Parents and Children

[© William James Warren/Getty Images]

"Be yourself and seek your own path. Know yourself before you attempt to get to know children . . . First and foremost you must realize that you too are a child, whom you must first get to know, to bring up and to educate." These are the words of the educator Janus Korczak (1878-1942) who dedicated himself selflessly to the welfare of children.

The way that older human beings treat younger ones reflects the state of our civilization. It is also the most direct way in which we shape our future society, and a responsibility which we all share

Many children do not come into this world in stable circumstances, and the way children are cared for--whether by one- or two-parent families, by adoptive parents, by other relatives, friends or peers--may vary vastly. But whatever the place or circumstances, at the heart of all good parenting is a selfless, unconditional love. Whether we have children of our own or not, developing the ability to care deeply for others is perhaps the true sign of our progression from childhood toward becoming fully-realized adults.

An important personal step in this journey is appreciation for our own parents, the people who gave us life. This is perhaps our most tangible link to the larger web of life; how can we feel a genuine love for humanity without appreciating those with whom we share this most profound bond?

The idea that it is our love for and as children that enables us to express the full potential of our own humanity runs through the varied reflections which constitute this issue of the SGI Quarterly.