来源：沪江英语 2012-03-10 06:00
CHILDHOOD:A SOCIAL PROBLEM
For some years childhood has been an objuct of intense social interest. Like other great movements this interest has not been aroused by any single individual but it has burst forth like a volcano shooting forth fires in all directions. Science provided the incentive for this new movement by drastically reducing the rate of infant mortality. Then it came to be realized that children were frequently worn out from the drudgery of their school work.
Studies made of children's health showed that their lives were unhappy, their minds fatigued, their shoulders bent, and their chests so constricted that they easily fell prey to tuberculosis.
But now, after decades of research, we have come to see that children are human beings whose lives have been warped by those who have given them their life and sustenance and by the society of adults about them. But what are children? For adults, who are taken up with their own ever more absorbing occupations, they are a constant source of trouble. In the cramped quarters of modern cities, where familied are crowded together, there is no real place for children. Certainly there is no place for them on the streets swarming with cars or on the sidewalks thronged with people hastening on their way. Adults have little time to spend on children since they are busy with their own pressing duties. Frequently both father and mother must work; and, if work is lacking, both they and their children endure great sufferings. Even when children live in more fortunate circumstances, they are confined to their rooms and entrusted to the care of strangers. They may not pass into that part of the house reserved for their parents. There is no place where they feel that they are understood and where they can carry out their own proper activities. They must keep quiet and inviolable, the exclusive property of adults and, consequently, forbidden to children. What do they own? Nothing. Not too long ago small children did not even have their own little chairs to use.
The startling blindness of adults, their insensibility with regard to their own offspring, is something that is deeply rooted and of long duration. An adult who loves children but unconsciously condemns them inflicts upon them a secret sorrow which is a mirror of his own mistakes. The social question of childhood makes us appreciate the laws governing man's natural development. It gives us a new awareness of ourselves and a new direction to our social life.