Last month, Dr. Benjamin Spock would have been 105. It's ten years since he passed away, about the same time that my bio "Dr. Spock: An American Life", was published by Harcourt Brace (It's still in print in paperback, published by Basic Books).
In my many interviews with Dr. Spock, or "Ben" as he preferred, we talked a lot about his fascinating life and times. Here's a wonderful compilation of Ben's deep and abiding wisdom, culled from his writings.
1. "I've come to the realization that a lot of our problems are because of a dearth of spiritual values."
2. "There are only two things a child will share willingly -- communicable diseases and his mother's age."
3. "Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do."
4. "Every child senses, with all the horse sense that's in him, that any parent is angry inside when children misbehave and they dread more the anger that is rarely or never expressed openly, wondering how awful it might be."
5. "All the time a person is a child he is both a child and learning to be a parent. After he becomes a parent he becomes predominantly a parent reliving childhood."
6. "Perhaps a child who is fussed over gets a feeling of destiny; he thinks he is the world for something important, and it gives him drive and confidence."
7. "Happiness is mostly a by-product of doing what makes us feel fulfilled."
8. "In automobile terms, the child supplies the power but the parents have to do the steering."
9. "In our country today, very few children are raised to believe that their principal destiny is to serve their family, their country, or God."
10. "The fact is that child rearing is a long, hard job, the rewards are not always immediately obvious, the work is undervalued, and parents are just as human and almost as vulnerable as their children."
11. "I would say that the surest measure of a man's or a woman's maturity is the harmony, style, joy, and dignity he creates in his marriage, and the pleasure and inspiration he provides for his spouse."
12. "What good mothers and fathers instinctively feel like doing for their babies is usually best after all."