Skip to main content

Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

See other formats


the fullness of development which was missed at the opportune
time. Thus it is that children often grow up fatally, permanently

Another interesting observation is that which relates to the
length of time required for carrying out actions. Children who
are making their first attempts by themselves are very slow in
doing things. Their life is governed by special laws quite different
from ours.

Little children perform slowly and deliberately many compli-
cated actions which they loveódressing and undressing themselves,,
setting the table, eating, etc. In doing all these things they show
extreme patience, and they carry on to a conclusion their laborious,
tasks, overcoming every difficulty which arises from an organism
being still in the process of development. Seeing them * toiling' and
* wasting time' in doing something which we could manage in a
moment without any trouble, we substitute ourselves for the child
and do it ourselves.

Always animated by the same prejudice that the object to
strive for is the completion of an external act, we clothe and wash
the child, take out of his hands the things which he loves to handle,,
pour the soup into his basin for him, feed him, set the table for
him. And after rendering such services, we most unjustly judge-
him to be incapable, inept, as always happens when someone
suppresses another whilst apparently benefiting him. We often
consider the child impatient just because we cannot find the patience
to wait for the conclusion of these doings of his which are obeying
time-laws different from ours; or, being powerful, we use our power
over him. This blot, this brand, this calumny is like a dogma
which presses hard on the patient and gentle nature of the child.

He, as does every strong character who defends the rights of
life within him, rebels against anyone who opposes this something
which he feels within him, which is a voice of nature which he
must obey; then he shows in violent actions, in screams and
weeping that he has been thwarted in his mission. In the eyes of
those who do not understand him and who, whilst thinking they