We all know the feeling, it is universal, it is the same regardless of race, religion, ethnic origin, date of birth, economic status. It is a beautiful feeling, a quiet one, real tears can come to the eyes as we remember. What do we remember in this way? It is not the...
It is the nature of education to be "descending." The older generation wishes to impart their knowledge to the young so that it will not be lost. They wish to use the young people to perpetuate the knowledge and wisdom of the people. But we, the older and the...
We have had schools for many centuries. Until recently they have been institutions for training scholars and leaders of society. It was not deemed necessary for a farmer to have such an education, nor a woman, for them it was a waste of time. They were needed for the...
Adults have lots of rights and we encourage each other to insist upon them. We admire those who are willing to suffer in order that they may endure. Do we want children to do this? Today we see freedom of speech as paramount. Do we allow it to children? We applaud...
Parents struggle with this idea constantly. How much freedom should we allow? In the case of a newborn baby there is not much to worry about, though in the early 1900's the scientists had decided that babies should be fed every four hours on the dot. Babies who cried...
Queequeg was a native of Kokovoko, an island far away to the west and south. It is not on any map, true places never are. -Herman Melville Children seem to be afire with this wonderful faculty. Where would any of us be without it? Everything invented by man is a...
When the new child comes into our lives we immediately adore it but we soon find that it is not an unmixed blessing. It interferes with our orderly lives. It cries in the middle of the night, it is messy and smelly. Most of all, it wants to be always underfoot. We never have a minute to ourselves for years.
You hear this from every child who can talk. You answer, “Once upon a time….” The fascination never leaves, no matter how old we are. Children listen with rapt attention from the age of six months.
It does not require deep logic to appreciate beauty. The mentality of children is well suited to it, and adults have no greater sense of beauty than they do. In fact, it is an area of life where true sharing is possible.
There is probably no age more completely understood than this one, even though every adult can vividly remember it. There is no age more important in laying the foundation for life.
Toys are a billion-dollar business, the source of many jobs and many fortunes, entirely dependent on children, what they are really like and what adults think they are like, also on what adults are really like.
Stress is the response to something you consider fearful or challenging. It can be real or imagined. We all know the symptoms, adults and children alike – knots in the stomach, tightening of the throat, faster heartbeat, sweating, and others.
Children will often say, “I’m bored!” It is hard to know what to do about it. I am thinking of a boy of seven who resisted going to school saying that he was bored there. His mother felt that was sufficient reason for keeping him home. As his teacher I visited them and asked the boy what “bored” meant.
Most parents, when asked whether they would like to have a child genius, would answer, “NO.” They would say that they would prefer to have a well-rounded person than a genius. This reflects the prevailing opinion that a genius is not usually well-rounded, but is a bookish misfit, unable to make friends. The truth is quite the contrary.
Assigning blame is a useless form of human activity, indulged in by children and adults alike. It enhances our feeling of self-worth. It makes us feel superior, it is a real mental trap. It begins, but does not end, in childhood. My friend who owns a body shop tells me that he never fixed a fender when it was the driver’s fault.
A houseful of children is usually a noisy one, especially when accompanied by dogs. Parents usually revel in the quiet after their children go to bed. Children’s voices are higher pitched than ours so they seem strident, hard to bear. Babies cry, toddlers scream, school-age children argue, teenagers play loud music. Should we assume that they like it this way?
Children, obey your parents! Most books on parenting are manuals on how to get small human beings to obey. Emphasis is always put on what sort of punishment is suitable. If a child exhibits antisocial behavior the parent is always blamed for not insisting on obedience. Parents are expected to teach civilization by commanding and demanding instant and complete obedience.
Courtesy is called good manners, as opposed to bad manners. A “manner” can be good or bad according to the society in which you live. When you go to a new country you want to learn the good manners so that you will be accepted. Eating with your fingers can expose you to much humiliation, largely undeserved., but only in some countries. Children are in this position.
This is for those of you who have a mental block in math, those who never got good grades in school and who have forgotten their multiplication tables and are afraid of computers.
It is a great moment in your life when your child leaves the prison of illiteracy. Spoken language is written on the wind, it can reach only the ear that is nearby. When we can read we can communicate with others far distant in time and space.
Young children under seven or eight have not much conscious sense of time. They want to tell time, but only vaguely. You can tell them that supper will be ready when the big hand gets to the six, but they won’t watch it for any long period. They live in an eternal present. This is one of the things one can learn from children.
There is indeed a human instinct for imitation. We are all copycats, not only the children. When we go to a foreign country we look at the differences in table manners and try to conform. It is only polite, we say. How else could human race be so adaptable?
In describing the scientific method, we think of men and women studying nature to divine its secrets. The scientist approaches each problem with an open mind ready to receive all the facts before trying a hypothesis. With each new set of data a new hypothesis is formed, then carefully tested in every way possible, again and again, to be sure the conclusion is valid. Opinions are discarded when new facts do not agree.
Curiosity is built in like an internal hard disk, and like such a disk all entries are stored in memory with a key to retrieving them, usually a word, sometimes a tune, often a shape. Curiosity gathers in the entries, a central processor works them over and comes out with “Why.” Small babies can’t talk, but are curious just the same.
The sun rises and sets each day, the seasons come and go in regular order, I get up in the morning, wash, brush my teeth, dress, then go to the kitchen for orange juice. It is a routine, and we all have them. They are a comfort. We know what to expect.
We have come a long way in our knowledge of childhood, but we still cling to the old ways. We also have a few prejudices of our own times. To really see children we need to look between the cracks because the true nature of the child requires special conditions if it is to reveal itself and to develop.
It is a fortunate child who is allowed to work at tasks he chooses, tasks which help him adapt to the home in which he lives. Fortunate is the child whose work is appreciated by the adults around him. Fortunate is the child who is helped just enough and not too much, who is allowed to fail and try again.
Language is the central point that makes us human beings different. We all can speak, even the feeble-minded have a large vocabulary. No one can predict what a baby will do in the world, but it is evident that without speaking he would do very little. The power to think is bound up with language.
There is nothing in the mind that was not first in the senses, so it is only right and proper that the senses should be well developed first, keen eyes, keen ears, and a body that stays put so that all the time is spent looking, listening, feeling, tasting and smelling.
I would like to tell you of a little girl named Angelina. She is six months old. She is the center of attention in her home. She can crawl all over the house, maneuver her walker all over the street. She feeds herself without spilling food (using her hands). She does not sleep at all during the day because there is so much to do and see.
Can you imagine Hamelin after the Pied Piper took away all the children? No noise, no spills, no messes, no schools, no homework, no Nintendo, nobody pestering you for anything? The only places we know of without them are army camps, work camps, convents and monasteries, retirement villages, places where adults find relief.
Why do we have children anyway? The answer seems to be that we can’t help it. The most interesting subject for adults by far is sex which has only one aim, subvert it how we will.
Children do not look like adults. Anyone can tell the difference. It is not only size, but also shape. Children’s heads are inordinately large in proportion to the body, noses are small, chins recede. But also these things change constantly.