Thursday, August 3, 2017


​"The child teaches the adult something else about love: that genuine love should involve a constant attempt to interpret with maximum generosity what might be going on, at any time, beneath the surface of difficult and unappealing behaviours.

The parent has to second-guess what the cry, the kick, the grief and the anger is really about. And what marks out this project of interpretation - and makes it so different from what occurs in the average adult relationship - is its charity.

Parents are apt to proceed from the assumption that their children, though they may be troubled or in pain, are fundamentally good. As soon as the particular pin that is jabbing them is correctly identified, they will be restored to native innocence. When children cry, we don't accuse them of being mean or self-pitying, we wonder what has upset them. When they bite, we know they must be frightened or momentarily vexed. We are alive to the insidious effects that hunger, a tricky digestive tract or a lack of sleep may have on mood.

How kind we would be if we managed to import even a little of this instinct into adult relationships - if here, too, we could look past the grumpiness and viciousness and recognize the fear, confusion and exhaustion which almost invariably underlie them. This is what it would mean to gaze upon the human race with love."​

Page 110, 'The Course of Love', Alain de Botton

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