Biologically, a child (plural children) is a human being between the stages of birth and puberty, or between the developmental period of infancy and puberty. The legal definition of child generally refers to a minor, otherwise known as a person younger than the age of majority. Children generally have fewer rights and less responsibility than adults. They are classed as unable to make serious decisions, and legally must be under the care of their parents or another responsible caregiver.
Child may also describe a relationship with a parent (such as sons and daughters of any age) or, metaphorically an authority figure, or signify group membership in a clan, tribe, or religion; it can also signify being strongly affected by a specific time, place, or circumstance, as in "a child of nature" or "a child of the Sixties".
- The perpetuation of the human family is one of God’s purposes for human sexuality (Gen 1:28). Though it may be inferred that marriages are generally intended to yield offspring, Scripture never presents procreation as an obligation of every couple in order to please God. However, divine revelation places a high value on children and expresses the joy to be found in parenting (Matt 19:14; Ps 127:3). Bearing and rearing children help parents to understand God and to develop compassion, caring, humility, and unselfishness (Ps 103:13; Luke 11:13).
- ”Is It All Right for Christians to Use Contraceptives?”, ‘’Adventist.org’’, (July 26, 1994)
- I don’t see any adults here in Japan. The fact that you see salarymen reading manga and pornography on the trains and being unafraid, unashamed or anything, is something you wouldn’t have seen 30 years ago, with people who grew up under a different system of government. They would have been far too embarrassed to open a book of cartoons or dirty pictures on a train. But that’s what we have now in Japan. We are a country of children.
- Shield children from everything false; guard them against worthless music; protect them from obscenity; protect them from false competitions; protect them from affirmation of selfhood. The more so, since it is necessary to inculcate a love for incessant learning. The muscles must not gain the upper hand over mind and heart.
- Agni Yoga, New Era Community, 116. (1926)
- 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.
- L. Frank Baum, Introduction to The Lost Princess of Oz (1917).
- Not a day passes, but I get a letter from a child. They come sometimes singly, sometimes in batches of 50 or 100. Entire classes, where school teachers have read my stories, have written to me. I answer every one personally. When I was a child I know how, if I had received a real letter from an author whose book I'd read, I would have been the happiest boy alive. And if I am to do any good in this world my highest ambition will be to make children happy.
- The children also will frequently tell me ─ for instance, on television, I have to listen to it with my own children occasionally and I am aghast, / "My God, how can you stand such things, children?" / They say, "Mom, don't you know it is only television, it is not real." / In my opinion it is the same thing about these comics.
- I would expose children to these comics an [sic.] see what the result was. / Now, if you want to ask me what I think the result would be I think it would be minimal. I think that many of the children would be bored with them, I think that many of the children would refuse to read them and the more sophisticated would say, "So what, I have seen stuff like that before." / Mr. BEASER. But you do not actually know, Doctor? / The CHAIRMAN. You are talking about normal children, though? / Dr. BENDER. There is no such thing as a normal child. / The CHAIRMAN. There is not? / Dr. BENDER. No. / The CHAIRMAN. That is your medical opinion? / Dr. BENDER. That is my medical opinion.
- Lauretta Bender, Date unknown.
- 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.
- Benedict of Nursia Rule of St. Benedict: Chapter 30: How Boys Are to Be Corrected
- Love for children is perhaps the most intense love; for it knows that it has nothing to hope for.
- Werner Bergengruen, Dichtergehäuse (Zurich-Munich, 1966), p. 40.
- Children should above all be taught self-reliance, love for all men, altruism, mutual charity, and more than anything else, to think and reason for themselves... Aim at creating free men and women, free intellectually, free morally, unprejudiced in all respects, and above all things, unselfish.”
- H. P. Blavatsky, The Key to Theosophy p. 251/52 (1889)
- 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.
- The first duty towards children is to make them happy. If you have not made them so, you have wronged them. No other good they may get can make up for that.
- Charles Buxton, Notes of Thought (1883). London: John Murray, p. 147.
- 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
- A child is not something owed to one, but is a gift. The "supreme gift of marriage" is a human person. A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged "right to a child" would lead. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights: the right "to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents," and "the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception."
- [T]o produce children without regard to consequences is to use procreative power irresponsibly, the more so when there is involved the imposition of one partner’s will upon the other.
- Church of England, “The Family in Contemporary Society”, London 1958, p. 15
- Look! Sons are an inheritance from Jehovah; the fruitage of the belly is a reward.
- Over at our place, we're sure of just one thing: everybody in the world was once a child. So in planning a new picture, we don't think of grown-ups, and we don't think of children, but just of that fine, clean, unspoiled spot down deep in every one of us that maybe the world has made us forget and that maybe our pictures can help recall.
- Walt Disney Recorded statement (1938) used in The Pixar Story (2008)
- Nothing matters more to a child than a place to call home.
- Brenda Donald, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Human Resources, "Brenda Donald: Mission possible for Maryland: 1,000 new foster parents by 2010", Examiner.com (5 February 2008).
- The Bible sees children as a great blessing. Thus, when God blesses Abraham, the blessing is for the land of Israel and children, and that blessing is repeated to Isaac and Jacob. Infertility, on the other hand, is portrayed as a curse that affects all of the patriarchs and matriarchs, at least for a time. It is the source of both anxiety and tension for a couple, as articulated perhaps most graphically in the testy exchange between Jacob and Rachel, when Jacob has had children with Leah but not with Rachel: “Rachel said to Jacob, ‘Give me children or I shall die.’ Jacob was incensed at Rachel and said, ‘Can I take the place of God, who has denied you fruit of the womb?”
Having children not only obeys the Torah’s first command to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth,” but also increased adults’ maturity. The Rabbis recognized this in a very interesting ruling, according to which only people with children of their own were eligible to serve as judges in capital cases. Only such people, the Rabbis seem to be saying, can know the true value of life – both the life of the alleged perpetrator and the life of the victim.
- Elliot N Dorff, “Moses, the prophets, and the Rabbis”, and Family Law: An Introduction”, edited by John Witte, Jr, Gary S. Hauk, (2017), Cambridge University, “Children”, p.30
- Even though fathers had considerable duties with regard to their children, and children has significant duties with regard to their parents as well, there were limits to what parents could expect of their children. Parents were not allowed to have sexual relations with their children or grandchildren. Some biblical sources allow and even encourage parents to strike their children when they misbehave, as part of the parent’s duties to educate their children while other urge parents to “Educate the child according to his ways.” The debate in Jewish sources about parents hitting children has continued through the Middle Ages to our own time. The Talmud, though, says this: “If you must strike a child, hit him/her with the sting of a shoe,” and the bulk of the Jewish tradition has against hitting children to discipline them.
- Elliot N Dorff, “Moses, the prophets, and the Rabbis”, and Family Law: An Introduction”, edited by John Witte, Jr, Gary S. Hauk, (2017), Cambridge University, “Children”, p.33
- 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.
- If a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant ... If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed ... If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.
- Exodus 21:7-10
- Adults make their children suffer for the sake of appearances, or to save themselves a little trouble. But it is the job of an adult, especially a mother, to help her child develop its natural abilities. It is a terrible wrong to deprive children of their freedom and rob them of their personalities. Let your children play as they please! To play freely on this earth is the one privilege nature has given to children. If they are allowed to play, they will grow up to be healthy human beings. Of this, at least, I am absolutely certain.
- Our American children are for the most part normal children. They are bright children, but those who want to prohibit comic magazines seem to see dirty, sneaky, perverted monsters who use the comics as a blueprint for action. Perverted little monsters are few and far between. They don't read comics. The chances are most of them are in schools for retarded children.
What are we afraid of? Are we afraid of our own children? Do we forget that they are citizens, too, and entitled to select what to read or do? Do we think our children are so evil, so simple minded, that it takes a story of murder to set them to murder, a story of robbery to set them to robbery? Jimmy Walker once remarked that he never knew a girl to be ruined by a book. Nobody has ever been ruined by a comic."
As has already been pointed out by previous testimony, a little healthy, normal child has never been made worse for reading comic magazines. The basic personality of a child is established before he reaches the age of comic-book reading. I don’t believe anything that has ever been written can make a child overaggressive or delinquent. The roots of such characteristics are much deeper. The truth is that delinquency is the product of real environment, in which the child lives and not of the fiction he reads.
There are many problems that reach our children today. They are tied up with insecurity. No pill can cure them. No law will legislate them out of being. The problems are economic and social and they are complex. Our people need understanding; they need to have affection, decent homes, decent food.
- In ancient Roman law, children were considered the property of the father. After seeing his newborn children, a father could choose not to accept them, in which case they were "exposed"--literally left outside, to die or to be taken in by a compassionate stranger. If a stranger chose to, he or she could rescue and take in a child abandoned this way (the stoic philosopher Epictetus did this); but the choice of life or death lay with the father of the house. Female infants were the most frequent victims of this practice.
In contrast to this, children were usually important in the New Testament: they are brought forward to Jesus, for his blessing; and John the Forerunner "leaps" in Elizabeth's womb at Mary's greeting.
- Fr. John Garvey, “Orthodox Christians and Abortion”
- 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)
- An unrestrained production of children without realistic regard to God-given responsibilities involved in bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord may be as sinful and as selfish an indulgence of the lusts of the flesh as is the complete avoidance of parenthood.
- Dr Gustafson, President of the New York Conference of the Augustana Lutheran Church, The New York Times, Friday, July 25, 1958; as quoted in “Christian Opinion-Other Than Roman Catholic”, pp.71-72
- I examined what Scripture had to say about children. The witness of the Word was overwhelming! Every verse that spoke about children spoke of them as only and always a blessing (Ps 127; 128). There was no proverb that cautioned about the expenses of a child outweighing his worth. There was no blessing pronounced over the man or woman who had perfect spacing between children, or the couple who had the right number of childless years before shouldering the burden of children, or the husband and wife who had planned each conception. These were thoughts I had learned from the media, my public school and my neighborhood, but they bad no foundation in the Word of God.
Fertility, in Scripture, was presented as something to be prized and celebrated rather than as a disease to be avoided at all costs. And though I could find no verse speaking negatively about people with small families, there was no question that larger families showed an outpouring of greater favor from God, according to a variety of passages. God was the One who opened and closed the womb, and, when he gave life, it was seen only as a blessing. After all, God’s desire from faithful marriages was “godly offspring” (Mal 2:15). Children were described as “arrows in the hand of a warrior . . . blessed is the man whose quiver is full..” Who would go into battle with only two or three arrows when he could go with a whole quiver-full?!
- Scott Hahn, Kimberly Hahn. [https://www.google.com/books/edition/Rome_Sweet_Home/sKp0MX28fCwC?hl=en&gbpv=1&printsec=frontcover “Rome Sweet Home”. Chapter 3 “New Conceptions of the Covenant”, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993.
- Christians are trained to received and welcome children into the world. They represent a continuing commitment to live as a historic people. The vocation of marriage derives its intelligibility from a couple's willingness to be open to new life. It is a test of the validity of a marriage union and love, that the union is open to creation of another. The Christian prohibition of abortion is the negative side of the positive commitment to welcome new life into their community. For Christians there can be no question of the fetus being a human being. The fetus is nothing less than God's continuing creation that is destined in hope to be another citizen of his kingdom. The Christian hope is that life will and does continue to begin time after time. The role of being a parent, even for the childless, is a responsibility shared by everyone in the Christian community. From the world's perspective, children are a drain on our material and psychological resources. From the Christian perspective, there is no more profound political act than taking the time for children. It is an indication that God, not man, rules this existence. Christians should be concerned about developing forms of care and support for children, the absence of which makes abortion such a necessity. The woman pregnant and carrying the child need not be the one to raise it. Christians must be ready to receive and care for any child.
- S Hauerwas, “Abortion: why the arguments fail”. Hosp Prog. 1980 Jan;61(1):38-49.
- Losing a parent or caregiver in childhood is a significant trauma. The study notes that this type of adverse childhood experience "may result in profound long-term impact on health and well-being for children."
"Adverse childhood experiences are associated with increased risks of every major cause of death in adulthood," says Hillis.
- Susan Hillis as quoted in “COVID deaths leave thou-sands of U.S. kids grieving parents or primary caregivers”, by Rhitu Chatterjee, Carmel Wroth; "Morning Edition", NPR, (October 7, 2021)
- 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.
- It seemed proper indeed to crowd the pages with children, for in real life they run all over; the world is covered thickly with the prints of their little footsteps, though, as a rule, books written for grown-up people are kept almost clear of them.
- Jean Ingelow, in her Preface to the American edition of Fated to be Free.
- And all your sons will be persons taught by Jehovah, and the peace of your sons will be abundant.
- Well you've cracked the sky/Scrapers fill the air/But will you keep on building higher/'til there's no more room up there?/Will you make us laugh/Will you make us cry?/Will you tell us when to live/Will you tell us when to die?/I know we've come a long way/We're changing day to day/But tell me, where do the children play?
- Yusuf Islam, Where do the children play? 1970
- 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.
- Mark 10: 13-16 (NWT).
- The old law had a different ideal of blessedness, for therein it is said: Blessed is he who has seed in Zion and a family in Jerusalem: and Cursed is the barren who bears not: and Your children shall be like olive-plants round about your table. Riches too are promised to the faithful and we are told that there was not one feeble person among their tribes. But now even to eunuchs it is said, Say not, behold I am a dry tree, Isaiah 56:3 for instead of sons and daughters you have a place forever in heaven. Now the poor are blessed, now Lazarus is set before Dives in his purple. Now he who is weak is counted strong. But in those days the world was still unpeopled: accordingly, to pass over instances of childlessness meant only to serve as types, those only were considered happy who could boast of children. It was for this reason that Abraham in his old age married Keturah; Genesis 25:1 that Leah hired Jacob with her son's mandrakes, Genesis 30:14-16 and that fair Rachel— a type of the church — complained of the closing of her womb. Genesis 30:1-2 But gradually the crop grew up and then the reaper was sent forth with his sickle.
- Jerome, Letter 22, p.21; as qtd. in "CHURCH FATHERS: Letter 22 (Jerome)", ‘’New Advent’’, translated by W.H. Fremantle, G. Lewis and W.G. Martley. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 6. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1893.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight.
- 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)
- If you could meet your grandkids as elderly citizens in the year 2100 ... you would view them as being, basically, Greek gods... that's where we're headed.
- 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!!
- Friedrich Kellner, My Opposition, 1943.
- 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.
- Soren Kierkegaard Works of Love 1847 Hong 1995 p. 285-286
- that kind of deep attention that we pay as children is something that I cherish, that I think we all can cherish and reclaim, because attention is that doorway to gratitude, the doorway to wonder, the doorway to reciprocity. And it worries me greatly that today’s children can recognize 100 corporate logos and fewer than 10 plants.
- 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.
- Martin Luther King Jr., Family Planning - A Special and Urgent Concern
- 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.
- Every child, at birth, is the Universal Man. But, as it grows, we turn it into "a petty man." It should be the function of education to turn it again into the original "Universal Man."
The child which by birth was the universal man is fettered by us with such constraints as country, language, religion, caste, race and colour. To free it from all these limitations and transform it into "the enlightened soul", that is to say, the universal man, — this should become the first and foremost function of our education, culture, civilization, and what not.
- Kuvempu, Vishwa-Manava [translated as "Universal Man", "Universal Humanity", or "The Universal Man"], as quoted in Epic in Indian Literature (1985) by Harōgadde Mānappa Nāyaka, p. xix; also in Interdisciplinary Alter-natives in Comparative Literature (2013), edited by E. V. Ramakrishnan, Harish Trivedi, and Chandra Mohan, p. 71
- Variant translations:
- Every child is a Universal Man at birth. We reduce him into a "Little Man" as he grows up. The duty of education should be to make him "The Universal Man" once again.
- As quoted in Life and Literature of Sri Kuvempu 26:42
- Every child, at birth, is the universal man. But, as it grows, we turn it into a "petty man" (through caste, creed, religion and race). It should be the function of education to turn it into the original "universal man".
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- R.D. Laing, The Politics of Experience (1967).
- “God gave this blessing to the human race as a whole. He does not give it to everyone. Some couples are barren, and their earnest prayers for children are not fulfilled. Others, like the apostle Paul, are called to life without marriage.
- Raymond C. Van Leeuwen, [http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2001/014/4.58.html “Be Fruitful and Multiply” Is This a Command or Blessing? Article found in Christianity Today, (November 12, 2001).
- If Genesis 1:28 were a ‘command’ that applied to every individual, then Paul would have been disobedient in his apostolic singleness. Paul and everyone else would be obligated to pursue marriage and to order their marriages to produce many descendants.
- Raymond C. Van Leeuwen, [http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2001/014/4.58.html “Be Fruitful and Multiply” Is This a Command or Blessing? Article found in Christianity Today, (November 12, 2001).
- All our children are outriders for a queendom not yet assured.
- I am certain that children always know more than they are able to tell, and that makes the big difference between them and adults, who, at best, know only a fraction of what they say. The reason is simply that children know everything with their whole beings, while we know it only with our heads.
- Jacques Lusseyran, And There Was Light: The Extraordinary Memoir of a Blind Hero of the French Resistance in World War II (1998) p. 7
- We were all created to do as our parents have done, to beget and rear children. This is a duty which God has laid upon us, commanded, and implanted in us, as is proved by our bodily members, our daily emotions, and the example of all mankind.
- Martin Luther, ‘’Exhortation to the Knights of the Teutonic Order’’
- Sexual play was a regular practice among the children [of the Marquesas Islands] 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.
- The next day [in the Bay of Taiohaia, in one of the Sandwich Islands], 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.
- The diligent rearing of children is the greatest service to the world, both in spiritual and temporal affairs, both for the present life and for posterity. Just as one turns young calves into strong cows and oxen, rears young colts to be brave stallions, and nurtures small tender shoots into great fruit breeding trees, so must we bring up our children to be knowing and courageous adults, who serve both land and people and both to prosper.
- 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.
- Children have rights that adults do not have, and these rights come before the rights of adults.
- With the birth of each child you lose two novels.
- Candia McWilliam, as quoted in The Guardian (5 May 1993).
- 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.
- There is something very cheerful and courageous in the setting out of a child on a journey of speech with so small baggage and with so much confidence.
- Alice Meynell, The Children (London: John Lane, 1897), "Fellow Travellers with a Bird. II", p. 17.
- Play is not for every hour of the day, or for any hour taken at random. There is a tide in the affairs of children. Civilization is cruel in sending them to bed at the most stimulating time of dusk.
- Alice Meynell, The Children (London: John Lane, 1897), "Under the Early Stars", p. 44.
- Children appeal to us by a variant of the quality of pathos.
- Alice Meynell, Children of the Old Masters (Italian School) (London: Duckworth and Co., 1903), "Introductory Note", p. 5
- Children have a fastidiousness that time is slow to cure. It is to be wondered, for example, whether if the elderly were half as hungry as children are they would yet find so many things at table to be detestable.
- Alice Meynell, Childhood (London: J. T. Batsford, 1913), "IX. Injustice", p. 48.
- 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!
- John Blair Moore, Invaders from Home, Piranha Press, 1990, Book 1 of 6.
- Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart, And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
- Moses, Deuteronomy 6:4 - 9 (KJV)
- Many of my children have worked out well. And I've had very little to do with it. I think they come into the world, to a certain extent, pre-made, and you just sit there and watch. ... It's been simply amazing to me as a parent to see how much is preordained. The shy baby is the shy adult. The booming, obnoxious, domineering baby is the booming, obnoxious, domineering adult. I've never found a way to fix that. ... I can be cheerful about it, but I can't fix it.
- 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.
- A minority current of medieval theology put a value on multiplying the number of human souls. Its most prominent exponent was Duns Scotus. Putting forward the thesis that “to want to procreate children” is good or bad depending on the circumstances, Scotus constructs an argument that would seem to favor limitless procreation: “through the procreation of offspring the city of supernatural citizens is restored in human nature; and to this end, human nature, as multiplied, is per se ordained; for to this end the All Highest has disposed it according to faith, in order to repair the fall of the angels” (‘’On the Sentences [Paris Report] 4.28’’). Taken literally, this proposition would seem to be, the more offspring, the bigger the population of heaven. The theme appears in some preaching: procreation is “to repair the fall of Lucifer in heaven.” St. Bernardine speaks of marriage as divinely ordained “to fill paradise” (The Christian Religion 48.1.1).
This view of the purpose of marriage received its strongest official approval in a papal bull promulgated by Eugene IV at the Council of Florence, November 22, 1439, celebrating the reunion with the schismatic Armenians. The bull, Exultate Deo, enumerated and briefly described the sacraments. It said, “Through order the Church is indeed governed and multiplied spiritually; through matrimony it is corporally increased” (Mansi 31:1054). The contrast with holy orders was obviously of a neat, schematic kind. The bull is the medieval high-water mark of the theory of population increase as a value.
The majority of theologians did not accept this view. Typical is St. Thomas, who spoke of “the multiplication of offspring to be educated to the service of God” as a purpose for marriage only for the polygamous patriarchs of the Old Testament ( On the Sentences 184.108.40.206). Even among the minority, the emphasis on population was not made a direct objection to contraception. Nor did they press their view to the logical extreme of maintaining that the optimal endeavor would be to conceive as many children as possible provided that their baptism was assured. Against this logical extension stood the valuations put on virginity and on the welfare of the child. These factors, which checked even those theologians in favor of increasing the population of heaven, operated with still greater impact on the majority who remained unimpressed with this reason for procreation. Indeed, the stress laid on virginity and on the welfare of the child made is impossible for most thoughtful authors to urge that population as such was a value. An examination of the commitment to these counter value will show the strength of the forces working against the appeal to numbers for their own or heaven’s sake.
- John T. Noonan, Jr., John Thomas Noonan, “Contraception: A History of Its Treatment by the Catholic Theologians and Canonists”, (1986), “Chapter X Counter Approaches”
- Afghanistan is becoming the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. The Food and Agricultural Organization said that 18.8 million Afghans are unable to feed themselves every day. This number is set to rise to nearly 23 million by the end of the year. Nearly nine million people are close to starvation. At least one million children under five with severe acute malnutrition and 2.2 million children under five with moderate acute malnutrition need malnutrition treatment services. However, starvation is not the only issue faced by children. As UNICEF warns “Afghanistan was already one of the toughest places on earth to be a child. Right now, the situation is desperate.” The situation deteriorates quickly as the country is on a brink of famine.
Recent weeks have seen yet another trend: families selling their children, and mostly girls, so that families could buy food. In one of reported cases, a six-year-old girl and 18-month-old toddler were sold for $3,350 and $2,800 respectively. In another reporting, a 9-year-old girl was sold for about $2,200 in the form of sheep, land and cash. There are many more such stories.
- Afghan Girls Being Exchanged For Food As Famine Nears, Ewelina U. Ochab, Forbes November 25, 2021
- children’s writing is so often so beautiful, because it’s so close to their own true tongues. On the other hand, it’s very boring because they have no experience in life.
- Today I would like to draw your attention to another basic aspect of conjugal love: its intrinsic openness to life. The Catechism of the Catholic Church stresses this when it points out that the spouses' love "naturally tends to be fruitful. A child does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfillment (CCC, n.2366).
- But she didn't laugh. "When you have children," she said, staring at her glass, "you accept life. Do you accept life?"
- Cesare Pavese, Among women only.
- Even if they (Children) try to pluck it,
the flower submits itself onto their hands.
If it happens to prick their heels,
the thorn scorns itself all its life.
- The dream too thinks twice,
gets filtered to go soft
to be seated on children's eyes.
- Once positioned on their(children's) lips,
even the scariest of words
come out as a melodious lisp.
- I like desires like children
and their plays
that tease me now and then into
- “I thought you said people see what they expect to see.”
Children don’t. Too often they see what’s there.
- 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 close watch must be kept on the children, and they must never be left alone anywhere, whether they are in ill or good health. This constant supervision should be exercised gently and with a certain trustfulness calculated to make them think that one loves them, and that it is only to enjoy their company that one is with them. This will make them love their supervision rather than fear it.
- Advice to Jesuit school ushers at Port Royal 1615; as quoted in Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter comics, 1941-1948 pp. 99-100
- 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.
- Rudy Rucker in The Sex Sphere, p. 108.
- 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.
- My daughter, before she was sixteen, and especially before she was six, absolutely stunned me every day by the simple beauty and sweetness of her truth.
- William Saroyan, Chance Meetings (1978)
- And though she be but little, she is fierce.
- I believe the children are the future... Unless we stop them now!
- Children are a battle of a different sort ... A battle without banners or warhorns, but no less fierce ... As hard as birth can be, what comes after is even harder.
- Children are the keys of Paradise ... They alone are good and wise, Because their thoughts, their very lives, are prayer.
- Richard Henry Stoddard, Songs of Summer (1856), p. 113.
- 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.
- Mark Storey in Children, Social Nudity and Scholarly Study.
- 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.
- Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin (1973) Emotions.
- 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
- Tina Turner GoldenEye theme
- 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.
- So what if a kid dies? God will take care of him.
- Tamerlan Tsarnaev, in April 2013, as quoted in "Boston Bombing Day 1: The Stunning Stop the Killers Made After the Attack" (18 April 2016), by Brian Ross, ABC News
- If you really look at it, there's no way your life could be more messed up than by having a child who can't take care of themselves.
- James D. Watson as quoted by Alan Boyle in: DNA pioneer James Watson's genetic prescription: Have kids early. Science News, NBC News (27 September 2013).
- 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 . . .
- Colin Wilson in New Pathways In Psychology, p. 17 (1972)
- Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.
- Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance (1893), Act 2.
- 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).
- Give me a child till he is seven years old, and I will make him what no one will unmake. Or, Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man.
- 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.
- Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Speech (October 10, 2014)
Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)
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.
- John Adams, p. 50.
- Never despair of a child. The one you weep the most for at the mercy-seat may fill your heart with the sweetest joys.
- Theodore L. Cuyler, p. 50.
- 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.
- Theodore L. Cuyler, p. 50.
- 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.
- Edward Eggleston, p. 49.
- 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.
- James Hamilton, p. 50.
- 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.
- James Hamilton, p. 50.
- Children have more need of models than of critics.
- Joseph Joubert, p. 49.
- 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.
- Joseph Joubert, p. 51.
- 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.
- Robert Leighton, p. 51.
- 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.
- Christian Scriver, p. 50.
- We speak of educating our children. Do we know that our children also educate us?
- Lydia Sigourney, p. 51.
- The glorified spirit of the infant is as a star to guide the mother to its own blissful clime.
- Lydia Sigourney, p. 53.
- 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.
- F. Burge Smith, p. 51.
“When Children Became People: the birth of childhood in early Christianity” (2005)
Odd Magne Bakke, “When Children Became People: the birth of childhood in early Christianity”, translated from Norwegian by Brian McNeil, Augsburg Fortress Minneapolis, MN, (2005)
- In the field of history, the publication of Philippe Aries’s study in 1960 was fundamental. His thesis, that it was not until after the Renaissance that one started to consider or realized that childhood constituted a particular stage in the development of a human being, has rightly been disputed. In spite of this, a lasting value of Aries’s study is its contribution to shaping awareness of the fact that historical periods of the past could have had totally different presuppositions about childhood than our own, and that it is of vital importance to uncover these in order to give an adequate interpretation of the conception of children.
- In the field of systematic theology, Dawn DeVries has remarked, in an article published in 2001, that “until very recently” this theological discipline “in the twentieth century has been largely silent on the question of children.”
- A number of books and articles deal with issues related to the question of children and childhood in the early church, for examples on expositio (exposure of children), orphans, infant baptism and upbringing . However, only a few publications focus on the way in which children were understood and how they were treated in general. The fact that nearly all these studies were published in the last decade is a clear indicator, as suggested above, of growing scholarly interest in this subject.
- As the history of research shows, studies on children and childhood in early Christianity are beginning to see the light of day. However, though the studies published up to now provide illuminating discussions of various aspects of this topic, only the work by William A. Strange, and partly the essay by Gillian Clark combine several perspectives, and thus seek to give a general account of how Christians in the early church thought about children and how children were treated. I have already expressed my substantial agreement with these finding, but I have pointed out that many important aspects related to children and childhood receive only a superficial treatment, while some go virtually unmentioned in these work; besides this, only a relatively brief section of Strange’s book deals explicitly with the post-New Testament period. This means that we still need a book offering a comprehensive examination of children and childhood in early Christianity.
- The child symbolized the absence of logos, something reflected in the etymology of the word that designated children: nepioi in Greek and infantes in Latin, that is, “not speaking.” Children’s lack of the ability to communicate in an adult manner meant that they were defined as standing outside the rational world of adults.
- The idea that children lack reason occurs in many sources from the time of Homer to that of Cicero. In view of the great importance Plato ascribes to true knowledge as a presupposition for correct ethical development, it is not surprising that it is precisely this philosopher who has most to say about the various ways in which children’s lack of reason finds expression. He claims that children have little knowledge; they are “gullible” and easily persuaded, they are able to understand only the simplest things and they talk nonsense and make unrealiable judgments. When children yield to their wishes and desires they give yet another proof of their limited possession of logos. Along with slaves, women and members of the lower classes, children form that group of human beings in whose lives desires, pleasures, and pains have the greatest place. Plato writes about “the mob of motley appetites and pleasures and pains (epithumai kai hedonai te kai lupai) one would find chiefly in children and women and slaves and in the rabble of those who are freemen in name.” These “pleasures” include music and sweet things-he notes that you can get a baby to stop crying by putting a piece of honeycomb in its mouth. All young creatures are by nature “fiery, they are unable to keep still either body or voice, but are always crying an leaping in disorderly fashion”. Similarly, Aristotle claims that children are more quick-tempered, greedy, and wrathful than adults. Childhood is that stage in life where the appetite for “pleasure” is strongest. These manifestations of children’s lack of logos led the classical philosophers to find a comparison with animals appropriate; indeed, Plato asserts that of all animal, it is the child who is “the most intractable; for in so far as it, above all others, possess a fount of reason that is as yet uncurbed, it is a treacherous, sly and most insolent creature.”
- Plato frequently groups children together with other marginal actors in classical society: women, slaves, and animals. Aristotle does the same, emphasizing that there is a physical similarity between women and children in that neither of them has semen; that animal have the same relationship to human beings as children do to adults; and that both animals and children are inferior to adults, in the same way that stupid and foolish men are inferior to goo and wise men. One consequence on such ideas is that the opinions of children were seen as of no more consequence than those of animals. No human being in possession of his rational faculties would choose to live with the limited capacity for rational thought that one finds in a child, or to return to childhood once one had left it behind.
- One of the most popular Greek adages says: “Old men are like children once more.” This reference to old persons’ mental incapacities reflects the very common association of children with the lack of reason. Similarly, children and childish conduct-as in the phrase, “Not even a child would deny that!”-were used as symbols of foolish and irrational opinions and conduct: other people’s behavior and attitudes were criticized by being called childish. In rhetoric, calling someone a “boy” was perceived as a grave insult. Antony called Octavian a boy when he fought on the side of the senate in the civil war in 43 B.C.E., and this wounded Octavian so profoundly that he issued a decree forbidding anyone to speak of him in this way. When Cicero defended Octavian against this and other charges, he said: “That is certainly a word which we apply to a particular age-group, but hardly to be used by someone who makes a boy a present of his own stupidity as a source of glory.” Children were associated with stupidity: ‘’pueritia amentia’’.
We find similar attitudes in other thinkers influenced by Stoicism-for example, Marcus Aurelius and Seneca. Children were employed above all as a symbol of the irrationality to be found in adults who had not studied philosophy, on the grounds that children were not capable of discovering by means of reasoning that which is ethically right, and at most could learn by heart a basic ethical principle or rule.
- Children were not only considered to be weak in the sense that they lacked logos. The Romans held that they were physically weak, particularly vulnerable, and exposed to sickness. When he bear in mind the high mortality rate among children, this view is not surprising.
- Pliny obviously finds it paradoxical that the creature who is to rule over the other creatures should begin his life in a state of weakness and helplessness, and he does not attempt to conceal his contempt and lack of esteem for this phase in human life. Naturally, his reflections imply that the child has the potential to grow out of the weakness and those other qualities that he regards as negative. Aristotle says that a child is not complete and whole, but attains this state only when it grows up and is formed in keeping with conduct appropriate to noble adult behavior. Cicero made the well-known observation that it is difficult to find any reason to praise a child for its inherent qualities. It deserves praise only on account of the potential it has to become something in the future, that is, an adult human being with the qualities characteristic of adulthood: ”The thing itself cannot be praised, only its potential.” Although these words refer in context to the child’s capabilities as a rhetorician, we can in many ways take it as a general expression of the way classical antiquity saw and evaluated children’s qualities.
- Although children’s qualities tended to be portrayed in negative terms, that is, as a counterpart to the positive qualities associated with the free male urban citizen, we do find examples of positive descriptions of children too. Sometime, they are described as “sweet.” We also note a tendency, especially in Greek antiquity, to think that small children represent a natural state of innocence, since they have performed neither good nor bad actions. However as we shall see, this characteristic of children attracted much less interest and attention among pagans than in the Christian tradition. Nor were children used as positive paradigms in order to persuade adults to imitate this quality.
- In the philosophical tradition, children were portrayed, along with other weak groups, as the negative counterfoil to the free male urban citizen. Children lack reason, or at best have a limited measure of reason. They also lack the physical strength and courage that are typical of men (or at least of the ideal man). This means that children are portrayed as negative symbols or paradigms for adult conduct.
- Our source material is far from furnishing a complete picture of how Christians in late antiquity viewed children’s nature, characteristics, and qualities, but we can reconstruct certain aspects of this picture. We have seen how Jesus’ saying about the child as paradigmatic citizen of the kingdom of God was interpreted. According to the fathers, Jesus used small children as examples because they are simple, innocent and pure in a moral sense. This means that they are not sexually active; they have not yet developed sexual desire; they are not plagued by anger and grief; and they are indifferent to the wealth and positions that are associated with honor and status in this world. Besides this, children obey their parents. It is primarily in the Eastern fathers-Origen, John Chrysostom, and especially Clement of Alexandria-that we find such ideas, but we also find in Tertullian the idea that the child is taken as a model because it is not plagued by sexual desire.
- We must, however, emphasize that the fathers attribute such qualities to small children. As they grow older, the passions take shape. According to Clement of Alexandria and Origen, this development is analogous to the emergence of the reason and of speech (logos). At the same time, the reason is a necessary presupposition, if one is to be able to choose and to resist desire. It is not clear at what age the child leaves behind an existence of simplicity and purity, but it appears that Origen believes that something happens to the child when it reaches the age of four or five, while John of Chrysostom limits the phase of innocence to the first years of a child’s life.
- As I have indicated, Clement and Origen presuppose a connection between the emergence of the reason (logos) and the growth away from innocence, while also affirming that, if desire were to be overcome, reason I the necessary instrument. We also find a connection between reason and desire in John Chrysostom, but his approach is different, since he believes that the passions are present in the child before the reason emerges, and that the child is tyrannized by ” all the passions (pathos)” precisely because it lacks rationality. This is why he normally employs children and their characteristic qualities as negative paradigms, unlike Clement, he generally reflects a positive evaluation of children’s qualities and invariably employs children and the conduct associated with them as positive examples.
The idea that infants are innocent, or morally neutral, is found consistently in all the patristic material I have studied, until a clear break occurs among Western theologian at the beginning of the fifth century. Although Eastern theologians agreed with the Western tradition, which emphasized that Adam’s sin had consequences for his posterity, and some even came close to affirming or at least implicitly presupposing, the idea of original sin, this was asserted with much greater vigor by Augustine. In the course of the Pelagian controversy, where the fundamental issue concerned anthropology Augustine elaborated a theological defense of the doctrine of original sin and underlined that children enter this world with a nature already marked by original sin. Children are not innocent! Although Augustine does emphasize that physical limitations make it impossible for newborn children personally to commit sins, he claims that they are guilty because they are born with original sin. This sinful nature can be seen in the infant’s greed for its mother’s breast and in the jealousy it shows when other children lie at the mother’s or wet nurse’s breast. Accordingly, Augustine claims that when Jesus speaks of children as positive examples, he is referring only to their physical weakness, which makes it impossible for them to perpetrate sinful actions. The importance of the doctrine of original sin was that it allowed Augustine to make sense of the idea of God’s righteousness. His main argument is that if a child is without original sin and hence is innocent, god would be unjust when he punished it by means of sufferings. Punishment presupposes guilt. It follows that the child must be guilty, that is, must be born with original sin, for otherwise God would be afflicting an innocent person. That, in turn is unthinkable, since God’s righteousness is one of his fundamental qualities.
- The church fathers see children as moral subjects. They are moral individuals who bear responsibility for their actions. This is particularly clear in Augustine, who affirms that the degree of responsibility grows in proportion to the child’s intellectual development It appears that he holds children to be fully responsible for their actions once they are about sixteen years old.
The fourth- and fifth century fathers in East and West may differ on the question of original sin, but they agree that children are driven by passions or desires.. At the same time, they emphasize the child’s potential to be molded in keeping with Christian ideals, and John Chrysostom has an especially optimistic view of the possibilities of forming children, whom he compares to the sculptures in the artist’s hand. Chrysostom goes so far as to hold that it takes as little as to months to transform a child I accordance with Christian ideals. The premise for such a positive view of the possibility of change is the idea that the child is created in God’s image. When the parents educate their child in virtue that reflect God’s own being for example, kindness and forgiveness, they uncover God’s image in the child. We are not told explicitly what level of maturity must be reached before a child can internalize the Christian virtues, but it is clear that the process is in full swing by the time the child begins its schooling. Chrysostom exhorts parents to discipline their children “from the first,” since it is easier to form a child’s soul while it is still small. This indicates that the formation must start before the child begins school. Jerome assumes that a child of four or five has the necessary presuppositions for learning moderation.
The study of the Bible was a central element in Christian education. According to Jerome, a seven-year-old child should read the scriptures and learn them y heart. The order that Jerome proposes for reading the individual books reflects his awareness that it is easier for children to absorb material related to rules of conduct and morality than more abstract theological texts. We find the same awareness that one must begin with children’s own presuppositions in John Chrysostom, who exhorts parents to teach their children biblical narratives from the beginning of their schooling. He assumes that seven-year-olds have reached the level of intellectual maturity necessary to grasp the relationship between rewards and merits and that they are able to relate the biblical material to their own lives.
- Education requires one to see children as religious individuals who must develop their own individual relationship to God. Parents are urged to take their children with them to church while they are so small that it is still natural to hold their hands. According to Jerome, seven-year-old children should participate in a comprehensive and regular life of piety. In other words, children are religious subjects who must live their relationship to God both as individuals and in fellowship with adults.
This, however, does not mean that the moral and religious individuality of children is acknowledged as something positive or valuable per se. It is a means toward the attainment of a future goal. The children’s moral and religious life attracts the church father’s attention primarily because the correct input in this area lays those foundations that allow the child at some future date to become an adult who believes and who lives in accordance with particular Christian ideals. Children are seen as “raw material” that must be worked on, so that they can be “attractive products” later on-adult person who have internalized the Christian faith and its consequences for a virtuous life. We find this line of thought more or less explicitly in all the patristic writers of the fourth and fifth centuries who I have studied, but it finds its clearest expression in Jerome who quotes Cicero’s explicit affirmation that a child deserves praise not so much because of what it now is, but rather because of what it will become.
Our modern Western thinking, influenced by the insights of child psychology, may be inclined to say that such affirmation imply a negative view of children’s qualities and characteristics. This impression seems confirmed by the idea that children are tyrannized by passions which must be tamed (John Chrysostom) or that they are born with original sin (Augustine), since such notions supply the premise for the picture of children as “raw material”.
- [T]he apparently negative attitude toward children must be nuanced by other factors, such as the intensity of the debate about the salvation of children. Gregory of Nyssa composed a theological treatise that discusses why God permits the death of small children and what awaits them on the far side of the grave. Augustine emphasizes that Jesus died for babies too. His controversy with Pelagius about which of them represented the more “child-friendly” theology of the salvation of children is a clear indication that theologians were concerned about children’s eternal happiness. Children were seen as individuals with a dignity and a nature that made them (just as much as adults) the recipients of God’s salvation.
A second factor, linked to this, is the emphasis that children are created in god’s image. In Eastern theology, represented by Gregory of Nyssa, this implies that the child shares in god’s life and that the goal of education is t sow the virtues in the child, so that its soul will be cleaned of consequences of the fall, and it can truly achieve that degree of sharing in God for which it was created. In a similar manner, John Chrysostom holds that when parents educate their child to a virtuous life, they uncover God’s image in it. Although Augustine goes further than the Eastern fathers in the dramatic consequences for the child’s nature, which he ascribes to the fall, he too emphasizes that the child is created in God’s image. The acknowledgement of this fact and of its implications for his own existence and life as a boy lead him to strikingly positive affirmations: “In a living creature such as this everything is wonderful and worthy of praise.” Even if it had been God’s will that he should not outlive his own childhood, Augustine would still owe him profound thanks. This fundamentally positive evaluation is connected to Augustine’s belief that God has created children in such a way that they can seek him and find him, but this does not diminish the strikingly positive character of his attitude to children and to their qualities, especially in the light of prevalent attitudes in his period. This means that Augustine combine the idea of original sin and of the child as a sinner with a basically positive assessment of children, based on the theology of creation.
Third, the life and existence of babies had such a significance and dignity that theologians reflected on their suffering in the form of deformity, sickness, and death. Both Gregory of Nysssa and Augustine discuss the suffering and death of small children in relation to the idea of God’s righteousness. Their approaches to this question and the answers they offer may differ, but the very fact that these patristic writers devoted specific attention to the suffering of babies, and related this topic to fundamental characteristics of God’s own being, demonstrates that they thought the lives and fates of small children a matter worthy of their concern.
- Bender, Lauretta (Date unstated). Testimony of Dr. Lauretta Bender, Senior Psychiatrist, Belleveu Hospital Newy York, N.Y. [unsourced/unverified transcript]. Work unknown. [The context and precise nature of this testimony-type content are unknown.]
- Linton, Ralph (July 1925). "Marquesan Culture". American Anthropologist 27 (3).
- Lisyansky, Yuri (1814). A Voyage Round the World: In the Years 1803, 4, 5, & 6. Bibliotheca Australiana. London, UK: John Booth. p. 67 [May 1804]. Retrieved on November 29, 2019.
- Mason, Mike (2001). The Mystery of Children. Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook Press. p. 27.
- This version of the quote is cited by classicist W.L. Newman, in response to a portion of Aristotle's Politics. Translating a portion of Aristotle's Greek, Newman writes
Newman, W.L. (1902). The Politics of Aristotle: With an Introduction, Two Prefactory Essays and Notes Critical and Explanatory. III [Two Essays; Books III, IV, and V—Text and Notes]. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press. p. 495, see also Newman, W.L. (2010). The Politics of Aristotle: With an Introduction, Two Prefactory Essays and Notes Critical and Explanatory. Cambridge Library Collection. III [Two Essays; Books III, IV, and V—Text and Notes]. Cambridge , UK: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511707988. ISBN 9780511707988.
'for whatever we first have to do with, we like better than anything else,' so that if iambi and comedy are witnessed in youth, they will be among the things liked best. Aristotle has before him Plato Rep. 378 D... [extensive quoting of that Greek]. Compare Hor. Epist. I. 2. 69 and familiar sayings like 'on revient toujours à ses premiers amours' [one returns always to his first loves] and 'the child is the father of the man.' [He continues, quoting:] 'The Jesuits used to say, "Give me a child till he is seven years old, and I will make him what no one will unmake"' [citing] (Miss E. Welldon in the Cheltenham Ladies' College Magazine [ca. 1861], No. 18, p. 179). We may also explain in this way the tendency of men, as they grow old, to become 'laudatores temporis acti.' [praisers of time past]...
- Richardson, Janice ; Elizabeth Milovidov & Roger Blamire (2017). Bullying: Perspectives, Practice and Insights. Strasbourg, France: Council of Europe. p. 157. ISBN 9789287184573. "Aristotle is credited with having said 'Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man', an adage that was later taken up by Frances Xavier, becoming a central pillar of Jesuit education."
- See Newman (1902), op. cit.
- Francis Xavier was a companion of Ignatius of Loyola, and among the original seven Jesuits taking vows of poverty and chastity with him in 1534, at wikipedia:Montmartre. See Attwater, Donald (1981). A Dictionary of Saints. Middlesex, England: Penguin Books. p. 141.
- Child marriage
- Children and adolescents in Pakistan
- Children and adolescents in the United States
- Death of children
- Minor (law)