It’s true that some children, with parental guidance, are able to read and write at a very early age. But this doesn’t mean that they are able to make proper evaluation of the things they do, because what they do, many times, is just a conditioned response.Only when a child has developed the capacity to think, to direct her natural curiosity to ﬁnd answers to meaningful questions, has true learning for that child been accomplished.
Instead of being directed in all their activities, children learn a great deal as they play. They search for answers to their own questions and they ﬁnd answers in their make-believe games. Children come to a deeper understanding of themselves and others by pretending to be doctors, storekeepers, truck drivers, teachers, and police ofﬁcers.When a child shares or takes turns with others, recognizes another’s frustrations, acts out her own anxieties and conﬂicts—all in a world of make-believe—she is doing the plain, hard work of growing up through the natural processes of childhood.
When we rush children into clever performance of skills, when we organize their daily lives so that there is not a moment for inner contemplation, we decrease the possibilities for genuine thought and individual growth. Let’s let children be children for the few short years of childhood. Let’s let them accumulate precious memories that will serve them well in their adult life.
Most of us have happy recollections of our childhood days. When life hurts, when the way grows weary, when we are vexed and bafﬂed by unattainable but deep desires, or saddened by losses, we do many times ﬁnd solace in remembering something from our yesterdays. The truth of this is demonstrated by the hold that songs and rhymes we learned as children have upon us. These songs and rhymes appeal to us because their major note touches one of the deeper and elemental things in human nature: childhood.