Children Will Listen!

. . . like a sponge soaking up water . . .

‘Careful the things you say, Children will listen
Careful the things you do, Children will see and learn
Children may not obey, but children will listen
Children will look to you for which way to turn, to learn what to be
Careful before you say “Listen to me”; Children will listen!
Careful the wish you make, wishes are children
Careful the path they take, wishes come true, not free
Careful the spell you cast, not just on children
Sometimes a spell may last past what you can see, and turn against you
Careful the tale you tell: That is the spell
Children will listen . . . Listen!’

When I turned 30, one of the thirty gifts Boo of life gave me was a Josh Groban CD, ‘Stages‘. Seeing how much of a sucker for Josh I am, I got right into it and began to enjoy every song that came from that completely amazingly spell-binding baritone voice.

Oh, Josh! 😍

But of all the tracks on that CD, one of the songs kept ringing in my head, and over time, it became like an anthem to my subconscious. Children will listen. Children will listen. Conscious me will sometimes catch subconscious me singing. To be honest, I hadn’t really paid much attention to the words of the song, but the phrase ‘Children will listen‘ was like a resounding cymbal. My mind took note of it. My heart took note of it. Soon, my eyes took note too. And then I considered the lyrics.

Being a mother to super Drama Queen, it wasn’t long before I began to see and understand the gravity of the meaning of the words etched in the lines of that song. Like a sponge soaking up water, I watched my daughter as she imitated, replicated and duplicated everything I said and did, to the tiniest detail.

“Oya, it’s bedtime!” she said as she made her way up the stairs after me last night. I almost fell down from laughing so hard. ‘Careful the things you say, Children will listen’. You see, at about 9 o’clock every night, we try to get Drama Queen to bed. So you would catch her dad and I say to her, especially when she starts getting really hyper, “oya, it’s bedtime”. At that point, Drama Queen will pick up her favourite red pillow, throw it on the floor and say, pillow . . . lie down”, meaning she would rather lie quietly on the floor and not misbehave anymore than be sent to bed. So it was a little wonder when she repeated my own words to me.

But is that all?

‘Careful the things you do, Children will see and learn’: When I get frustrated or annoyed about something, especially with Drama Queen, you would catch me raising my voice at her. At some point, it became a fairly frequent occurrence. But I took no caution to it until the day I watched her raise her voice at her baby brother for reasons best known to her. I was shocked. That was when I heard in my heart:


Photo by London Scout


“Say thank you.”

Of course, my words fell on deaf ears as she took the piece of cake and walked away. Or was it the times I tried to teach her to say ‘please‘, or ‘bless you‘ or ‘excuse me‘? Nothing I did to instil our very-highly-recommended-but-basic good manners in her seemed to work. Well, until I stopped trying to instal them in her and just did them myself. Anytime I gave her something, I would say, ‘Thank you, and you’re welcome’. If she was in my way, I would say, ‘Excuse me’. And when I asked her to help with something, I would say, ‘Please’. Then one day, I gave her a cup of water, and to my utter shock, she said, “Thank you”, turned and walked away. ‘Children may not obey, but children will listen’

Over the past weeks, I have pondered upon this thought: Adults are yet to figure out how best to control themselves; so their frustration becomes evident when their attempted control over their children yields negative results.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: I tell myself, “Tosin, don’t touch that bread, it is the seed that sowed the harvest on your waistline. And arms. And thighs. And those fat cheeks of yours”. But I never listen. In goes the slice. And then another. And more, after all, I love bread. But when I tell Drama Queen, “Don’t touch the toy. It’s bedtime and you should be settling down”, and she goes ahead to touch it, I get really mad at her because she didn’t obey me.

It’s a conundrum I tell you. Maybe she saw me swallow that loaf of bread. Or maybe not.

Of course, we cannot be perfect. Somehow, our misguided weaknesses slip out and they see it and learn it. But this song that has become very dear to me didn’t ask me to be perfect. All it said is this:


And here’s why:

A while ago, I visited a friend of mine, and of course, Drama Queen was with me. At my friend’s, we met a friend of hers who was quite intrigued at how smart Drama Queen is, especially for her age. This intrigue was born from hearing her sing a popular nursery rhythm:

Ring around the rosy
A pocketful of posies
“Ashes, Ashes”
We all fall down

As Drama Queen sang her version, my friend’s friend noticed it wasn’t the same as the one she knew. So she decided to sing hers instead.

Ring-a-Ring o’Rosies
A Pocket full of Posies
“A-tishoo! A-tishoo!”
We all fall Down!

For whatever reason, I have since concluded that her version was wrong, at least since I heard the ‘Ashes’ one on Youtube. So I was concerned when this friend sang her version to the hearing of Drama Queen with the intent of getting her to learn it. And without disappointing me, we got home and that was the end of ‘Ashes’. ‘A-tishoo’ took over. Drama Queen never sings her version anymore.


‘Careful the things you say, Children will listen
Careful the things you do, Children will see and learn
Children may not obey, but children will listen
Children will look to you for which way to turn, to learn what to be
Careful before you say “Listen to me”; Children will listen!



P.S: As I did my research for this piece, to my utmost shock, I found out that the ‘A-tishoo’ version of that nursery rhythm is also………..CORRECT! 😱🙈🙈🙈


24 thoughts on “Children Will Listen!

  1. Subtly subtly they surely learn , this personal research of ‘our Beautiful Drama Queen’ is just all shades of good science..applied science I must confess.. 😁

    I agree with these much to learn here. we must ThankGod to have the gift to listen to them like you have..

    Well done as usual.. 😍

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Children truly learn first from their immediate. No wonder the saying ‘charity begins at home’. My LO (lil one) says “bless you” every time anyone sneezes around. I never taught her , she just picked it up from Dad and Mums reaction to a sneeze. AmAzing.


  3. Hey Tosin,
    Love your blog. I definitely know the feeling of needing to say your words unchecked. I won’t consider myself a fantastic writer but a perfect writer. Perfect for what I want to say and how I prefer to say it. Congrats on ur two babys. and feel free to check my blog when you feel like.


    1. Hey Ori….you’re reading my blog? Now I can retire 😁😁😁

      Thanks for your comment and for reading. I do remember reading one of your posts, ‘I Am’, I think. I’ll check out some more.


  4. Hi Tosin, I so enjoyed this post. Our boys are 12 and 14, and I still have to be intentional about so many things in the hope and on the prayer they will follow. Manners is one of them, seeking ways to help others is another. I thank Holy Spirit for the guidance and Jesus for the Word. I tried parenting without God, and it didn’t go so well. Have a blessed night, Julie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment, Julie. It’s very comforting to know that God helps through this challenging aspect of life: parenting. The only job the can’t afford interviews. But with God, we can trust that in the end, things will be well.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Children learn by following the model, and the model is the parent(s). Thank you for a great post that reminds us that we are always being watched, especially by our children and grandchildren.

    Liked by 1 person

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