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Posts Tagged ‘children’


Why not take an interest in your children, when they are yet children? Why not, indeed? Even a Communist can be right at least sometimes.

In the life of children there are two very clear-cut phases, before and after puberty. Before puberty the child’s personality has not yet formed and it is easier to guide its life and make it acquire specific habits of order, discipline, and work: after puberty the personality develops impetuously and all extraneous intervention becomes odious, tyrannical, insufferable. Now it so happens that parents feel the responsibility towards their children precisely during this second period, when it is too late: then of course the stick and violence enter the scene and yield very few results indeed. Why not instead take an interest in the child during the first period?” ~~Italian Communist leader Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937)

I am trying to learn more about other political systems, now that the old ones that I have been used to are being plowed asunder. With the banks recently nationalized in America, and the automobile industry soon to be, I am trying to understand the coming political movements and the ramifications. That is why I have been reading socialist and communist writings to see what is in store for us. Then I happened upon this little gem from an Italian communist, which was much more interesting than anything I had read about communism before.

This may no longer be our fathers’ America, but, even if we go communist, we will probably still have “parents” in America.

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The poem “Ingratitude,” by William Shakespeare (1564-1616), is a lesson from the ages. It should be a part of the education of every child to learn to be grateful. Unfortunately, in America, few parents read Shakespeare and it seems that few parents understand the importance of teaching graciousness to their children. In fact, it is obvious that many American parents actually teach their children “ingratitude” as a “refined” vice. Perhaps for this reason Shakespeare’s poem “Ingratitude” was included in Mary E. Burt’s 1904 anthology entitled “Poems Every Child Should Know,” (#16). Does your child know any of the included poems, such as this one from Shakespeare?

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,

Thou are not so unkind

As man’s ingratitude;

Thy tooth is not so keen

Because thou are not seen,

Although thy breath be rude.

Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,

Thou dost not bite so nigh

As benefits forgot;

Though thou the waters warp,

Thy sting is not so sharp

As friend remembered not.

~~William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

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When I was a child, no one ever read “Wind in the Willows” to me. I am now making up for lost years, by listening to it on my new iPod Touch. The story of each chapter is told by a different reader at Librivox. I do not know how it is that I ever turned into the something or other that I am, without the life’s wisdom that is told by these wonderful animals in the storybook.

What a delight it was last night while listening to Kara Shallenberg reading Chapter Three – “The Wild Wood” to find myself in the old children’s tale. I am Badger. I even live on the border of the “Wild Wood.”

The Mole had long wanted to make the acquaintance of the Badger.  He seemed, by all accounts, to be such an important personage and, though rarely visible, to make his unseen influence felt by everybody about the place.  But whenever the Mole mentioned his wish to the Water Rat he always found himself put off.  ‘It’s all right,‘ the Rat would say. ‘Badger’ll turn up some day or other–he’s always turning up–and then I’ll introduce you.  The best of fellows!  But you must not only take him AS you find him, but WHEN you find him.’

‘Couldn’t you ask him here dinner or something?‘ said the Mole.

‘He wouldn’t come,‘ replied the Rat simply.  ‘Badger hates Society, and invitations, and dinner, and all that sort of thing.’

‘Well, then, supposing we go and call on HIM?‘ suggested the Mole.

‘O, I’m sure he wouldn’t like that at ALL,‘ said the Rat, quite alarmed.  ‘He’s so very shy, he’d be sure to be offended. I’ve never even ventured to call on him at his own home myself, though I know him so well.  Besides, we can’t.  It’s quite out of the question, because he lives in the very middle of the Wild Wood.’

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