We were all children once. How we were brought up has affected, irretrievably, how we are now.
Child development is not, contrary to popular belief, a matter of nurture and environment; nor is it a matter of nature and inheritance. It is a product of a third thing: the interplay of, and feedback between, nature and nurture. Woven into that complex are the relationships between other people the child comes into contact with.
Theodore Hesburgh’s quotation hit me between the eyes when I first encountered it. It offers a prescription against Philip Larkin’s typically dour (if only too true) point of view. They may not mean to… Not meaning to need not be the case: it is not necessary any more to visit “the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” (Exodus 34:7)
I notice that I am drawn to those writers with an abhorrence of stifling, in one way or another, the natural potential and sparkle of children. Allan Bloom, Derren Brown, Clarence Darrow, Erik Erikson, Philip Larkin, Maurice Sendak and BF Skinner each recognise a crucial aspect of human potential in danger of being corrupted or suffocated.
It would be foolish to overlook the parallels that can be drawn between parenting and leading (or not leading) at work and these last seven quotations mentioned all contain something of value to the enlightened manager.
Allan Bloom . 1930-1992 . American philosopher, essayist and academic . The closing of the American mind
Derren Brown . 1971- . English illusionist and sceptic . Confessions of a conjuror
Clarence Darrow . 1857-1938 . American lawyer and libertarian
Erik Erikson . 1902-1994 . Danish-German developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst . Young man Luther
Theodore Hesburgh . 1917-2015 . American priest . quoted in Reader’s digest
Philip Larkin . 1922-1985 . English poet . This be the verse
Michel de Montaigne . 1533-1592 . French philosopher and inventor of the essay form . Essays, book 1
Maurice Sendak . 1928-2012 . American writer and illustrator of children’s literature . quoted in article, The New York Times
BF Skinner . 1904-1990 . American behavioural psychologist and author . Reflections on behaviorism and society
Thomas Szasz . 1920-2012 . Hungarian-American professor—and critic—of psychiatry . The second sin
Evelyn Waugh . 1903-1966 . English satirical novelist . similar remark attributed to Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield
DW Winnicott . 1896-1971 . English paediatric psychiatrist * . Mirror-role of mother and family in child development
selection copyright © 2014 Jeremy Marchant . uploaded 2 may 2014