"Children are not merely adults in training. They are also people with distinctive powers and joys. A happy childhood is measured not only by the standards of adult success, but also by the enjoyment of the gifts given to children alone.
What are the unique blessings of childhood?
First is the gift of moral innocence: Young children are liberated from the burdens of the knowledge of the full extent of human evil—a knowledge that casts a pall over adult life. Childhood innocence permits children to trust others fully. How wonderful to live (even briefly) with such confidence in human goodness. Childhood innocence teaches us what the world ought to be.
Second is the gift of openness to the future. We adults are hamstrung by our own plans and expectations. Children alone are free to welcome the most improbable new adventures.
Third, children are liberated from the grim economy of time. Children become so absorbed in fantasy play and projects that they lose all sense of time. For them, time is not scarce and thus cannot be wasted.
Finally, we parents are so focused on adult superiority that we forget that most of us produced our best art, asked our deepest philosophical questions, and most readily mastered new gadgets when we were mere children....
By contrast, Jesus frequently praised children, welcomed their company, and even commanded adults to emulate them: “Unless you become like a little child, you shall not enter the kingdom of God.”....
Many parents today would benefit hugely by taking a reflective time-out from teaching our children to discover how much we might learn from them."
In Defense of Being a Kid, Wall St. J., Feb. 9, 2011