Cover of The Disappearance of Childhood
Children, it would seem, not only know there is value in being different from adluts, but care that a distinction be made; they know, perhaps better than adults, that something terribly important is lost if that distinction is blurred. ix
American culture is hostile to the idea of childhood. ix
Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see. xi
I had not imagined how pleasant it can be to acknowledge that one's imaginative reach for solutions goes no farther than one's grasp of the problem. xii
Even the idea of a children's game seems to be slipping from our grasp. A children's game, as we used to think of it, requires no instructors or umpires or spectators; it uses whatever space and equipment are at hand; it is played for no other reason than pleasure. But Little League baseball and Pee Wee football, for example, not only are supervised by adults but are modeled in every possible way on big league sports. [...] Children's games, in a phrase, are an endangered species. 4
Calvin Quitting Baseball
In a literate world, to be an adult implies having access to cultural secrets codified in unnatural symbols. But in a nonliterate world, there is no need to distinguish sharply between the child and the adult, for there are few secrets [...] 14
[...] one finds that in the Middle Ages childhood ended at age seven. Why seven? Because that is te age at which children have command over speech. They can say and understand what adults can say and understand. [...] this helps us to explain why the Catholic Church designated age seven as the age at which one was assumed to know the difference between right and wrong, the age of reason. 14