The Child’s right to be respected.

Janusz Korczak – 1928 pages 21 to 23.

Children are forbidden to criticise, they are not permitted to notice our mistakes, passions or absurdities. We appear before them in the garb of perfection. Under threat of our wrath, we protect the secrets of the ruling class, the caste of initiates called to higher tasks. Only a child can be stripped naked and pilloried without a second thought.

The game we play with children is a game with a marked deck of cards; we win against the low cards of childhood with the aces of adulthood. Cheaters that we are we shuffle the cards in such a way that we deal ourselves everything good and valuable in order to take advantage of their weaknesses. What about ne’er-do-wells and happy-go-lucky types, the pleasure seeking gourmets, the dumbbells, the lazy bones, scoundrels, adventurers, those with no consciounce, the swindlers, drunkards or thieves. What about our acts of violence and our crimes, those that are public knowledge and those that go undetected, how many quarrels, underhanded deeds and scenes of jealousy are we responsible for, how much slander and blackmail, how many wounding words and dishonourable actions, how many family tragedies, whose victims are the children, are enacted in secret. And we dare to make accusations.

Are we so biased that we mistake the displays of affection we force on children for genuine love? Don’t we understand that it is we who are seeking children’s affection when we draw them to us, we who run to them when we are at a loss, that in moments of impotent pain and boundless loneliness we seek protection and shelter with them and burden them with our suffering and our yearning?

(Das Recht des Kinder auf Achtung (The child’s right to be respected).

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