We are given children to test us and make us more spiritual.
—George Will (b.1941) American Columnist, Journalist, Writer
How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.
—William Shakespeare (1564–1616) British Playwright
There is no need to waste pity on young girls who are having their moments of disillusionment, for in another moment they will recover their illusion.
—Colette (1873–1954) French Novelist, Performer
A rich child often sits in a poor mother’s lap.
Children are poor men’s riches.
Winning children (who appear so guileless) are children who have discovered how effective charm and modesty and a delicately calculated spontaneity are in winning what they want.
—Thornton Wilder (1897–1975) American Novelist, Playwright
Children suck the mother when they are young and the father when they are old.
To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way—yourself once in a while.
—Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw) (1818–85) American Humorist, Author, Lecturer
Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.
—Vladimir Lenin (1870–1924) Russian Revolutionary Leader
We cannot fashion our children after our desires, we must have them and love them as God has given them to us.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) German Poet
You may chisel a boy into shape, as you would a rock, or hammer him into it, if he be of a better kind, as you would a piece of bronze. But you cannot hammer a girl into anything. She grows as a flower does.
—John Ruskin (1819–1900) English Writer, Art Critic
Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life
—Sophocles (495–405 BCE) Ancient Greek Dramatist
The life of children, as much as that of intemperate men, is wholly governed by their desires.
—Aristotle (384BCE–322BCE) Ancient Greek Philosopher, Scholar
Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardor, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision.
—Aldous Huxley (1894–1963) English Humanist, Pacifist, Essayist, Short Story Writer, Satirist
It might sound a paradoxical thing to say—for surely never has a generation of children occupied more sheer hours of parental time—but the truth is that we neglected you. We allowed you a charade of trivial freedoms in order to avoid making those impositions on you that are in the end both the training ground and proving ground for true independence. We pronounced you strong when you were still weak in order to avoid the struggles with you that would have fed your true strength. We proclaimed you sound when you were foolish in order to avoid taking part in the long, slow, slogging effort that is the only route to genuine maturity of mind and feeling. Thus, it was no small anomaly of your growing up that while you were the most indulged generation, you were also in many ways the most abandoned to your own meager devices by those into whose safe-keeping you had been given.
—Midge Decter (b.1927) American Journalist, Activist, Author
‘Tis education forms the common mind: just as the twig is bent the tree’s inclined.
—Alexander Pope (1688–1744) English Poet
Children have neither a past nor a future. Thus they enjoy the present—which seldom happens to us.
—Jean de La Bruyere (1645–96) French Satiric Moralist, Author
The conscience of children is formed by the influences that surround them; their notions of good and evil are the result of the moral atmosphere they breathe.
—Jean Paul (1763–1825) German Novelist, Humorist
Boys are capital fellows in their own way, among their mates; but they are unwholesome companions for grown people.
—Charles Lamb (1775–1834) British Essayist, Poet
Everyone knows that by far the happiest and universally enjoyable age of man is the first. What is there about babies which makes us hug and kiss and fondle them, so that even an enemy would give them help at that age?
—Desiderius Erasmus (c.1469–1536) Dutch Humanist, Scholar
Your little child is your only true democrat.
—Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–96) American Abolitionist, Author
With children… it is a fact that most parents criticize children more than they laud or congratulate them. We tend to be quick to criticize, slow to praise. We should be careful to keep the praise and the expectations far ahead of the criticism.
Blessed be childhood, which brings down something of heaven into the midst of our rough earthliness.
—Henri Frederic Amiel (1821–81) Swiss Moral Philosopher, Poet, Critic
No man can tell but he that loves his children, how many delicious accents make a man’s heart dance in the pretty conversation of those dear pledges; their childishness, their stammering, their little angers, their innocence, their imperfections, their necessities, are so many little emanations of joy and comfort to him that delights in their persons and society.
Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.
—Lady Bird Johnson (1912–2007) First Lady of the United States, Conservationist
Listen to the desires of your children. Encourage them and then give them the autonomy to make their own decision.
—Denis Waitley (b.1933) American Motivational Speaker, Author
Except that right side up is best, there is not much to learn about holding a baby. There are one hundred and fifty-two distinctly different ways—and all are right! At least all will do.
—Heywood Broun (1888–1939) American Journalist
Alas, regardless of their doom,
the little victims play!
No sense have they of ills to come,
Nor care beyond to-day.
—Thomas Gray (1716–71) English Poet, Book Collector
If men do not keep on speaking terms with children, they cease to be men, and become merely machines for eating and for earning money.
—John Updike (1932–2009) American Novelist, Poet, Short-Story Writer
I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child, well nursed, is at a year old, a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout.
—Jonathan Swift (1667–1745) Irish Satirist
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you,
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows might go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
—Kahlil Gibran (1883–1931) Lebanese-born American Philosopher, Poet, Painter, Theologian, Sculptor
The first duty to 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 (1823–71) British Politician, Writer
Children are unpredictable. You never know what inconsistency they’re going to catch you in next.
—Franklin P. Jones
Several children present me with scraps of paper for autographs: obviously don’t know who I am and don’t care. I sign “Jackie Collins” and they go away quite content.
—Robertson Davies (1913–95) Canadian Novelist, Playwright, Essayist
We say that a girl with her doll anticipates the mother. It is more true, perhaps, that most mothers are still but children with playthings.
—F. H. Bradley (1846–1924 ) British Idealist Philosopher
I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.
—Harry S. Truman (1884–1972) American Head of State
Children are a great comfort to us in our old age, and they help us reach it faster too.
Never have children, only grand children.
—Gore Vidal (1925–48) American Novelist, Essayist, Journalist, Playwright
If children grew up according to early indications, we should have nothing but geniuses.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) German Poet
Who is not attracted by bright and pleasant children, to prattle, to creep, and to play with them?
—Epictetus (55–135) Ancient Greek Philosopher
Speak roughly to your little boy, and beat him when he sneezes: he only does it to annoy, because he knows it teases.
—Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) (1832–98) British Anglican Author, Mathematician, Clergyman, Photographer, Logician
My hair stands on end at the cost and charges of these boys. Why was I ever a father! Why was my father ever a father.
—Charles Dickens (1812–70) English Novelist
What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child that must the community want for all its children.
—John Dewey (1859–1952) American Philosopher, Psychologist, Educator
Even from their infancy we frame them to the sports of love: their instruction, behavior, attire, grace, learning and all their words azimuth only at love, respects only affection. Their nurses and their keepers imprint no other thing in them.
—Michel de Montaigne (1533–92) French Essayist
In praising or loving a child, we love and praise not that which is, but that which we hope for.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) German Poet
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
—Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) Spanish Painter, Sculptor, Artist
Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet, Playwright
When his first-born was put into his arms, he could see that the boy had inherited his own eyes, as they once were—large, brilliant and black.
—Charlotte Bronte (1816–1855) English Novelist, Poet
The child with his sweet pranks, the fool of his senses, commanded by every sight and sound, without any power to compare and rank his sensations, abandoned to a whistle or a painted chip, to a lead dragoon, or a gingerbread dog, individualizing everything, generalizing nothing, delighted with every new thing, lies down at night overpowered by the fatigue, which this day of continual pretty madness has incurred. But Nature has answered her purpose with the curly, dimpled lunatic. She has tasked every faculty, and has secured the symmetrical growth of the bodily frame, by all these attitudes and exertions—an end of the first importance, which could not be trusted to any care less perfect than her own.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others.