Cynicism Too Young

“Of course there is a great deal to criticise in any country, and I should be the last person to suggest that the critical faculty should not be exercised and trained at school. But before we teach children to criticise the institutions of their country, before we teach them to be critical of what is bad, let us teach them to recognize and admire what is good. After all life is very short; we all of us have only one life to live, and during that life let us get into ourselves as much love, as much admiration, as much elevating pleasure as we can, and if we view education merely as discipline in critical bitterness, then we shall lose  the sweets of life and we shall make ourselves unnecessarily miserable. There is quite enough sorrow and hardship in this world as it is without introducing it prematurely to young people.” — John Stuart Mill quoted in Charlotte Mason’s A Philosophy of Education, p. 126,

They will begin to understand the follies of human nature, the nuances and complexities of the mixture of good and evil in all of us through their early readings of myths, stories, fairy tales, fables.  But developmentally, they need some maturity before they can understand that most people are a mix of good and evil without extinguishing their capacity for admiration, wonder, and honor.

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