How We Learn to Value and Accept Ourselves

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:59
Royal Society of Arts Lecture, November 11, 2004   How We Learn to Value and Accept Ourselves   A few months ago I went to stay with a friend who lives some distance from me. One afternoon we visited Louis who is the most wonderful child the world has ever seen. I know this because my friend, Louis’ grandmother, told me. I had met Louis a year before when he was only a few weeks old. Wonderful though he is, it was unlikely that he would remember me. I was concerned that I shouldn’t upset him in any way. The received wisdom amongst child rearing experts is that from about eight months onwards children recognise the difference between the people they know and strangers, and they become anxious when they meet a stranger. Moreover, Louis would be tired because he would have been at nursery that day. So I resolved to smile at him from afar and not invade his space.   Things didn’t turn out like that. I sat myself at the table at the far end of the kitchen while Louis’ mother and grandmother made tea and talked over the events of the day. Louis checked the kitchen…