Remember the verse "Children Learn What They Live"? Although I haven't seen it on posters or in magazines for a long time, I still have a coffee mug containing it. I discovered it in the back of my cupboard yesterday and thought the wisdom it contains is evergreen and needs to be lifted up again and again.
It starts out, "If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn. If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight." The next few lines have more negatives, and then it switches to positives such as living with tolerance, encouragement, praise and more, finally ending with: "If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world."
How true this is. I submit that it's not only true for raising children (and that really IS important) but it's also true in our adult lives. If we surround ourselves with negative, critical people and fill our minds with negative news, TV shows and other influences, we'll become negative and critical. We'll look for and expect the worst in others.
But if we hang out with positive, grateful people who freely show approval, acceptance and appreciation, we will be that way, too. This also means making choices about what media messages and images we allow to fill our minds. Truly, our surroundings matter. Our environment matters—whether we're raising children or grandchildren or whether we're raising ourselves!