Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Slumber, my darlings

What children want is the assurance so well captured by Stephen Foster 150 years ago in his lullaby Slumber My Darling:
Slumber, my darling, thy mother is near,
Guarding thy dreams from all terror and fear,
Sunlight has pass'd and the twilight has gone,
Slumber, my darling, the night's coming on.
Sweet visions attend thy sleep,
Fondest, dearest to me,
While others their revels keep,
I will watch over thee.
That last line is the essence of parenting. I'll watch over you, even when I have to make sacrifices to do so.

Trouble is, many adults are so fixated on their "revels" that they have scant time for children. One can see this happening in wealthy families in the past — Winston Churchill's parents come to mind, for example.  But the disease has now spread to the middle and lower classes, who now enjoy enough addictive pleasures, technological and otherwise, that children seem to them now to be little but a burden.