If we focus mostly on how we might have been partly or wholly to blame for what might have been less than a perfect, problem- free childhood, our guilt will overwhelm their pain. It becomes a story about us, not them. . . . When we listen, accept, and acknowledge, we feel regret instead, which is simply guilt without neurosis.
(Jane Adams (20th century), U.S. author and lecturer. I'm Still Your Mother, ch. 2 (1994).)
Children are incurable romantics. Brimful of romance and tragedy, we whirl through childhood hopelessly in love with our parents. In our epic imagination, we love and are loved with a passion so natural and innocent we may never know its like as adults.
(Roger Gould (20th century), U.S. psychotherapist and author. Transformations, sec. 1, ch. 1 (1978).)
It is as if, to every period of history, there corresponded a privileged age and a particular division of human life: "youth" is the privileged age of the seventeenth century, childhood of the nineteenth, adolescence of the twentieth.
(Philippe Ariés (20th century), French historian. Centuries of Childhood, pt. 1, ch. 1 (1962).)
The nearer people approach old age the closer they return to a semblance of childhood, until the time comes for them to depart this life, again like children, neither tired of living nor aware of death.
If a child were kept in a place where he never saw any other but black and white till he were a man, he would have no more ideas of scarlet or green, than he that from his childhood never tasted an oyster, or a pineapple, has of those particular relishes.
(John Locke (1632-1704), British philosopher. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, bk. 2, ch. 1, sect. 6, p. 106, ed. P. Nidditch, Oxford, Clarendon Press (1975).)
In the middle years of childhood, it is more important to keep alive and glowing the interest in finding out and to support this interest with skills and techniques related to the process of finding out than to specify any particular piece of subject matter as inviolate.
(Dorothy H. Cohen (20th century), U.S. educator, child development specialist. The Learning Child, "What Shall They Learn in the Intermediate Grades?" (1972).)
Sensible people get the greater part of their own dying done during their own lifetime. A man at five and thirty should no more regret not having had a happier childhood than he should regret not having been born a prince of the blood.
(Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. First published in 1903. Ernest Pontifex, or The Way of All Flesh, ch. 24, p. 91, Houghton Mifflin (1964).)
In childhood, death stirred me not; in middle age, it pursued me like a prowling bandit on the road; now, grown an old man, it boldly leads the way, and ushers me on.
(Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 185, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970).
Spoken by Mohi, the historian.)