By some of the comments it’s clear to me that some missed the point of “I rage at all the Barbara Cornetts of the earth” submission.
From 1958’s Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific, “You’ve got to be carefully taught . . . to hate.”
Overheard, a mother to her little boy: “We don’t believe that.”
When and where the above may have been overheard is irrelevant. Suffice it that I have personally, on more than one occasion, heard a parent (or parents) chiding their charges with those or similar words. And each time, it was like a dentist locating just that nerve that sent a shock of pain through my entire being.
It is a tautology that words have meanings, and words spoken or written have consequences.
From the moment of birth, that emerging person is and will forever be a wholly unique individual, and I submit that, from the moment of birth, every child has an inalienable right to the dignity that derives from being respected as such. Furthermore, I would deny that any person, parent or other, has a moral right to suggest what any other person, child or other, should or must believe. They can hope. But to insist upon the adoption of a belief system seems the most despicable tyranny.
Perhaps the most precious and beautiful conveyance of the preceding is in Kahlil Gibran’s 1923, The Prophet, in his chapter “On Children.”
“And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but are not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
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