Great Quotations Can Come from Children

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.“ This is one of many thought-provoking statements by writer and speaker Maya Angelou.

I enjoy finding quotations from famous people. These statements make me think about ideas and actions in new ways. But great quotations are not just made by outstanding people; they are also made by children.

For example, in recent weeks I have been made to ponder ideas in new ways because of what my grandchildren have said in conversations. My six-year-old grandson, in discussing his frustrations in learning to read, said, “I just wish silent letters weren’t ever made. They make it super-duper hard for me to read.”

In talking about his size, my four-year-old grandson proclaimed, “When I’m big, I’m going to miss little.”

And then my twelve-year-old granddaughter, in discussing her cheerleading career, made this observation: “I may be a cheerleader, but guess what?  You don’t have to know that much to cheer.” (Not the comment we expected from our straight-A student!)

I think a reason why children can be so perceptive about life is that often they are experiencing new things. There is no history of that experience and thus they have a fresh outlook. As adults we make choices often on what has happened to us in the past. So many of our ideas are routine.

In addition, children have different interests from adults and draw conclusions that we would never think about. We forget many of the activities of childhood that are important to them.

Keep a list of thought-provoking ideas the children in your life verbalize. Find reasons to converse with them to create an environment to explore their thoughts.

Actually, adult family members can provide the quality quotations as well. A statement from my daughter-in-law, Gina, has helped me in the presence of my grandchildren:  “Never mess with a happy baby.”


Steve Boyd
Steve Boyd
Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, College of Informatics, Northern Kentucky University, near Cincinnati. Steve won the Toastmasters International Speech Contest in 1970 and was chosen Outstanding Professor of the Year at NKU in 1984, among other awards and honors. Since retiring, he volunteers with nonprofits, spends time with family, travels, preaches occasionally, and enjoys reading and writing. Contact Steve at (859) 866-5693 or at

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