The Child is Father of Man

The habits and traits of a man are often the only developments of the habits and traits he had when he was a child. Look at a child carefully, and you can foretell into which kind of a person the child is going to be.

Long ago there lived, among the mountains in the north of Italy, a young lad called Titan. He was very fond of painting pictures. But no paints were available for him to paint with. Being an ingenuous lad he made his own paint. He crushed flowers of the various hues and used the paint so obtained to make pictures. In the absence of canvas to paint upon, he used the white walls of his father's house as his canvas, and many were the pictures he painted on the walls. This young lad fulfilled the promise of his early years: he was Titan, one of the greatest artists of Italy as well as Europe.

The qualities shown by the child are often indications of what the child is going up to be when he grows up to become a man. What the child is, indicated what the man will be. All the qualities whether physical, mental, entrepreneur and spiritual which will be found in the grown up man may be found in germ in the child. As Milton says:

"The childhood shows the man,
As morning shows the day"

The truth of the saying that the child is father of a man will hardly be questioned by someone who has observed life carefully. As twig is bent, so the tree will grow" says an old proverb. Even in the case of a tree it is possible to tell beforehand how the tree will grow. If the young plant is strong and straight, we can say that it will develop into strong, straight tree. Children born and brought up in families which have some strongly marked diseases or certain weaknesses nearly always grow up with those diseases. On the other hand, children brought up in homes where the influences are healthy, nearly always grow up into men and women of strong character.

The truth of the statement is borne out by the lives of many people who have left a name behind them. It is said of Michelangelo, the famous sculptor and painter, that when he was a child he used to amuse himself by making drawings on the paint-pots, easel, stool and many such things belonging to an old painter. The old painter said, "that boy will beat me one day." The words of the old man came true, for Michelangelo was true to the promise of his early days, and became one of the greatest painter ever. The childhood of many famous individuals like Tennyson, Akbar The Great, Musharraf, Obama and so on, indicated the lines of their development.

The child is, then, father of the man, though it may not always be apparent. This being, so much depends upon how the child is brought up! The early training of the child matters the most. Influences of birth and position may count for something, but the influence of education counts for, far more. Let us take heed that we should not despise our children. Let us rather treat them with regard and understanding and help to develop in them those qualities which make citizens and upright men; for the child of today is the man (or woman) of tomorrow.