Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Worth underlining

I would no sooner underline a passage in a book I am reading than I would dog-ear a page to mark my place. At least that's how I am now, a stickler for keeping books in pristine condition. Leafing through some books I read back in the 1970s and '80s recently, I was surprised to find that I underlined quite a bit back in those days.

All this underscoring makes these books less valuable for resale than they might otherwise have been, but it certainly does make it easier to find the good parts in these old books, or at least the parts I thought were good when I read them. Here are some passages I underlined, all of them having something to do with children:

"(P)arenthood requires that Daddy and Mama have the ability to place the child's well-being ahead of their own. And this is less feasible within the presently fashionable context of meaningful relationships and self-indulgence." - Daddy's Girl, Mama's Boy by Dr. James J. Rue and Louise Shanahan (1978)

"Must a divorce always be traumatic for children? The answer is probably yes." - Children Without Childhood by Marie Winn (1983)

"Nature programs the child to do two things from ages one to seven: structure a knowledge of the world exactly as it is, on the one hand, and play with that world in ways that it is not, on the other." - Magical Child by Joseph Chilton Pearce (1977)

"A school is not a home. A school teacher is not a parent. Parents have six years to prepare and motivate a child. If parents fail, the child usually does, and so does the school." - Teaching as a Conserving Activity by Neil Postman (1979)

"So some element of stress may be, on balance, useful to a child. It may help him prepare for environments more challenging than the family." - Optimism: The Biology of Hope by Lionel Tiger (1979)

"It's easy for parents to be seduced by the apparently well-intentioned surrogate on the screen and the quiet, smiling child in front of it, but every moment a little child spends alone in front of a television set robs him of an opportunity to play." - In Defense of the Family by Rita Kramer (1983)

"The key point you should impress upon your child is that a normal person has weaknesses and faults but that these do not have to affect his overall happiness or competence as a human being." - Father Power by Henry Biller and Dennis Meredith (1974)

My son was born in 1972, so I'm sure I read these books and underlined these passages with him in mind. I certainly don't need these books any longer and I was tempted to get rid of at least some of them, but those underscored lines make the books harder to part with. And with all that underlining, who would want to buy them?

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