Childhood's Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 199 quotes )
The essential and defining characteristic of childhood is not the effortless merging of dream and reality, but only alienation. There are no words for childhood's dark turns and exhalations. A wise child recognizes it and submits to the necessary consequences. A child who counts the cost is a child no longer.
What sets one Southern town apart from another, or from a Northern town or hamlet, or city high-rise? The answer must be the experience shared between the unknowing majority (it) and the knowing minority (you). All of childhood's unanswered questions must finally be passed back to the town and answered there. Heroes and bogey men, values and dislikes, are first encountered and labeled in that early environment. In later years they change faces, places and maybe races, tactics, intensities and goals, but beneath those penetrable masks they wear forever the stocking-capped faces of childhood.
I had become a kind of information magpie, gathering to myself all manner of shiny scraps of fact and hokum and books and art-history and politics and music and film, and developing, too, a certain skill in manipulating and arranging these pitiful shards so that they glittered and caught the light. Fool's gold, or priceless nuggets mined from my singular childhood's rich bohemian seam? I leave it to others to decide.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height. My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight. For the ends of being and ideal grace. I love thee to the level of every day's. Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for right. I love thee purely, as they turn from praise. I love thee with the passion put to use. In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose. With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.
From childhood's hour I have not been. As others were--I have not seen. As others saw--I could not bring. My passions from a common spring. From the same source I have not taken. My sorrow; I could not awaken. My heart to joy at the same tone; And all I lov'd, I loved alone. Then--in my childhood--in the dawn. Of a most stormy life--was drawn. From ev'ry depth of good and ill. The mystery which binds me still: From the torrent, or the fountain, From the red cliff of the mountain, From the sun that 'round me roll'd. In its autumn tint of gold--From the lightning in the sky. As it pass'd me flying by--From the thunder and the storm, And the cloud that took the form(When the rest of Heaven was blue)Of a demon in my view.
...They'd be amazed to hear that Chance has been toying with them now for years. Not quite ready yet To become their Destiny, it pushed them close, drove them apart, it barred their path, stifling a laugh, and then leaped aside. There were signs and signals, Even if they couldn't read them yet. Perhaps three years ago or just last Tuesday a certain leaf fluttered from one shoulder to another? Something was dropped and then picked up. Who knows, maybe the ball that vanished into childhood's thicket? There were doorknobs and doorbells where one touch had covered another beforehand. Suitcases checked and standing side by side. One night, perhaps, the same dream, grown hazy by morning. Every beginning Is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.
A rainbow every morning who would pause to look at? The wonderful which comes often or is plentifully about us is soon taken for granted. Th at is practical enough. It allows us to get on with life. But it may stultify if it cannot on occasion be thrown off . To recapture now and then childhood’s wonder, is to secure a driving force for occasional grown-up thoughts.
I think the roots of this antagonism to science run very deep. They're ancient. We see them in Genesis, this first story, this founding myth of ours, in which the first humans are doomed and cursed eternally for asking a question, for partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. It's puzzling that Eden is synonymous with paradise when, if you think about it at all, it's more like a maximum-security prison with twenty-four hour surveillance. It's a horrible place. Adam and Eve have no childhood. They awaken full-grown. What is a human being without a childhood? Our long childhood is a critical feature of our species. It differentiates us, to a degree, from most other species. We take a longer time to mature. We depend upon these formative years and the social fabric to learn many of the things we need to know.
Not to grow up properly is to retain our 'caterpillar' quality from childhood (where it is a virtue) into adulthood (where it becomes a vice). In childhood our credulity serves us well. It helps us to pack, with extraordinary rapidity, our skulls full of the wisdom of our parents and our ancestors. But if we don't grow out of it in the fullness of time, our caterpillar nature makes us a sitting target for astrologers, mediums, gurus, evangelists and quacks. The genius of the human child, mental caterpillar extraordinary, is for soaking up information and ideas, not for criticizing them. If critical faculties later grow it will be in spite of, not because of, the inclinations of childhood. The blotting paper of the child's brain is the unpromising seedbed, the base upon which later the sceptical attitude, like a struggling mustard plant, may possibly grow. We need to replace the automatic credulity of childhood with the constructive scepticism of adult science.
The colonel nodded. "Our childhood seems so far away now. All this" - he gestured out of the vehicle - "so much suffering. One of our Japanese poets, a court lady many years ago, wrote how sad this was. She wrote of how our childhood becomes like a foreign land once we have grown.""Well, Colonel, it's hardly a foreign land to me. In many ways, it's where I've continued to live all my life. It's only now I've started to make my journey from it.
So much of our early gladness vanishes utterly from our memory: we can never recall the joy with which we laid our heads on our mother's bosom or rode on our father's back in childhood. Doubtless that joy is wrought up into our nature, as the sunlight of long-past mornings is wrought up in the soft mellowness of the apricot, but it is gone for ever from our imagination, and we can only BELIEVE in the joy of childhood.
One of the biggest - and I would guess most common - mistakes parents make is to transfer their own childhood shit onto their kids. Whatever their joys and agonies were growing up, they assume will be exactly the same for their children, and they let it guide their parenting. I can see the same dumb instincts in myself. When I first started hanging out with my old boyfriend's kids, I found it depressing because I would just look at them and think of how miserable they must be, and how totally alone they must feel. To me, that's what childhood meant. But the truth was that they were fine. Happy-go-lucky, even.
Peter Pan has to be the book of my childhood. Come to think of it, it's the book of my adulthood too. It's a book which, in the reading of it, takes me back to editions that I've had and lost, with various illustrators' work in them. It brings back moments sitting reading it with my mother. It brings back my first contact with the Disney cartoon. It brings back standing in the play-yard when I was a kid, when the wind was really blowing, and closing my eyes, spreading my arms and pretending I could fly. It brings back childhood dreams of flying. It brings back the first encounter I ever had with an invented world... Never Never Land was really the first journey I took to an invented world which I believed in wholly and completely. I remember the immense solidarity that I felt with the Lost Boys, with Peter, with the Indians - how much I wanted to be a Red Indian - how much the saving of Tiger Lily meant to me as a kid, how much I wanted to one day wake up and save an Indian squaw from drowning.
It should surprise no one that the life of the writer—such as it is—is colorless to the point of sensory deprivation. Many writers do little else but sit in rooms recalling the real world. This explains why so many books describe the author’s childhood. A writer’s childhood may well have been the occasion of his only firsthand experience.
You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, of home. People talk to you a great deal about your education, but some good, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education. If a man carries many such memories with him into life, he is safe to the end of his days, and if one has only one good memory left in one's heart, even that may sometime be the means of saving us.
I spent my childhood and youth on the outskirts of the Alps, in a region that was largely spared the immediate effects of the so-called hostilities. At the end of the war I was just one year old, so I can hardly have any impressions of that period of destruction based on personal experience. Yet to this day, when I see photographs or documentary films dating from the war I feel as if I were its child, so to speak, as if those horrors I did not experience cast a shadow over me … I see pictures merging before my mind’s eye—paths through the fields, river meadows, and mountain pastures mingling with images of destruction—and oddly enough, it is the latter, not the now entirely unreal idylls of my early childhood, that make me feel rather as if I were coming home…
I had grown accustomed to living within myself. I was resigned to the knowledge that I had lost all appreciation of the outside world, that the loss of its bright colors was an inseparable part of the loss of my childhood, and that, in a certain sense, one had to pay for freedom and maturity of the soul with the renunciation of this cherished aura. But now, overjoyed, I saw that all this had only been buried or clouded over and that it was still possible—even if you had become liberated and had renounced your childhood happiness—to see the world shine and to savor the delicious thrill of the child’s vision.
There is a certain shade of red brick--a dark, almost melodious red, sombre and riddled with blue--that is my childhood in St.Louis. Not the real childhood, but the false one that extends from the dawning of consciousness until the day that one leaves home for college. That one shade of red brick and green foliage is St. Louis in the summer (the winter is just a gray sky and a crowded school bus and the wet footprints on the brown linoleum floor at school), and that brick and a pale sky is spring. It's also loneliness and the queer, self-pitying wonder that children whose families are having catastrophes feel.