralized the other negative factors around, enabling me to go forward together with them into a hopeful future.

I believe that it is not only children who learn and are influenced by people, attitudes, and events around them, it is also us adults. No matter our age, we must continue to be open to new things, to new learnings, and be willing to try to understand them. I have found that as we grow older and hopefully wiser that it is best if we focus our attention on learnings that we can benefit from, that will be useful to us in one way or another. For instance surfing the ‘net’ is only useful if we know what we are looking for, otherwise, it can be a time-waster. (And if we learn to waste time, the hours we live will be wasted!)

Once we stop learning, we stop living! And so this is the resolve that I carry with me into 2012 – to be open to learning and to be a joyful, positive and encouraging influence to everyone I meet this year.

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