PAM: Hi everyone! I’m Pam Laricchia from livingjoyfully.ca, and today, I’m here with Emma Marie Forde. Hi, Emma!
EMMA: Hi, Pam!
PAM: It’s so nice to have you back for another book chat episode!
This time, Emma and I wanted to dive into the concept of childism. We started our foray with the book, Childism: Confronting Prejudice Against Children, by Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, published in 2012. The challenge became, while it was interesting reading, it was very US-centric and quite focused on child abuse and neglect. She makes great points about how the institutional response to those problems in the 1960s—which persist to this day—have been very harmful to children. She digs into the psychological roots of the destructive attitudes toward children so much of society holds, seeking to prove that prejudice against children exists.
Which again, was really interesting, but as listeners of this podcast, I think it’s safe to say that you don’t need to be convinced that prejudice against children exists. What Emma and I are looking to discuss is more about how it applies in our unschooling lives today.
So, Emma suggested we add John Holt’s book, Escape from Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children, to the mix. Written in 1974, he doesn’t use the term “childism” itself, but in discussing the needs and rights of children he points out many of the prejudices against—or destructive attitudes toward—children and discusses ways we can instead welcome them into our adult lives. In the end, we decided that Escape from Childhood was a better book around which to frame our conversation today.
So, with that bit done, here’s the basic premise of the book, taken from the book description: “Under the guise of care and protection, children are kept in the walled garden of childhood, outside the world of human experience, for longer periods than ever before in human history. But for many children and parents, the walled garden of childhood is more like a prison, where authorities compel and limit personal actions.”
In the preface, John Holt writes, “The future does not exist. It has not been made. It is made only as we make it. The question we should be asking ourselves is what sort of future do we want. Part of my answer to that question is what I have written about in this book.”
The first half of the book looks at the bigger picture, where Holt talks about the problem and institution of childhood, the family and its purpose, the competence of children etc. And in the second half of the book, he dives into ten rights he would like to see children gain and clearly explains his perspective and reasoning: the right to vote, to work, to own property, to travel, to choose one’s guardian, to a guaranteed income, legal and financial responsibility, to control one’s learning, to use drugs, and to drive.
It’s very interesting reading, and Emma and I have each picked a couple of things we’d like to chat about.
Would you like to get us started, Emma?
EMMA: Yeah sure. I really enjoyed reading the book. I think it does connect well with Elizabeth’s book on childism.
The first thing I was picking up on was when John talks in chapter 2—it’s called the “Institution of Childhood”—about how the idea of childhood in childhood itself is really socially constructed.
I’ll just read a quote that comes from that chapter. John says:
“In short, by the institution of childhood I mean all those attitudes and feelings, and also customs and laws, that put a great gulf or barrier between the young and their elders, and the world of their elders; that make it difficult or impossible for young people to make contact with the larger society around them, and even more, to play any kind of active, responsible, useful part in it; that lock the young into eighteen years or more of subserviency and dependency, and make them, as I said before, a mixture of expensive nuisance, fragile treasure, slave, and super-pet.”
I thought that was really strong quote and possibly, for some, quite controversial.
But I thought he really picks up on some of those issues that Elizabeth talks about in terms of the institution of childhood itself. How it serves to divide us—we see it as us and them; as us a community but they’re separated off.
And that makes it possible for us to see them in a different way and to treat them differently. To create a different context for them, like school, and to project some of our own unresolved conflicts and difficulties that we might have, which is what Elizabeth talks about in childism.
Whereas if we didn’t have that artificial separation many of these difficulties wouldn’t arise in quite the same way. John talks in the first few chapters of the book that we didn’t always have this notion of the child. It’s like a construct that has developed since the 17th century and through the Industrial Revolution that made it possible for families to work and do different things, but it hasn’t always been the case.
PAM: Yeah, when you look deeper into how we relate to children now you can completely see how it’s been socially constructed—it’s not an innate need for a child’s development. Yes, support and love and a relationship with a parent but that whole construction or institution—I love that word institution around childhood that has developed, along, with it seems, the need of the parents to separate more from family through the Industrial Revolution to where we are now and how we’ve Incorporated work into our lives. How all that has created a need for us to separate more physically from our children. This whole institution that’s grown around that to almost make that more acceptable. To frame it socially, like, ‘this is the way it needs to be for the children,’ but no, it’s more developed from a need from I guess, society as a whole, the way our society has developed.
EMMA: It creates problems for children.
They don’t have as many choices as a result of how we conceptualize childhood, something which he is advocating throughout the book. He’s very much about having choices, and being more empowered to make those choices which is something as unschoolers we focus on. Primarily we focus on nurturing the relationships with our children but within that is the providing them with meaningful choices and our children being able to have an impact on their everyday lives and their relationships with us which sometimes the notion of childhood or the institution of childhood could take away.
A bit further on he mentions the rights he proposes. What I liked is another quote:
“I do not want to destroy their garden or kick them out of it. If they like it, by all means let them stay in it. But I believe most young people, at earlier and earlier ages, begin to experience childhood not as a garden but as a prison. What I want to do is put a gate, or gates, in the wall of the garden, so that those who find it no longer protective or helpful, but instead confining and humiliating, can move out of it and for a while try living in a larger space. If that proves too much for them, they can always come back into the garden. Indeed, perhaps we all ought to have walled gardens and take refuge in when we feel we must.”
PAM: I love that quote and I got goosebumps again when you read it because that is so much what we talk about when we’re supporting our children: we’re not choosing for them whether or not they should be in the garden or out outside to use that metaphor.
When you look around today at conventional society and what childhood looks like, it’s so small for them now. Not only do they have so little choice, they have so little contact with people outside their little space: their family and their school and that’s all they have time for. And even when you think about the adults that they manage to connect with over time, all the adults really have a second-class citizen’ look on children. It’s not an easy-going, natural, supportive, respectful relationship between a child and an adult. So, maybe a sports coach, teacher—you have to work really hard to find someone in one of those positions who is truly respectful and connecting with the child on an equal level. Not equal as in experience, but who truly listens to them and considers what they say rather than just trying to tell them what to do. There’s just so little of that.
And I love the idea that, in his metaphor, it’s not about knocking down the wall and making everybody fend for themselves. It is about creating—like we do in our unschooling families—those connected and engaged relationships so that our children feel safe and cared for and loved but using that to help them step out into the world as far as they would like to.
I loved his point about get out there and explore and finding it’s not something that fits with you then come back without any repercussions or judgment or anything like that. I love the idea of that safe space for anybody. That’s one of the big things throughout the book that he mentions over and over when he’s talking about children is like we’re talking about stuff that’s useful and helpful for the lives of anybody, adult included. That’s one of his really big focuses and that was something that I really loved.
When I read that quote that you shared I thought that was an awesome way to use that metaphor to talk about how we and our children engage with the world.
Well, okay let’s move on to one of the points I wanted to share which was from chapter four which is called, “The family and its purpose.”
There were a couple of great quotes I wanted to highlight:
“At its very best, the family can be what many people say it is, an island of acceptance and love in the midst of a harsh world. But too often within the family people take out on each other all the pain and frustrations of their lives that they don’t dare take out on anyone else.”
And a bit later he wrote:
“They need love, stability, consistent and unequivocal care and lasting relationships with people who are profoundly enough interested in them to look after them with warmth, gaiety, and patience. This notion that a child cannot grow up healthy unless he is at every moment under the eye of some adult who has nothing to do but watch over him is very modern.”
I love reminding myself that this was written around 1974 because even today that has grown even more—that fear, that need to protect children from some nebulous something. That we need to watch over them, they can’t walk to the park, they can’t walk to school, they can’t do any of this—just thinking of children as so incapable of doing things.
I like the points around how the nuclear family has been getting smaller, resulting in the circle of adults that children are in contact with getting smaller. When you look at it from the family perspective, which he is doing in this chapter, this puts greater pressure on parent-child relationships, making them feel more intense, like there’s a lot at stake because there is so few adults that our children are connecting with.
And that reminded me of our chat about the attachment parenting book where he mentioned that our actions don’t have the desired results 50% of the time–and it’s all about the REconnecting after. That came up when he talked about how it feels like there’s a lot at stake and our relationships are more intense.
We have so much fear wrapped up in creating an “ideal” relationship that we can feel scared to do anything. We shy away because we’re scared that we might knock it off balance when things are going well—we went to really just keep it and care for it.
That actually gets in the way of a solid connecting relationship because you’re avoiding connection and remembering that half the time you make a half a step in the wrong direction and need to adjust. It goes back to the metaphor of the dance of the relationships. I think John nailed it in this sentence, which, again, he wrote more than 40 years ago: “Many parents find it hard to say no to their children even though they say it much too often, because it seems to threaten their ideal relationship with the child.”
In unschooling circles, we spend a lot of time talking about how to build strong, connected, trusting, resilient relationships with our children. Those relationships are vital so that when we’re in conversation with our children, they know our comments and questions are truly about the topic in question, not subtle judgements of them as a person—they don’t take things personally. And we don’t take things personally.
John wrote, “The no is a thing of the moment, connected only with the act of the moment. It is not part of a larger yes or no about her as a person. So she takes the no for what it is, and life moves on.” He was talking about an example he shared where a ‘no’ came up.
It’s just so fascinating to see the things we talk about and work on on our unschooling journey today, to be able to see them through this new perspective—it makes them feel all the more vital and important. Even when you’re looking at the bigger picture of childhood and the institution of childhood and family and how we can actively live today.
I just thought that was really cool to see how well it meshed with the things that he was talking about back then.
EMMA: The listeners probably know quite a bit about John Holt already because he’s sort of one of the founders of unschooling and a big unschooling advocate.
I like his work as well because I feel he did prioritize and thought about the relationship between adults and children and the emotional connection in terms of their learning and how important that was and how children needed to feel safe and secure and loved and cared for before they felt ready to learn.
He has some lovely descriptions of his work with children, how they would cuddle up to him and they would read together. When I was reading this chapter, I was thinking, ‘My gosh, he’s really negative about the family.’ But then I was thinking where that came from, in terms of his own experience.
I haven’t read his biography but I’m quite interested in doing that. He does mention that the family can be a source of nurturing and support but it can also be a source of conflict. I know in my own work that I have been doing with families that children can be traumatized by their parents or caregivers and that can have long-lasting impact throughout their lives.
I don’t know if you’re familiar with R.D. Laing who did some work in the 60s and he wrote a book called Sanity, Madness and the Family which explored how these close relationships in the nuclear family can end up being quite destructive. I thought John was picking up on the fact that the family isn’t always the ideal environment and giving children more choices and options to move away from that when they’re ready which is actually a positive thing.
PAM: One thing I reminded myself when I was reading this chapter was that this book is not unschooling focused. He is opening up to the broader idea of childhood. I’ve seen that in action in a lot of families—even with unschooling families you can’t say that our relationships are perfect. Back to that 50%. So many of us, certainly at the beginning of our unschooling journeys, are still learning about how to be in a relationship with another person—with our child is our motivation—but we learn about relationships in general through that. That is a lot of work that we do up front because we haven’t learned how to release the intensity that we bring to relationships, to release the power that’s involved and the judgment through people’s choices and actions so, it is a lot of work, and people who are newer to schooling are still learning that.
Some people jump in and think that unschooling it’s just a free-for-all at first and don’t realize yet that they have that relationship work to do. Things will still get more out-of-control until they reach a point where they hit that a-ha moment, ‘I need to do something about this. I need to figure this out.’
I had to admit right there when I was reading it that, ‘Yes, this is a possibility,’ and for children there are times and families in which those aren’t healthy relationships and that it’s great and important for them to have an extended family—other adults and places that they can go and have healthier or less pressure cooker kind of relationships. I thought that was interesting.
EMMA: I think the work we do as parents is an ongoing thing, however long we have been unschoolers. Our children change at different points and our relationship is evolving.
I know you interviewed Teresa Graham Brett a while ago and she has written a great book called Parenting for Social Change. She’s also got some articles on her website that talk about adultism so she’s coming at this from a slightly different perspective but looking at how as adults we have our own adult prejudices towards children. She focuses on the balance and power that is inherently there between adults and children.
As unschoolers, hopefully we are mindful of that and we try to address that balance. We try to enable children to have choices. As you mentioned, we try to do work on ourselves to avoid projecting onto our children some of our own past or conflicts insecurities. Teresa really covers this in her book really well, delving into that a bit more deeply. How we are all very vulnerable to that—it’s an ongoing process. The more aware of it, the better.
PAM: I love that because that is one of the things you figure out on your journey. ‘Oh! This isn’t something I’m going to figure out in finally get right and then can finally relax the rest of my life! I got the A, and I’m good! Haha!’
It’s something you realize along the way, that this is life, this is connecting and engaging with people in this moment, making my choices and seeing how things go and with each interaction and each experience you learn a little bit more. Like you said, not only are our children growing and changing, so are we. There’s never one static answer that is going to apply forever. So that’s a great point.
And yes, I love Teresa’s book. I’ll be sure to put a link in the show notes. I think that’s a great book for helping us to work through a lot of what we have learned in our lives about relationships up to that point. We learn what we’re engaged in and, depending on the family environment that we grew up in, those are the tools and the things that we know when we get started with our own kids.
Okay! I’m going to do the next point because I like to do these in chapter order.
The second piece I want to talk about is something I thought was so interesting from chapter 12. The title is, “Seeing Children as Cute.” This chapter has been excerpted and published, with permission, on Jan Hunt’s website, The Natural Child Project—I’ll put a link in the show notes. And I spoke with her on the podcast a couple of months ago.
What John Holt means is, we should try to get out of the habit of seeing children as cute. That our response to a child is authentic when we are responding to qualities in the child that are not only real but valuable human qualities that we would be glad to find in someone of any age.
I mentioned earlier how he is always coming back to this, that these are values about being human, not childish and adult things. We’re talking about human qualities. Here’s the quote I want to share:
“Children tend to be, among other things, healthy, energetic, quick, vital, vivacious, enthusiastic, resourceful, intelligent, intense, passionate, hopeful, trustful, and forgiving-they get very angry but do not, like us, bear grudges for long. Above all, they have a great capacity for delight, joy, and sorrow. But we should not think of these qualities or virtues as “childish,” the exclusive property of children. They are human qualities. We are wise to value them in people of all ages. When we think of these qualities as childish, belonging only to children, we invalidate them, make them seem things we should “outgrow” as we grow older. Thus we excuse ourselves for carelessly losing what we should have done our best to keep. Worse yet, we teach the children this lesson: most of the bright and successful ten-year-olds I have known, though they still kept the curiosity of their younger years, had learned to be ashamed of it and hide it. Only “little kids” went around all the time asking silly questions. To be grown-up was to be cool, impassive, unconcerned, untouched, invulnerable.”
When I talk about our unschooling journeys, I often mention how our children can be our very helpful guides—and it’s for exactly this reason: these are wonderful human qualities that we have lost, that we have learned to keep hidden, that we see in our children. So much of our unschooling journey is about excavating these traits so we can once again fully engage with our lives.
I have some examples he shared, just to talk through.
The first one was when a child is crying. Many people will pass it off, feeling almost sentimental, saying, “awww” and maybe smile and reaction and for others it almost strikes them as funny. But there is nothing funny about a child crying. As he points out a small child does not cry for trivial reasons but out of need, fear, or pain.
Another example is when our thoughts are clouded by the “innocence of children.” Keeping them in that garden. When a child doesn’t know how to do something, we often see their ignorance is as endearing or cute. Imagine you are watching a child try to figure something out and they don’t quite know how to put it together.
We can look at them and say, “Aww, look at them trying to figure that out, that is so cute.” We may smile at their confusion, but you know how we talked about seeing situations from the child’s perspective? That’s not how they are experiencing that moment. They don’t feel cute.
That’s a great thing to ask yourself when you think, ‘that’s cute’: Do they feel cute?
They most likely want to learn how to do that thing and as I’ve talked about before, that doesn’t mean us jumping in and to save them. I love how John explains it “they want to escape their ignorance, they want to know what’s going on and we should be glad to help them escape it if they ask us and if we can.” Again, those are the points. Following their lead. Maybe they are deep in the flow and they are figuring a lot of stuff out as they try all sorts of different options, so not jumping in and taking over that learning for them but being available to help them the minute they look up and they want somebody to help them figure out the next step.
I love the point that innocence and ignorance are not the same thing. He writes “by the innocence of children we mean something more: their hopefulness, truthfulness, confidence, they’re feeling that the world is open to them that life has many possibilities. That what they don’t know they can find out and what they can’t do they can learn to do.”
I think there was one other example—when they’re in the flow. It’s the same kind of idea, but when you look at it from their perspective, even though it looks cute when they are really accomplished at doing something and they are actively doing it—whether it’s playing the violin or playing video games or any activity; coloring, art whatever it is maybe that they are passionate about. We often think, ‘How cute, look at them.’
But again, they are not trying to be cute; they don’t want to be seen as cute. They aren’t doing the thing for any outside approval or judgment at all. So, don’t try to turn your child into an actor in your show. Leave them alone to get on with their work.
I wanted to pull out that last bit because I think it’s so important to consider. Don’t try to turn them into an actor in your show. And this ties back to the intensity of our relationships with our children. Be careful not to make our relationships with our children all about ourselves. I think it’s something worth checking in with ourself once in awhile on, whether we are seeing our children through how they reflect on us rather than seeing them as separate entities in their own right.
And that’s the difference I mean when I talk about seeing things from our child’s perspective—through their eyes to help them process things and make the choices that work well for them. It’s not about us at all.
And I wanted to bring something from the Childism book that stood out for me and connects to this as well, Elisabeth Young-Bruehl wrote, “And this form of prejudice is something many children experience: they discover that to their parents they are all about their parents.”
Think about that. They begin to think their actions are all about their parents. ‘What does this mean to me? How does this impact me?’ If our first reaction to our child’s choices is often, “What does their action say about me?” that’s a good clue that we may not be giving them the space to be themselves.
I thought that was really cool how something as innocuous as just thinking “Aww, that’s so cute. Children are cute.” can be an interesting clue to something so important: that we are not really giving them their own space and really allowing them to be their own person. Even though we’re trying to support them and want to help them, we’re still judging everything they do through our lens.
That is a prejudice against them because they are smart, they’re capable. They figure this out and now they have to consider our perspective inside every choice that they do get to make and then it’s not their choice any more. They’re not really learning about themselves any more; they’re learning about themselves only within the framework of us.
EMMA: I think it’s a very important point and it’s something very easy to slip into, not seeing the individual qualities of a child.
It reminded me of a quote that you have probably heard and that is by Sandra. Where she says, “If your child is more important than the vision of your child, life becomes easier.”
When we see them as cute, or that they are there to please us, we’re not actually seeing them, or their real qualities, and we are missing out on so much in terms of being able to connect with them. When we have any kind of lens it does influence that fact. You mentioned Elizabeth Young-Bruehl. In her book, she talks about how prejudice operates. That we dehumanize them and so we’re not actually looking at them with the real qualities they have. That objectifying process enables us to treat them differently.
PAM: That’s this whole challenge of the institution of childhood as he talks about, that’s just another layer of stuff between us that makes it harder for us to connect with them and to really see things from their perspective. We’re just so used to seeing it from our own perspective. That’s fine and there’s nothing wrong with it, that is our perspective but when we’re in a relationship and trying to help and support our child growing up we also need to be able to truly release our framework, throw away that lens and also be able to see through their lens. Not belittle them, not think that that’s childish, or that that’s cute. All the minimizing we do of what children do, just their day-to-day lives.
EMMA: I think it’s so important and, in a way, it’s one of the reasons why I was interested in unschooling. Not consciously, but he talks quite a bit about children learning through the Suzuki method on the violin. That’s what I did. You learn alongside your parent and you’re playing interesting music right from the beginning and you don’t have to start off learning the scales but instead you’re playing exciting and interesting things.
But just like with anything, it’s how it’s done. When I did it, there was quite a lot of pressure to achieve. I think I felt I didn’t want my children to experience that same type of pressure. So, if they were interested in something, I wanted it to be more about them. Like you talked about, I didn’t want to make it all about me. I wanted their interest to emerge organically rather than it being something that was imposed upon them.
With unschooling it’s more being guided by the child, what they’re interested in, how they want to do it. Not jumping in and taking over, which happened to me. So, I’m quite sensitive to that dynamic.
PAM: I love the that point. It really does come down to the relationships again.
When I think about framework, so often I imagine parents thinking that they have this framework for their children and they can make choices within that, but they have to stay within this framework or boundaries that parents feel are acceptable.
And when I think about our unschooling lives, to me what comes to mind is more like scaffolding, that we’re building underneath them rather than on top of them or into the future. But that scaffolding of support and understanding on which our children—that walled garden where they feel safe and supported, because you mentioned John talks about how you need that environment for learning to happen. Where they feel comfortable and safe enough to be able to just dive into whatever they’re curious about in the moment.
So, I always like to think of that framework more as scaffolding that’s underneath and supportive rather than a framework that we are trying to overlay onto their lives.
Anyway, we should move on! To the last point you want to share.
EMMA: This is taken from the last chapter which John calls “Steps to Take.” I’ll start with the quote that opens this chapter and I think this is on Jan’s website.
“Paul Goodman, in his many talks with young people, used to say that one good way to work for a truly different and better world was to act in their daily lives, as far as they could, as if that world existed. What would you do, he would ask them if the world had become more or less the kind of place you want it to be; how would you live, how would you treat other people? Live that way now, treat them that way now. If something prevents you, try to find out a way to deal with that. We can begin to treat children, even the youngest and smallest, wherever we may find them, as we would want to treat them in the society we are trying to make.”
I really like that because, sometimes, thinking about children’s rights and society’s prejudice against children can feel quite overwhelming. There seems to be so many barriers in the way. For myself, I feel like, ‘How can we move forward?’
I think it’s quite useful to think, ‘Do what you can.’ Like Teresa says about making changes within your own family with your own children and working on yourself. Those are important places to start. John also talks about being courteous to children and extending the same dignity and respect that we do for all adults. Things like, respecting their physical and emotional space.
He’s got a lovely bit in the book about respecting babies and how when you really get to know a baby you know when they want to be picked up and you can notice subtle cues. I like how he is respectful and acknowledges their personhood from an early age. Sometimes I think people just pass a baby around and they don’t even notice that the baby is attached to a particular person or that they may be tired or upset. It’s like the baby becomes the property of the group.
He talks about respecting children’s rights to their property and to their privacy. Also to their internal thoughts and their emotional world. I like the way he’s focused on that and emphasizes how important that is.
PAM: Yes, I love that too. I love the way he talked about the babies. They are people right away! And now so often it’s just about how the baby fits into our lives and that we need to have a stroller and a carrier and taking them all this all these places and making them fit in. And how he talks about how often they’re seen as a bit of a nuisance.
And the quote that you started with is something that we discover with unschooling: how much we can live that life that we envision or want. I found that we could live those relationships that we envisioned with our children now. We can give them that space, like John said, for their emotional lives. Give them that space for pondering and thinking, and give them that privacy, and just be respectful of them as a human being.
When you think about it, with our relationships with our children, those are great ways to be in relationship with all the people that are important to us. It is amazing how you can live that with them and even just be an example of living differently with your children when you’re out and about in the world. I would talk to people—if I chatted with them and we explained our particular situation, sometimes my kids could join things when they were younger than the age stated or stay longer or take more or less of the classes or activities or whatever. There are ways for us to engage in the life that we envision now and, just by doing so, we’re living that out in the world and other people are seeing that.
For me, that’s an interesting piece. When we’re out and about and people see us doing something a little bit differently, conversations come up and I’m kind of all about planting those seeds. Not confrontational about it or putting expectations on other people, but to be able to plant those seeds that this isn’t the only way.
I think that message is getting out there now and I love the people who are more dedicated to confronting those kinds of rules and things etc. But it’s also great to live it out in the world as well. I think the combination of it all is really helpful. I know John’s book was written many, many years ago, but his ideas are on the nose. He even talks about how many of those needs and rights he talks about we can incorporate reasonably well into our lives today.
EMMA: We haven’t mentioned the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was in 1989, which Elizabeth Young-Bruehl sees as a big step for children’s rights. Recognizing on a societal and governmental level that they deserve to have rights and respect in our society. It’s about the individual family and relationship but it’s also it also changes on an institutional level.
PAM: Okay, I have just a little bit of a conclusion that I wanted to share just to bring it all together.
In the book, Holt describes typical situations that showcase how so many of the challenges that children and parents face are rooted in children wanting to grow up and adults wanting to protect them by extending their childhood. And I just wanted to share this quote that I think wonderfully sums that all up:
“Children want to grow up. While they are growing up, they want, some of the time, to be around the kind of adults who like being grown-up and who think of growing up as an exploration and adventure, not the process of being chased out of some Garden of Eden. They do not want to hear older people say, as many people in the alternative school movement so often do, “These are the best years of your life; we are going to save them for you and keep the wicked world from spoiling them.” What could be more discouraging?”
And he continues a bit further along:
“But instead of trying to make sure that all children get only those experiences we think are good for them I would rather make available to children, as to everyone else, the widest possible range of experiences (except those that hurt others) and let them choose those they like best.”
That’s what he wishes for all human beings, regardless of age, and we are right back there again.
I just loved his perspective on that. You could just tell through so many of the examples that he shared that he really enjoyed engaging with the children in his life—understanding things from their perspective, chatting with them, chatting with other adults and I really love the perspective that he brings to this whole discussion.
Do you have any closing comments that you would like to share, Emma?
EMMA: I think you’ve said it. I love that quote.
PAM: Okay! Thank you so much for chatting with me today, Emma. As always, I really enjoyed digging into the ideas with you. It’s amazing with the topics that we dive into, the push and pull of the book, back and forth etc. I really appreciate all the time you put into this with me. Definitely some long email chains!
Before we go, where can people connect with you online?
PAM: I will put links to those in the show notes.
Thanks everybody, have a great day!