Use the wisdom and maturity of old age to back-up the conviction and certainty of a child: that that is wrong, that that is unfair, that that shouldn’t be like that. Children don’t give up or give in: they just don’t know how to make it better.

It is adults who give up and give in, even though they often do know how to make it better.


The trouble is that we live in a society which idealises childhood as pure and innocent. In so doing, we fail to acknowledge the reality that, for many, childhood is incredibly brutal and harsh.

Generally speaking, we will pin all of our hopes and fears on our children. Rather than giving them the freedom to choose their own. And, while we usually indulge and wallow in our own pain, we will often dismiss their pain. Because we go back to our own childhood and we remember how fluffy and lovely it all was – having forgotten all the nasty, horrible stuff that happened.

It is as if we are saying to our children, “That pain of yours is not real – because the pain that I experienced as a child wasn’t real”.

No matter how hard you try to convince them it isn’t real, when they grow up, they will indulge and wallow in it all the same. More so, as they will notice that that is how adults tend to behave.

It might take years of therapy or self-help workshops before they actually free themselves from the effects – which scream at them pretty much every day – of a ‘happy childhood’ that was anything but.

Maybe we tell children the story of Santa Claus because we are trying to convince ourselves that it is real.

© Phillip A. Klein March 2008

Published in: on March 13, 2008 at 4:55 pm  Leave a Comment