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Children are offspring of a parental entity; though generally the word child refers to a human between birth and puberty it also is used to refer to sons or daughters of any age. The legal definition of "child" generally refers to a minor, otherwise known as a person younger than the age of majority. Metaphorically the term "child" can signify inclusion in clans, tribes, religions or general cultural traditions of a specific time, place, or circumstance, as in "a child of nature" or "a child of the Sixties."

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Children are the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future. ~ John F. Kennedy
Alphabetized by author
  • Some of my youthful readers are developing wonderful imaginations. This pleases me. Imagination has brought mankind through the Dark Ages to its present state of civilization. Imagination led Columbus to discover America. Imagination led Franklin to discover electricity. Imagination has given us the steam engine, the telephone, the talking-machine, and the automobile, for these things had to be dreamed of before they became realities. So I believe that dreams — day dreams, you know, with your eyes wide open and your brain machinery whizzing — are likely to lead to the betterment of the world. The imaginative child will become the imaginative man or woman most apt to create, to invent, and therefore to foster civilization. A prominent educator tells me that fairy tales are of untold value in developing imagination in the young. I believe it.
  • Dr. Bender: I read the ones which look to me to be of some interest. I give the rest to the children at Bellevue and let them read them and tell me what they think about them. I give them to teachers, psychiatrists. I take them home to my children. And if there is any question about one, and frequently there is for instance, about 2 years ago one of the psychiatrists wrote me in dismay saying that be, had picked up a comic his daughter brought him which a psychiatrist had been abused in his opinion and found my name on the advisory board and wondered how I could justify such a thing.
  • Dr. Bender: In this particular comic the storywriter had thought up a new form of what might be called shock treatment, in which a wife, who was jealous of her husband, had been exposed by the husband, at the advice of his psychiatrist, to actual situations which could be interpreted as indicating that the husband was wanting to do her harm.
  • Dr. Bender: But then it ended up with the husband explaining everything and the psychiatrist coming in and explaining everything and the wife and the husband reunited in, their mutual understanding and love, and the psychiatrist going home. He lived next door. The husband played chess with him, or something.
  • Dr. Bender: Well, this didn't look very bad to me. I said I was not even sure it was not a good idea, it has some good ideas in it. Maybe if we actually did try to portray some of the delusions of patients and showed we could explain, that might be away of exposing disillusionary ideas.
  • Dr. Bender: I showed them to the children in the ward, because they do have disillusonary ideas. The children in the ward thought that was a good story and they thought it was a good idea, it was like the kind of treatment we were giving them, which I had not thought of, in that fashion. They certainly thought it was a good way to cure the sick woman.
  • Mr. Beaser: You mentioned burning flames. Look at this picture here. It shows as a final scene a man being burned. You would object to that being distributed to children, would you not? I gathered that from your last remarks.
Dr. Bender: I would say this: I think I could distribute that to the children. I don't know who the man is. I don't think they know who he is, do they?
Mr. Beaer: Supposing it was a magazine which depicted him as the father of a child, a father figure?
Dr. Bender: Then I would object to it. You see, I objected to this thing about the sailors because it was our sailors.
Mr. Beaser:You would also object maybe to the sight of a child's mother and father being electrocuted?
Dr. Bender: Well, I object to seeing that under any circumstances, if you don't mind.
  • She does not believe that Wonder Woman tends to masochism or sadism. Furthermore, she believes that even if it did-you can teach either perversion to children-one can only bring out what is inherent in the child. However she did make the reservation that if the woman slaves wore chains (and enjoyed them) for no purpose whatsoever, there would be no point in chaining them.
  • Every age and degree of understanding should have its proper measure of discipline. With regard to boys and adolescents, therefore, or those who cannot understand the seriousness of the penalty of excommunication, whenever such as these are delinquent let them be subjected to severe fasts or brought to terms by harsh beatings, that they may be cured.
  • Love for children is perhaps the most intense love; for it knows that it has nothing to hope for.
  • Monday's child is fair in face,
    Tuesday's child is full of grace,
    Wednesday's child is full of woe,
    Thursday's child has far to go,
    Friday's child is loving and giving,
    Saturday's child works hard for its living;
    And a child that's born on a Christmas day,
    Is fair and wise, good and gay.
    • Anonymous; reported in Traditions, Legends, Superstitions, and Sketches of Devonshire (1838), by Anna E. K. S. Bray, vol. 2, pp. 287–88. In some versions, "the Sabbath day" is substituted for "a Christmas day". For further information and other alternative wordings, see Monday's Child.
  • Scripture points out this difference between believers and unbelievers; the latter, as old slaves of their incurable perversity, cannot endure the rod; but the former, like children of noble birth, profit by repentance and correction.
    • John Calvin Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life, pg. 57
  • That they may not become too complacent or delighted in married life, he makes them distressed by the shortcomings of their partners, or humbles them through willful offspring, or afflicts them with the want or loss of children. But, if in all these matters he is more merciful to them, he shows them by diseases and dangers how unstable and passing all mortal blessings are, that they may not be puffed up with vain glory.
    • John Calvin Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life, pg. 69
  • Sometimes, you have to take a risk to give your kids what you want to give them.
    • Noel Edmonds, from the gameshow, Deal or no Deal, (5 November 2008).
  • In old days there were angels who came and took men by the hand and led them away from the city of destruction. We see no white-winged angels now. But yet men are led away from threatening destruction: a hand is put into theirs, which leads them forth gently towards a calm and bright land, so that they look no more backward; and the hand may be a little child's.
  • As I traveled, talking about these issues, I met so many young people who had lost hope. Some were depressed; some were apathetic; some were angry and violent. And when I talked to them, they all more or less felt this way because we had compromised their future and the world of tomorrow was not going to sustain their great-grandchildren.
    • Jane Goodall "Then & Now: Jane Goodall", CNN (June 19, 2005)
  • It is terrible, absolutely mindless, ... Hundreds of children die every minute. But instead of giving them the basics of life we spend more than a million dollars a minute on arms. And all we buy is more and more insecurity, more and more instability.
    • George Ignatieff, former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations and NATO. Cited in Awake! magazine, 9/22, 1984.
  • Zatôichi: [After being asked by a mother what she would do; having many children] Just don't raise them to be gangsters.
Tane: I won't... But why do you say that?
Zatôichi: Because to be a gangster is a foolish way to live.
Tane: Then why don't you live a decent life?
Zatôichi: It's like being stuck in a bog; it's not easy to pull yourself you once you've fallen in.
    • The Tale of Zaoichi, screenplay by Minoru Inuzuka; based on The Tale of Zatoichi by Kan Shimozawa
  • Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea...Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
  • If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.
    • Carl Jung, The Integration of the Personality (1939)
  • People now began bringing him young children for him to touch them, but the disciples reprimanded them. At seeing this, Jesus was indignant and said to them: “Let the young children come to me; do not try to stop them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such ones. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a young child will by no means enter into it.” And he took the children into his arms and began blessing them, laying his hands on them.
  • The children wear military uniforms and become used to handling the anti-aircraft artillery flak guns. Fifteen and sixteen-year-old children as warriors! If the war still continues to last for a long time, perhaps the babies will also be employed. Total war!!
  • Children are the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.
    • John F. Kennedy, Re: United States Committee for UNICEF July 25, 1963," Box 11, President's Outgoing Executive Correspondence Series, White House Central Chronological File, Presidential Papers, Papers of John F. Kennedy.
  • Put a child in a den of thieves (but the child must not remain there so long that it is corrupted itself); that is, let it remain there only for a brief time. Then let it come home and tell everything it has experienced. You will note that the child, who is a good observer and has an excellent memory (as does every child), will tell everything in the greatest detail, yet in such a way that in a certain sense the important is omitted. Therefore someone who does not know that the child has been among thieves would least suspect it on the basis of the child’s story. What is it, then, that the child leaves out, what is it that the child has not discovered? It is the evil. Yet the child’s story about what it has seen and heard is entirely accurate. What then does the child lack? What is it that so often makes a child’s story the most profound mockery of the adults? It is knowledge of evil, that the child lacks knowledge of evil, that the child does not even feel inclined to want to be knowledgeable about evil.
  • The Negro constitutes half the poor of the nation. Like all poor, Negro and white, they have many unwanted children. This is a cruel evil they urgently need to control. There is scarcely anything more tragic in human life than a child who is not wanted. That which should be a blessing becomes a curse for parent and child. There is nothing inherent in the Negro mentality which creates this condition. Their poverty causes it. When Negroes have been able to ascend economically, statistics reveal they plan their families with even greater care than whites. Negroes of higher economic and educational status actually have fewer children than white families in the same circumstances.
  • All I know is Nanhoï's love. My son is my life. I believe in the magic of this love. He is the embodiment of life to me. The embodiment of beauty. Through him I'll find redemption and salvation. Then the wound in my soul - the wound I thought would never scar over - will stop bleeding.
    • Klaus Kinski, Kinski Uncut : The Autobiography of Klaus Kinski (1996), p. 316.
  • C'est l'honneur de l'homme de retrouver dans ses enfants l'ingratitude qu'il eut pour ses pères, et de finir ainsi, comme Dieu, par un sentiment désintéressé.
    • Translation: It is the honor of man to find again in his children the ingratitude which he showed towards his own parents, and thus to conclude, like God, by a disinterested sentiment.
    • Henri Lacordaire, "Trente-neuvième Conférence: De l'établissement du regne de Jésus-Christ" (1846), Conférences de Notre-Dame de Paris, Tome III (Paris: Libraire Ch. Poussielgue, 1893), p. 73.
    • Paraphrased variant: "It is an honor for you to find again in your children the same ingratitude you showed toward your own fathers and thus attain to the perfection of loving, like God, without self-interest." In Josef Pieper, Faith, Hope, Love (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997), p. 255.
  • A child born today in the United Kingdom stands a ten times greater chance of being admitted to a mental hospital than to a university … This can be taken as an indication that we are driving our children mad more effectively than we are genuinely educating them. Perhaps it is our way of educating them that is driving them mad.
  • Sexual play was a regular practice among the children from the earliest period. The adult attitude toward it, if not one of active encouragement, was at least that of mild amusement. [...] Regular intercourse began before puberty with patterns of group sexual play, two or three girls in the gang serving a number of boys in rapid succession with the other boys looking on. Occasionally there were individual affairs. Sexual techniques were learned through imitation of the adults. [...] Homosexuality was present in the form of mutual masturbation, but I have no data as to its frequency. [...] The gap between adults and children was such that it was impossible for an adult to win the child’s confidence. Relations between them were amiable but entirely dissociated.
    • Ralph Linton [Linton, Ralph. Marquesan Culture (July 1925), American Anthropologist Volume 27. Issue 3 (p. 474-478)]
  • The next day, as soon as it was light, we were surrounded by a still greater multitude of these people. There were now a hundred females at least; and they practised all the arts of lewd expression and gesture, to gain admission on board. It was with difficulty I could get my crew to obey the orders I had given on this subject. Amongst these females were some not more than ten years of age. But youth, it seems, is here no test of innocence; these infants, as I may call them, rivalled their mothers in the wantonness of their motions and the arts of allurement.
  • Wer anders lehret, denn ich hierinn gelehret hab, oder mich darinn verdammt, der verdamt Gott, und muß ein Kind der Höllen bleiben.
    • Whoever teaches differently from what I have taught, or whoever condemns me therein, he condemns God and must remain a child of hell.
    • Deutsche Antwort Luthers auf König Heinrichs von England Buch. German answer of Martin Luther to the Book of King Henry of England, 1522.
    • Dr. Martin Luther's Sämtliche Werke, Polemische Deutsche Schriften, Johann Konrad Irmischer, Erlangen, 1833, vol. 28, p. 347. [2]
  • Children hallow small things. A child is a priest of the ordinary, fulfilling a sacred office that absolutely no one else can fill. The simplest gesture, the ephemeral movement, the commonest object all become precious beyond words when touched, noticed, lived by one's own dear child.
    • Mike Mason, The Mystery of Children (Colorado Springs: Waterbrook Press, 2001), p. 27.
  • With the birth of each child you lose two novels.
  • The welfare of a child is not to be measured by money only, nor by physical comfort only.
    • Nathaniel Lindley, Baron Lindley, L.J., In re McGrath (Infants), L. R. 1 C. D. (1893), p. 148; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 188.
  • Look around you. Everywhere. They are there. In every home — lurking in dark corners … small, bi-pedal entities with almost human brains play their games in which adults are the pawns. They play and wait for the time when they will take over the world!
  • A child is innately wise and realistic. If left to himself without adult suggestion of any kind, he will develop as far as he is capable of developing.
  • But she didn't laugh. "When you have children," she said, staring at her glass, "you accept life. Do you accept life?"
  • Neither of you have a need for children in your present personalities. You are almost finished with incarnations on the earth, so much so that the physical bodies will return completely and unfragmented upon your physical death. This is always the case in the final earth life. The physical property is left behind, no portion of it being carried on that plane through children.
    • Jane Roberts, The Early Sessions: Book 1, Session 9, Page 46.
  • A person's lifeworm is a tangle of atomic worldlines. A braid. The dotty little atoms trace out smooth lines in spacetime: you are the pattern that these lines make up. There is no one single atom that is exclusively yours. I breathe an atom out, you breathe it in. Your garbage helps my tomatoes grow. And so the little spacetime threads weave us all together. The human race is a single vast tapestry, linked by our shared food and air. There are larger links as well: sperm, egg and umblilicus. Each family tree is an organic whole. Your spacetime body tapers back to the threads of mother's egg and father's sperm. And children, if you have them, are forever rooted in your flesh.
  • Children who willingly participate in sexual acts have the right to make that decision as well, even if it's distasteful to us personally. Some children will make poor choices just as some adults do in smoking and drinking to excess; this is part of life. When we outlaw child pornography, the prices paid for child performers rise, increasing the incentives for parents to use children against their will.
  • Children are the keys of Paradise … They alone are good and wise, Because their thoughts, their very lives, are prayer.
  • The fear that seeing naked people in some way harms children is not supported, however, by academic research. The small handful of studies on this topic in psychology and sociology have shown, instead, that children reared in an atmosphere containing family social nudity may benefit from the practice. If this is true, then proposed laws outlawing either social nudity in the home or children's participation at naturist (or nudist) settings are unjustified.
  • Happiness is an imaginary condition, formerly attributed by the living to the dead, now usually attributed by adults to children, and by children to adults.
  • Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.
    • Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds (1916).
    • Paraphrased variants:
      • Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of humanity
      • The birth of a child, is God's way of saying, life must go on.
  • I honestly don't understand the big fuss made over nudity and sex in films. It's silly. On TV, the children can watch people murdering each other, which is a very unnatural thing, but they can't watch two people in the very natural process of making love. Now, really, that doesn't make any sense, does it?
    • Sharon Tate as quoted in Sharon Tate and the Manson Murders (2000) by Greg King
  • You'll never know how I watched you
    From the shadows as a child
    You'll never know how it feels to be the one
    Who's left behind
  • You do not chop off a section of your imaginative substance and make a book specifically for children, for — if you are honest — you have no idea where childhood ends and maturity begins. It is all endless and all one.
    • P. L. Travers, as quoted in Sticks and Stones : The Troublesome Success of Children's Literature from Slovenly Peter to Harry Potter (2002) by Jack Zipes.
  • I think there's a lot of people out there who say we must not have horror in any form, we must not say scary things to children because it will make them evil and disturbed... That offends me deeply, because the world is a scary and horrifying place, and everyone's going to get old and die, if they're that lucky. To set children up to think that everything is sunshine and roses is doing them a great disservice. Children need horror because there are things they don't understand. It helps them to codify it if it is mythologized, if it's put into the context of a story, whether the story has a happy ending or not. If it scares them and shows them a little bit of the dark side of the world that is there and always will be, it's helping them out when they have to face it as adults.
    • Joss Whedon to Michael Silverberg of NPR; quote featured in the Buffy Monster Book (2000)
  • These experiences are not 'religious' in the ordinary sense. They are natural, and can be studied naturally. They are not 'ineffable' in the sense the sense of incommunicable by language. Maslow also came to believe that they are far commoner than one might expect, that many people tend to suppress them, to ignore them, and certain people seem actually afraid of them, as if they were somehow feminine, illogical, dangerous. 'One sees such attitudes more often in engineers, in mathematicians, in analytic philosophers, in book keepers and accountants, and generally in obsessional people'. The peak experience tends to be a kind of bubbling-over of delight, a moment of pure happiness. 'For instance, a young mother scurrying around her kitchen and getting breakfast for her husband and young children. The sun was streaming in, the children clean and nicely dressed, were chattering as they ate. The husband was casually playing with the children: but as she looked at them she was suddenly so overwhelmed with their beauty and her great love for them, and her feeling of good fortune, that she went into a peak experience . . .
  • Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.
  • A child, not knowing what is extraordinary and what is commonplace, usually lights midway between the two, finds interest in incidents adults consider beneath notice, and calmly accepts the most improbable occurrences.
    • Gene Wolfe, "The Fifth Head of Cerberus", Orbit 10 (1972), ed. Damon Knight. Reprinted in a set of three novellas, The Fifth Head of Cerberus (1972).
  • I’m feeling honored that I am being chosen as a Nobel laureate and I have been honored with this – this precious award, the Nobel Peace Prize. And I’m proud that I’m the first Pakistani and the first young woman or the first young person who is getting this award. It’s a great honor for me. And I’m also really happy that I’m sharing this award with a person – with a person from India whose name is Kailash Satyarthi and his great work for child’s right, his great work against – against child slavery.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)[edit]

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • Train them to virtue; habituate them to industry, activity, and spirit. Make them consider every vice as shameful and unmanly. Fire them with ambition to be useful. Make them disdain to be destitute of any useful knowledge. Fix their ambition upon great and solid objects, and their contempt upon little, frivolous, and useless ones.
  • Never despair of a child. The one you weep the most for at the mercy-seat may fill your heart with the sweetest joys.
  • Precious Saviour! come in spirit, and lay Thy strong, gentle grasp of love on our dear boys and girls, and keep these our lambs from the fangs of the wolf.
  • Jesus was the first great teacher of men who showed a genuine sympathy for childhood. When He said "Of such is the kingdom of heaven," it was a revelation.
  • As in the Master's spirit you take into your arms the little ones, His own everlasting arms will encircle them and you. He will pity both their and your simplicity; and as in unseen presence He comes again, His blessing will breathe upon you.
  • Bring your little children to the Saviour. Place them in His arms. Devote them to His service. Born in His camp, let them wear from the first His colors. Taking advantage of timely opportunities, and with all tenderness of spirit, seek to endear them to the Friend of Sinners, the Good Shepherd of the lambs, the loving Guardian of the little children. And not only teach them, but govern them. And in order to govern them, govern yourselves.
  • Children have more need of models than of critics.
  • Let us be men with men, and always children before God; for in His eyes we are but children. Old age itself, in presence of eternity, is but the first moment of a morning.
  • Johnny is but gone an hour or two sooner to bed as children are wont to do, and we are undressing to follow. And the more we put off the love of this present world, and all things superfluous beforehand, we shall have the less to do when we lie down.
  • God has given you your child, that the sight of him, from time to time, might remind you of His goodness, and induce you to praise Him with filial reverence.
  • We speak of educating our children. Do we know that our children also educate us?
  • The glorified spirit of the infant is as a star to guide the mother to its own blissful clime.
  • We are but children, the things that we do
    Are as sports of a babe to the Infinite view,
    That sees all our weakness, and pities it too.
    And oh! when aweary, may we be so blest
    As to sink, like an innocent child, to our rest,
    And feel ourselves clasped to the Infinite breast.

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