"What a difference it makes to come home to a child!"
"Children begin by loving their parents;
as they grow older they judge them sometimes they forgive them."
Oscar Wilde '
"There is a profound significance in the Chinese proverb: 'Bring up
your child well-thus you will know how much you owe your parents.
:"The best Muslim house is that in which is an orphan. Who is benefited; and the worst Muslim house is that in which is an orphan ill-treated."
Muhammed (Sayings of Muhammed)
"There was a time when we expected nothing of children but obedience,
as opposed to
the present, when we expect everything of them but obedience."
"I feel compelled to speak out in defense of mothers , not only in defense, but also in celebration of mothers. I haven't quite figured out what it is that is so boring and frustrating about this particular profession. Profession, after all, means literally, to avow, to affirm, to have faith in, to believe. What is a mother but one who specializes in affirming the existence of another, one who consistently reminds another that everything is o.k. Soon you start believing it, and begin to ask yourself why there is so much in the way of your own self-affirmation. You begin to be come a better person. And you begin the most significant journey any human being can undertake; to be perfect, to realize oneself, to become one with God. to realize in fact that you are God.
(Peggy 0 ' Mara McMahon-Mothering Vol VII ,
Spring 78 Box 2046 Albuquerque N.M. )
"My niece, who is six years old, is called "Miss Tortoise;"
My daughter of three, little "Summer Dress."
is beginning to learn to joke and talk
The other can already recite poems and songs.
At morning they play clinging about my feet;
at night they sleep pillowed against my dress.
Why, children, did you reach the world so late,
coming to me just when my years are spent?
Young things draw our feelings to them
Old people easily give their hearts.
The sweetest vintage at last turns sour;
The full moon in the end begins to wane.
And so with men the bonds of love and affection soon may change
to a lead of sorrow and care,
But all the world is bound by love's ties
Why did I think that I alone should escape?"
-Po Chung, Tang Dynasty
"If Eckhart is correct when he declares that "We are all meant to
be Mothers of God, " then
it follows that we are all meant to be mothers. "
"The joys of parents are secret; and so are their grief's and fears. They cannot utter the one, nor they will not utter the other. Children sweeten labors, but they make misfortunes more bitter! They increase the cares of life, but they mitigate the remembrance of death. The perpetuity by generation is common to beasts, but memory, merit, and noble works are proper to men. And surely a man shall see the noblest works and foundations have proceeded from childless men, which have sought to express the images of their minds, where those of their bodies have failed. So the care of posterity is most in them that have no posterity."
Francis Bacon essay Of Parents and Children
'One has to create a family for oneself. No one gets one
ready-made. Marital rights have to be earned...It takes
love and it takes work to create a family, And couples must
learn how to do it."
"Some people are your relatives but others are your ancestors, and you choose the ones you want to have as ancestors. You create yourself out of those values."
"There is little less trouble in governing a private family than a whole kingdom."
-Michel De Montaigne
"The family is the only consistently subversive organism, dividing society and putting private before communal good, and consequently it has always aroused the hostility of intellectuals and nominal subversives-Utopians, feminists, hippies, Jesus, Marx, Lenin, Mao, Hitler-everyone in fact, who wants to control and change the way people live."
John Carey, (reviewing The Subversive Family, Sunday Times, 18.7.82
"Families are all mysterious. We have only to imagine how differently we would be described-and will be, after our deaths- by each of the family members who believe they know us."
"Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered by anybody to the country and to mankind is to bring up a family."
-George Bernard Shaw
"The biological family isn't the only important unit in society; we have needs and longings that our families cannot meet. Indeed, in some cultures, community is more important than the family."
"Children are cruel, ruthless, cunning and almost incredibly self-centered. Far from cementing a marriage children frequently disrupt it. Child-rearing is on the whole an expensive and unrewarding bore, in which more has to be invested, both materially and spiritually, than ever comes out in dividends."
Being Born is important.
You have stood at the bedposts
and seen a mother on her high harvest day,
The day of the most golden of harvest moons for her.
You who have seen the new wet child
dried behind the ears,
swaddled in soft fresh garments,
pursing its lips and sending a groping mouth
toward the nipples when milk is ready-
You who have seen the love's payday
of wild toil and sweet agonizing-
You know being born is important.
You know nothing else was ever so important to you.
You understand the payday of love so old,
So involved, so traced with circles of the moon,
So cunning With the secrets of the salts of the blood-
It must be older than the moon, older than salt."
'The sheer pleasure of the feeling of a born baby on one's thighs is like nothing on earth.
"Respect the child. Be not too much his parent, Trespass not on his solitude."
"The first half of our life is ruined by our parents and the second half by our children."
"Home is where you go back to when you have nothing better to do."
"Families are nothing other than the idolatry of duty."
"Everyone’s parent is only a fantasy finally, neither as magical as, forgive me, you are, nor as prosaic. It is the image one has created in the head that one is fighting. Not the real parents at all."
"If you spend time surveying your own experiences with your child, really looking closely and being open-minded about it, you might have the surprise of your life. You might discover that the parent-child relationship widens to incomprehensible boundaries."
Dr. Berthold Eric Schwarz
"A Mother is a mother still, the holiest thing alive."
"Raising children is an uncertain thing; success is reached only after a life of battle and worry."
Democritus (470 B.C)
"The most serious and difficult of human sciences is the rearing of children. It is simple enough to beget them; but once you have them, then the cares, troubles and anxieties begin."
"Deceive not thyself by over-expecting happiness in the married state….Make account of certain cares and troubles which will attend thee. Remember the nightingales, which sing only some months in the spring, but commonly are silent when they have hatched their eggs, as if their mirth were turned to care for their young ones."
Thomas Fuller (1608-1661)
"When we are born, we cry that we are come
to this great stage of fools…."
"Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment, and especially on their children, than the unlived life of the parents."
"There comes a time in every young life when the burden of parental wisdom is simply intolerable."
"Before I was married I had three theories about raising children. Now I have three children and no theories."
John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
"Parents are not interested in justice, they are interested in quiet."
"In order to influence a child, one must be careful not to be that Child’s parent or grandparent."
Don Marquise (1878-1937)
"Newton’s discovery of the law of falling bodies is all very fine, but that doesn’t mean that a mother’s discovery of how to hold her baby isn’t important too."
Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
"There may be some doubt as to who are the best people to have charge of children, but there can be no doubt that parents are the worst."
George Bernard Shaw
"To be a parent is almost to be a fatalist."
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
"….there appears to an inverse relationship between our growing obsession with the home a totem object and the disintegration of families that has become the chief social phenomenon of our time. We worship this idealized container for family life, and yet it turns out that the family cannot be sustained without the larger container of community life. Husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters cannot be all things to each other."
James Howard Kunstler
Home From Nowhere
"Every generation is a secret society and has incommunicable enthusiasms, tastes, and interests which are a mystery both to its predecessors and to posterity."
John Jay Chapman
"The most important thing that parents can teach their children is how to get along without them."
"It is….sometimes easier to head an institute for the study of child guidance than it is to turn one brat into a decent human being."
Joseph Wood Krutch
"To make the child in your own image is a capital crime, for your image is not worth repeating. The child knows this and you know it, consequently you hate each other.."
"The mealy look of men today is the result of momism and so is the pinched and baffled fury in the eyes of womankind."
Generation of Vipers
"As a parent you just hang on for the ride."
"Parents may be fairly criticized for anything, with one exception-their children’s behaviour."
"Pretty much all the honest truth telling there is in the world is done by children."
Samuel Hoffenstein (1870-1947)
"Your children make it impossible to regret your past. They’re its finest fruits."
"A child seems to be full of all vices-greedy, argumentative, fanciful, cheeky, rebellious, inquisitive, uncontrollable-but he is the most perfect of all….."
Charles Fourier (1772-1837)
"Parenthood, which used to be a triumphant exercise of power, has become timid, anxious, and filled with conscientious doubts."
"When children appear, we justify all our weaknesses, compromises, snobberies, by saying: "It’s for the children’s sake."
"When one makes children unhappy, one is a criminal and runs the risk of killing them, when one makes them happy, one does right, but on runs the risk of making them silly, presumptuous, and insolent."
"Far from being the basis of the good society, the family with its narrow privacy and tawdry secrets, is the source of all discontents."
Edmund Leach (British Anthropologist)
Far from being a primitive form of organization ,the family is a very late product of human evolution.
"If I could get to the highest place in Athens, I would lift up my voice and say; "What mean ye, fellow citizens, that ye turn every stone to scrape wealth together, and take so little care of your children, to whom ye must one day relinquish all?"
"The hatred of relatives is the most violent."
"There’s plenty of peace in any home where the family don’t make the mistake of trying to get together."
"it is easier to rule a kingdom than to regulate a family."
"The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother."
"Are we disheartened by the breakup of the family? Nobody who ever met my family is."
P.J. O’ Rourke
"One of the things a man has to learn to fight most bitterly is the influence of those who love him."
"Of all the institutions that have come down to us from the past none is in the present day so disorganized and derailed as the family. Affections of parents for children and of children for parents is capable of being one of the greatest sources of happiness, but in fact at the present day the relations of parents and children are, in nine cases out of ten, a source of unhappiness, to at least one of the two parties, and in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred a source of unhappiness, to at least one of the two parties. This failure of the family to provide the fundamental satisfactions which in principle it is capable of yielding is one of the most deep-seated causes of the discontent which is prevalent in our age."
The Conquest of Happiness
"Parenthood, which used to be a triumphant exercise of power, has become timid, anxious, and filled with conscientious doubts."
"No matter how many communes anybody invents, the family always creeps back."
Margaret Mead (1901-1978)
"Can we today measure devotion to husband and children by our indifference to everything else."
Golda Meir (1898-1978)
"Home life as we understand it is no more natural to us than a cage is natural to a cockatoo."
"Children are aliens, and we treat them as such."
"The family is a good institution because it is uncongenial. The men and women who for good reasons and bad, revolt against the family, are, for good reasons and bad, revolting against mankind. Aunt Elizabeth is unreasonable like mankind. Papa is excitable, like mankind. Our younger brother is mischievous, like mankind, Grandpa is stupid, like the world; he is old, like the world."
"I believe that more unhappiness comes from this source than from any other-I mean from the attempt to prolong family connections unduly and to make people hang together artificially who would never naturally do so."
"I think the family is the place where the most ridiculous and least respectable things in the world go on."
"Happy or unhappy families are all mysterious."
"Sacred family!….the supposed home of all the virtues where innocent children are tortured into their first falsehoods, where wills are broken by parental tyranny, and self-respect smothered by crowded, jostling egos."
The Son of a Servant (1866)
"The family! Home of all social evils, a Charitable institution for indolent women, a prison work shop for the slaving breadwinner, and a hell for children."
"The family in the West is finished…..its origin was economic, not biological…..the odd group of strangers that make up every family no longer have any reason to live together, to suffer from one anothers jagged edges."
Rocking the Boat
See article: "Holding parents accountable for Children…Christian Science Monitor…Thurs,April 29,1999
"In America the family, if one takes the word in its Roman and aristocratic sense, no longer exists. One only finds scattered traces thereof in the first years following the birth of children. The father then does, without opposition, exercise the domestic dictatorship which his sons' weakness makes necessary and which is justified by both their weakness and his unquestionable superiority.
But as soon as the young American begins to approach man's estate, the reins of filial obedience are daily slackened. Master of his thoughts, he soon becomes responsible for his own behavior. In America there is in truth no adolescence. At the close of boyhood he is a man and begins to trace his own path.
It would be wrong to suppose that this results from some sort of domestic struggle, in which, by some kind of moral violence, the son had won the freedom which his father refused. The same habits and principles which lead the former to grasp at independence dispose the latter to consider its enjoyment as an incontestable right.
So in the former one sees none of those hateful, disorderly passions which disturb men long after they have shaken off an established yoke. The latter feels none of those bitter, angry regrets which usually accompany fallen power. The father has long anticipated the moment when his authority must come to an end, and when that time does come near, he abdicates without fuss. The son has known in advance exactly when he will be his own master and wins his liberty without haste or effort, as a possession which is his due and which no one seeks to snatch from him."
Alexis de Tocqueville
Democracy in America
"….Americans at the end of the twentieth century live in the wealthiest society in the history of humanity, at a time when the economy is booming, when we have more than we’ve ever had before, and yet our children seem to be the most damaged and disturbed generation the country has ever produced.’
"People are not willing to treat children as human beings. They treat them as property, or as toy walking dolls, and they feel that they have a right to use their own property, or plaything, as they see fit. At one time it was legal and right for a father to put his child to death. At another time, and for many thousands of years, it was lawful for a father to sell his child into slavery. In our own times, it is lawful for a parent to take from a child all his earnings, if he works, and in many states a father may compel a child to go to work and to turn over his wages to himself. Everywhere, parents still have the right to control the minds of their children, to dictate what they shall think, how they shall talk, and what they shall eat and how they shall be dressed, and how long they shall sleep. The fact that some parents are too intelligent to exercise their lawful rights is the only thing which prevents all children from being slavers to the grown-up people of the world. The fact that most children are still slaves to their parents is one great reason why most men are slaves to their employers."
Queen Silver (The Rights of Children)
Book: "Confessions of a Slacker Mom" by Muffy Mead-Ferro
Book: "Cheap Psychological Tricks For Parents" by Perry W. Buffington
Book: "From Here To Maternity: The Education of a Rookie Mom" by Beth Teitell
A boy’s life…Rolling Stone, Oct 1, 1998
Book: "A Life's Work: On Becoming A Mother" by Rachel Cusk
Book: "Love, Laughter, and Parenting: in the years from birth to Six" by Steve & Sharon Biddulph
Book: "Home-Alone America: The Hidden Toll of Day Care, Behavioral Drugs, and Other Parent Substitutes" by Mary Eberstadt
Book: "Maternal Desire: On Children, Love, and the Inner Life" by Daphne de Marneffe
Book: "Should Parents Be Licensed?" by Peg Tittle
Book: "Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture" by Juliet B. Schor
Book: "Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood" by Steven Mintz
Book: "The Quotable Mom". Ed. by Kate Rowinski
Book: "The assault on Parenthood" by Dana Mack
Book: "Material World: A Global Family Portrait" (Sierra Club books)
Book: "Halving It All: How Equally Shared Parenting Works" by Francine M. Deutsch
Book: "The Mother Dance: How Children Change Your Life" by Harriet Lerner, Ph.D.
Book: "Raising America: Experts, Parents, and a Century of Advice About Children" by Ann Hulbert
Book: "Yesterday's Children: The Antiques and History of Childcare" by Sally Kevill-DAvies
Book: "Making Babies: Is There a Right to Have Children?" by Mary Warnock
Back to Chrestomathy Next Page