To be sure, if it is the purpose of educators to stifle the child’s power of independent thought as early as possible, in order to produce that ‘good behavior’ which is so highly prized, they cannot do better than deceive children in sexual matters and intimidate them by religious means. The stronger characters will, it is true, withstand these influences; they will become rebels against the authority of their parents and later against every other form of authority. When children do not receive the explanations for which they turn to their elders, they go on tormenting themselves in secret with the problem, and produce attempts at solution in which the truth they have guessed is mixed up in the most extraordinary way with grotesque inventions; or else they whisper confidences to each other which, because of the sense of guilt in the youthful inquirers, stamp everything sexual as horrible and disgusting.
The children who go to bed hungry in a Harlem slum or a West Virginia mining town are not being deprived because no food can be found to give them; they are going to bed hungry because, despite all our miracles of invention and production, we have not yet found a way to make necessities of life available to all of our citizens - including those whose failure is not lack of personal industry or initiative, but only an unwise choice of parents.
Children are born true scientists. They spontaneously experiment and experience and reexperience again. They select, combine, and test, seeking to find order in their experiences - "which is the mostest? which is the leastest?" They smell, taste, bite, and touch-test for hardness, softness, springiness, roughness, smoothness, coldness, warmness: the heft, shake, punch, squeeze, push, crush, rub, and try to pull things apart.
Young children possess the ability to cut across the customary categories; to appreciate usually undiscerned links among realms, to respond effectively in a parallel manner to events which are usually categorized differently, and to capture these original conceptions in words.
For many children, the start of formal musical instruction marks the beginning of the end of musical development. The atomistic focus in most musical instruction - the individual pitch, its name, its notation -- and the measure-by-measure method of instruction and analysis run counter to the holistic way most children have come to think of, react to, and live with music.
One must remember that practically all of us have a number of significant learning disabilities. For example, I am grossly unmusical and cannot carry a tune. We happen to live in a society in which the child who has trouble learning to read is in difficulty. Yet we have all seen dyslexic children who have either superior visual-perception or visual-motor skills. My suspicion would be that in an illiterate society such a child would be in little difficulty and might in fact do better because of his superior visual-perception talents, while many of us who function here might do poorly in a society in which a quite different array of talents was needed in order to be successful. As the demands of society change will we acquire a new group of "minimally brain damaged?"
It is familiarity with life that makes time speed quickly. When every day is a step in the unknown, as for children, the days are long with gathering of experience.
Age makes us not childish, as some say; it finds us still true children.
If children grew up according to early indications, we should have nothing but geniuses.
Unlike grownups, children have little need to deceive themselves.
The figures prove that the absolute easiest way to be poor is to be born out of wedlock to a young woman. If you need a statistic to memorize, try this one: 92.8 percent of all children in black, single female-headed families where the mother is under thirty and did not complete high school, are in poverty.
Children don't want to be told; they want to be shown. It takes years of telling to undo one unwise showing.
The opinions of men who think are always growing and changing, like living children.
There is one type of feeling which is above all important to foster in childhood. Children have naturally an abundant faculty for wonder and reverence. There are so many books, so many radio and television hours, so many encyclopedias and, alas, so many teachers whose aim is to import knowledge quickly and easily without any element of that faculty which the Greeks said was the beginning of philosophy – Wonder. It is strange that an age which has discovered so many marvels in the universe should be so conspicuously lacking in the sense of wonder.
The greatest glory of a free-born people is to transmit that freedom to their children.
Music is for the betterment and enrichment of the individual, just as education and reading are. When people come together to play music as they do to play bridge, civilization will have taken its longest stride forward since the beginning of time. Music is something to live with always, and children should be taught to regard it as a close and inalienable friend.
The Kaddish is not a prayer for the dead, but a mandate for the living... It bids man rise above his sorrow... and fixes his view upon the welfare of mankind. It lifts his hope and vision to a day... when mankind shall at last inhabit the earth as children of the one God and Father, and justice reign supreme in peace.
The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.
We teach children how to measure, how to weigh. We fail to teach them how to revere, how to sense wonder and awe. The sense of the sublime, the sign of the inward greatness of the human soul and something which is potentially given to all men, is now a rare gift.
How much that the world calls selfishness is only generosity with narrow walls, a too exclusive solicitude to maintain a wife in luxury, or make one’s children rich.