We Russians have assigned ourselves no other task in life but the cultivation of our own personalities, and when we're barely past childhood, we set to work to cultivate them, those unfortunate personalities.
(Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev (1818-1883), Russian author. Aleksei Petrovich, "A Correspondence," letter, May 2, 1840 (1856).)
The limitless future of childhood shrinks to realistic proportions, to one of limited chances and goals; but, by the same token, the mastery of time and space and the conquest of helplessness afford a hitherto unknown promise of self- realization. This is the human condition of adolescence.
(Peter Blos (20th century), U.S. psychoanalyst. On Adolescence, introduction (1962).)
I believe that always, or almost always, in all childhoods and in all the lives that follow them, the mother represents madness. Our mothers always remain the strangest, craziest people we've ever met.
(Marguerite Duras (b. 1914), French author, filmmaker. "House and Home," Practicalities (1987, trans. 1990).)
To brew up an adult, it seems that some leftover childhood must be mixed in; a little unfinished business from the past periodically intrudes on our adult life, confusing our relationships and disturbing our sense of self.
(Roger Gould (20th century), U.S. psychotherapist and author. Transformations, sec. 1 (1978).)
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).)