Sadism is not an infectious disease that strikes a person all of a sudden. It has a long prehistory in childhood and always originates in the desperate fantasies of a child who is searching for a way out of a hopeless situation.
(Alice Miller (20th century), German psychoanalyst and author. For Your Own Good, "Unlived Anger," (trans. 1983).)
In all our efforts to provide "advantages" we have actually produced the busiest, most competitive, highly pressured and over-organized generation of youngsters in our historyand possibly the unhappiest. We seem hell-bent on eliminating much of childhood.
(Eda Le Shan (b. 1922), U.S. educator, author. The Conspiracy Against Childhood, ch. 1 (1967).)
But no matter how they make you feel, you should always watch elders carefully. They were you and you will be them. You carry the seeds of your old age in you at this very moment, and they hear the echoes of their childhood each time they see you.
(Kent Nerburn (20th century), U.S. theologian and author. Letters to My Son, ch. 26 (1994).)
A society in which adults are estranged from the world of children, and often from their own childhood, tends to hear children's speech only as a foreign language, or as a lie.... Children have been treated ... as congenital fibbers, fakers and fantasisers.
...the hard work and poverty of my childhood ... turned out to be my greatest asset in later years. Nothing could ever seem too hard after that.
(Sue Sanders, U.S. oil producer. Our Common Herd, ch. 30 (1940).
Through the death of her father when she was five and marriage to a luckless farmer when she was fourteen, Sanders had experienced great financial and emotional stress. Separating from her husband at age eighteen, with their two babies in tow, she went on to become a successful businesswoman.)
Someone said: "I have been prejudiced against myself from my earliest childhood: hence I find some truth in all blame and some stupidity in all praise. I generally estimate praise too poorly and blame too highly."
(Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 2, p. 665, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980). The Wanderer and His Shadow, aphorism 262, "Prejudiced," (1880).)
To be a social success, do not act pathetic, arrogant, or bored. Do not discuss your unhappy childhood, your visit to the dentist, the shortcomings of your cleaning woman, the state of your bowels, or your spouse's bad habits. You will be thought a paragon (or perhaps a monster) of good behavior.
(Mason Cooley (b. 1927), U.S. aphorist. City Aphorisms, Tenth Selection, New York (1992).)