Thursday, April 7, 2011
the mistaken charm of immaturity...
"It is the inspiration in humanity of a life which abolishes all pride, merit, and distinction, revealing its own glory through man. The redemption into this divine life is, in this sphere of our consciousness, the object of faith and hope, not of fruition. This life is hidden in God, and by faith in it, and hope of it, we live'the natural life out to its end, whereever in space and time that end may be.
Consequently upon the exclusive belief in the natural order of thought and experience, which is the belief of the most prominent thinkers of the present age, are our views concerning the treatment and education of childhood.
Believers in the divineness of natural goodness, and looking upon children as morally innocent, we have exaggerated their innocence into sanctity, and have mistaken the charm of their immaturity for the beauty of holiness.
Our loving-kindness to them is cruelty. Instead of being instructed and subjected, childhood is consulted as authority, and respected as example. It is so entirely trusted that it is left unguarded, — so revered that it languishes unguided. For the same reason and under the same social surroundings, age is pushed aside as effete and useless. Youth despises it, because it has no future, — disregards its wisdom as obsolete — and in its broader and advancing generalizations, includes, as Dr. Holmes says, its own father.
For result we have childhood and youth, keen to perceive and eager to act, but neither self-distrustful, deferent, nor dependent. Age, dismantled of the glory and mystery of a new birth and nascent destiny, grasps backward at the fast receding merits of the natural order, as it finds itself without dignity or authority in a world where no longer is held sacred the crown of thorns, but of value only is the jubilant step and incisive will.
Childhood is overestimated and age is undervalued. Thus the increase in society of childish characteristics, superficiality, unreason, and love of pleasure."
Posted by slt at 7:20 AM