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date: 27 January 2022


  1. Children sweeten labours, but they make misfortunes more bitter.
    Francis Bacon 1561–1626 English lawyer, courtier, philosopher, and essayist: Essays (1625) ‘Of Parents and Children’
  2. Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. They must, they have no other models.
    James Baldwin 1924–87 American novelist and essayist: Nobody Knows My Name (1961) ‘Fifth Avenue, Uptown: a letter from Harlem’
  3. Quality time? There's always another load of washing.
    Julian Barnes 1946–  English novelist: Love, Etc. (2000)
  4. Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.
    Henry Ward Beecher 1813–87 American clergyman and social reformer: Morning and Evening Exercises (1871)
  5. The place is very well and quiet and the children only scream in a low voice.
    Lord Byron 1788–1824 English poet: letter to Lady Melbourne, 21 September 1813
  6. There is no such thing as other people's children.
    Hillary Rodham Clinton 1947–  American lawyer and Democratic politician: in Newsweek 15 January 1996
  7. We don't need any more kids—we have plenty of people on this planet.
    Cameron Diaz 1972–  American actress: in Cosmopolitan July 2009
  8. Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.
    Walt Disney 1901–66 American animator and film producer: on wall of American Adventure, Epcot Centre, Walt Disney World
  9. There never was a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him asleep.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803–82 American philosopher and poet: Journal 1836
  10. homer simpson: Kids are the best, Apu. You can teach them to hate the things you hate. And they practically raise themselves, what with the internet and all.
    Matt Groening 1954–  American humorist and satirist: The Simpsons ‘Eight Misbehavin'’ (1999) written by Matt Selman
  11. Allow them [children] to be happy their own way, for what better way will they ever find?
    Samuel Johnson 1709–84 English poet, critic, and lexicographer: letter to Mrs Thrale, 4 July 1780
  12. If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.
    Carl Gustav Jung 1875–1961 Swiss psychologist: ‘Vom Werden der Persönlichkeit’ (1932)
  13. A child is owed the greatest respect; if you ever have something disgraceful in mind, don't ignore your son's tender years.
    Juvenal c.ad 60–c.140 Roman satirist: Satires no. 14, l. 47
  14. Literature is mostly about having sex and not much about having children. Life is the other way round.
    David Lodge 1935–  English novelist: The British Museum is Falling Down (1965) ch. 4
  15. It should be noted that children at play are not playing about; their games should be seen as their most serious-minded activity.
    Montaigne 1533–92 French moralist and essayist: Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 1, ch. 23
  16. But all children matures,
    Maybe even yours.
    Ogden Nash 1902–71 American humorist: ‘Soliloquy in Circles’ (1949)
  17. Men are generally more careful of the breed of their horses and dogs than of their children.
    William Penn 1644–1718 English Quaker; founder of Pennsylvania: Some Fruits of Solitude (1693) pt. 1, no. 85
  18. Of all animals the boy is the most unmanageable.
    Plato 429–347 bc Greek philosopher: Laws bk. 8, 808
  19. Behold the child, by Nature's kindly law
    Pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw.
    Alexander Pope 1688–1744 English poet: An Essay on Man Epistle 2 (1733) l. 275
  20. A child is not a vase to be filled, but a fire to be lit.
    François Rabelais c.1494–c.1553 French humanist, satirist, and physician: attributed; see Plutarch
  21. At first the infant,
    Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
    And then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel,
    And shining morning face, creeping like snail
    Unwillingly to school.
    William Shakespeare 1564–1616 English dramatist: As You Like It (1599) act 2, sc. 7, l. 143 (Oxford Standard Authors ed.)
  22. an unknown woman wrote to Shaw suggesting that as he had the greatest brain in the world, and she the most beautiful body, they ought to produce the most perfect child. He replied:
    What if the child inherits my body and your brains?
    George Bernard Shaw 1856–1950 Irish dramatist: Hesketh Pearson Bernard Shaw (1942); versions of this exist from the 1920s on, attributing the remarks to Shaw and also to Anatole France and Isadora Duncan: see Quote Investigator
  23. A child becomes an adult when he realizes that he has a right not only to be right but also to be wrong.
    Thomas Szasz 1920–2012 Hungarian-born psychiatrist: The Second Sin (1973) ‘Childhood’
  24. If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money.
    Abigail Van Buren (Pauline Phillips) 1918–2013 American journalist: attributed, c. 1970
  25. You will find as the children grow up that as a rule children are a bitter disappointment—their greatest object being to do precisely what their parents do not wish and have anxiously tried to prevent.
    Queen Victoria 1819–1901 British monarch, Queen of the United Kingdom from 1837: letter to the Crown Princess of Prussia, 5 January 1876