The Right to Childhood.

Little children love exploring the features of other peoples faces, don’t they? They look and gaze, and look again – up close!  They love to look at what is obviously the most fascinating thing in the world: the human face.  With its infinite contours, nuances and play of emotions – the human face quite naturally draws the little child’s attention.

But what do we say to little children when they look at us like that? “Don’t do that, don’t stare!”

Yes I ask you dear reader, what are we in the habit of saying when children use those marvellous hundreds of millions of light receivers to take in that facinating and entirely original face before them, and when they start to move around and want to touch everything , exploring their environment with great interest?

We say: “Don’t stare, don’t walk around, sit still….don’t touch!”Then, when the child uses its imagination or starts singing, we say: “Don’t daydream, don’t sing……be quiet!”

“Don’t stare, don’t daydream, don’t be silly, don’t sing, don’t touch, don’t look!…….don’t play with your food, don’t PLAY with THAT, don’t fidget, don’t move when somebody is talking to you,…………don’t move when you are learning!”

Yet all these activities of the child are completely natural – they are a pure expression of human nature. The little child is born with the most wonderful, seemingly perfectly designed instrument for learning: the human brain. And yet, we adults are in the habit of telling children: “Don’t use that wonderful instrument, just sit there and be quiet.”

The child has a right to childhood. That right is the joy that comes from freely using its brain and all its other capacities as nature (human nature) intended.


‘So he sent the word to slay and slew the little children.’

From the Christmas Carol ‘Unto us is born a Son,’ describing Herod.