Fundación Corazón de Niña
The Four Ways of L.I.F.E.
The content on this page originates from an interview of Melissa Canez by Peter Bruce in 2014.
Melissa, do you have a guiding philosophy at Fundación Corazón de Niña, that you endeavour to pass on to your boys and girls?
Yes, we do have a philosophy. We call it The Four Ways of L.I.F.E. — adopting a way of being in the world that is rooted in four elements, elements which we believe are essential building blocks for sound human development and thus essential for a good life: Love, Integrity, Family and Education. We think our responsibility as nurturers is to act in accordance with those notions and infuse our children with those notions. To put it more plainly, we believe our job, like the job of every good parent, is to provide an environment in which each child can grow to be all they can be. How?
- By loving and appreciating each child unconditionally,
- By teaching and modeling integrity,
- By ensuring each child’s health, security, support and companionship,
- By giving each child a thorough and well-rounded education
We believe that once our children and youth fully engage with The Four Ways of being in the world, there is every likelihood that they will become healthy, confident, self-reliant adults free of the cycle of poverty and abuse. More than that, we believe that each of our children will have the capability to serve as a focal point for change, that they may well, like the proverbial pebble in the pond, influence many others in the course of their lives to adopt The Four Ways of L.I.F.E. From these small beginnings, we might just change the course of history!
Can you elaborate on those four words — love, integrity, family and education?
Love is the cornerstone of Fundación Corazón de Niña. Love is unconditional and permeates all that we are and all that we do here. There are no pointed fingers at Corazón, no punishment, no judgment, no raised voices. We listen, we counsel, we teach by example, we offer a gentle and guiding hand and we encourage the children to lead a spiritual life.
Infusing our girls and boys with values is so important at Fundación Corazón de Niña. Strong values will keep them safe, help them to form mutually supportive relationships and give them the confidence to realize their full potential. In the best of possible outcomes, our hope is that Corazón children will become fully realized men and women, men and women of substance, beacons who will bring light and well-being to the lives of those around them.
The moment each boy or girl arrives, we tell her that Fundación Corazón de Niña is his home forever if he so chooses, that we will always be there for him and that he is welcome to stay until he is ready to begin a life of his own making. But security means more than a place to stay. It means creature comforts — food on the table, a cosy bed, things of one’s own, a shower, clean clothes, brushed teeth and brushed hair tied with a ribbon. And it means protection from harm and stable, life-long, loving relationships.
How would you summarize this approach you call The Four Ways of L.I.F.E. ?
These four essentials for a well-raised child — love, integrity, family and education — are what we strive each day, each moment to achieve. Each element or way of life is essential to the well-being of the child and to the well-being of our home. Can a home offer love where there is no integrity? Can integrity be taught where love is absent? Will a family that lacks skills and knowledge survive? If one falters, all are in jeopardy. Each element draws from the other three to be fully realized; each gives to the other three that they may be fully realized. Together, the four ways of life — love, integrity, family and education — create a nurturing energy much greater than the sum of its parts which surrounds and infuses each and every one of us.
Love Integrity Family Education