...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.)
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.
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).)
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).)
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).)
It is with our brothers and sisters that we learn to love, share, negotiate, start and end fights, hurt others, and save face. The basis of healthy (or unhealthy) connections in adulthood is cast during childhood.
(Jane Mersky Leder (20th century), U.S. magazine writer, author. Brothers and Sisters, ch. 3 (1991).)
When we suffer anguish we return to early childhood because that is the period in which we first learnt to suffer the experience of total loss. It was more than that. It was the period in which we suffered more total losses than in all the rest of our life put together.
(John Berger (b. 1926), British author, critic. (repr. 1976). A Fortunate Man, p. 122 (1967).)