07 May, 2012


"One day, courage might call for a bigger self, not for making oneself smaller."

By Anouk Markovits

In high school, during a musical theatre class that I wish I could re-take now as an adult, we studied one of my favorite musicals of all time: Into the Woods by the incredible Stephen Sondheim. A big theme in the show is this: "Careful the things you say / Children will listen / Careful the things you do / Children will see and learn."

I recently saw a production of this musical, almost a decade and a half after first being introduced to the show, and with fresh eyes - as a mother. And those lines in particular struck a chord with me. Especially now that my toddler is in her "parroting twos" and repeats just about everything we say or do. She looks to us as examples... not only of how to do things, but of how to behave, how to act, how to be.

And careful is definitely one of the things we must be.

In reading Anouk Markovits' I AM FORBIDDEN, there were bits of dialogue that were somewhat uncomfortable for me. Things that a father says to his daughter that make her feel bad about herself, that cause her to have to explain herself to her friends, that even lead her to question her life and her faith. And  leading someone, even your own child, in the ways of faith can be challenging even for the best person. Faith is tricky. It is based on belief and cannot necessarily be proven. And many times, to someone who really believes their faith, it can be a matter of life or death.

But faith isn't the only thing...  all things, every thing we say or do has an impact on our children, whether we want it to or not. And I, for one, hope that I am doing all I can to present a positive image of myself to my daughter - and to hold up a positive self-image in the mirror back to her. She's too important for me to behave in any other way.

I truly believe we have to be careful in what we say and do. I've seen it with my own eyes: children will see. And learn. Children will listen.

For more quotes collected from this book, and others, visit Borrowing Wisdom.

Disclosure: I received a copy of Anouk Markovits' I AM FORBIDDEN to read and discuss as a member of the online book club From Left to Write. The thoughts and opinions expressed above are my own. Click here to purchase your own copy of this book.


  1. So true. I try really hard to keep cognizant of this. There are no trivial encounters.

  2. Anonymous08 May, 2012

    It seems the only time my children listen is when I don't want them to. Oh, the irony.

  3. Anonymous11 May, 2012

    You are light & joy, a breath of fresh air... an outstanding example of goodness... not only to Grace, but to everyone who has the pleasure of knowing you... I love you and I'm grateful for the gift you have been in my life since the moment you were born.