I first discovered this quote years ago, when I was going through the home instruction process thanks to the ineptitude of the New York City Board of “Education.” I find it equally relevant now, and always.
“When we adults think of children there is a simple truth which we ignore: childhood is not preparation for life. Childhood is life. A child isn’t getting ready to live. A child is living.
“The child is constantly confronted with the nagging question, ‘What are you going to be?’ Courageous would be the youngster who, looking the adult squarely in the face, would say, ‘I’m not going to be anything; I already am.’ We adults would be shocked by such an insolent remark, for we have forgotten, if indeed we ever knew, that a child is an active, participating, and contributing member of society from the time he is born.
“Childhood isn’t a time when he is molded into a human who will then live life; he is a human who is living life. No child will miss the zest and joy of living unless these are denied him by adults who have convinced themselves that childhood is a period of preparation.
“How much heartache we would save ourselves if we would recognize the child as a partner with adults in the process of living, rather than always viewing him as an apprentice. How much we would teach each other—adults with the experience and children with the freshness. How full both our lives could be.
“A little child may not lead us, but at least we ought to discuss the trip with him, for, after all, life is his and her journey, too.”
— John Taylor, Notes on an Unhurried Journey